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Dorback Drove Roads

Start location: Nethybridge Hotel, Nethy Bridge (NJ 002 206)
End location: Dell Road, Nethy Bridge (NJ 001 205)
Geographical area: Cairngorms National Park
Path Type: Drove Road
Path distance: 24km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians, Suitable for Bikes

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Route Description

The first 9km of this route follows two minor roads towards Dorback Lodge. From the hotel at Nethy Bridge, take the road leading south-east up a small brae. At NJ010206 carry on across the crossroads (signposted for Dorback and Tomintoul). After Dorback Place is reached at NJ012205 the pavement ends. The road continues through the forest past a few scattered houses and reaches a junction at NJ047196. The route takes the right-hand fork, continuing towards Dorback until the house at Ballintuim is reached at NJ069172. There is a small car park here and a signpost for Glen More. (The track shown on the old Bartholomew and OS maps leaves the minor road slightly further along at NJ074169 but no trace of this track now exists on the ground and a small forest plantation now bars the way.) The signposted route now passes to the south east of the house, through a gate (unlocked at time of survey) and follows an obvious track through the field to a second gate, then along a fence line until a further sign for Glen More is seen at NJ066167. Take the left fork at this track down to another (unlocked) gate and stile and after a few yards reach the Dorback Burn. The old route from nearer to Dorback Lodge can be made out in the grass on this side of the river bank.
The Dorback Burn needs to be forded at this point. It is quite shallow and the gravel banks mean that the course of the river can change over time. However, an obvious path can be seen on the south bank, heading uphill away from the river. This track is followed through a gate with a sign close by before heading uphill through the obvious geographical feature of the Eag Mhor. The path here is initially very muddy but then becomes quite rocky as the end of the cleft is reached, with another gate.
The track remains mostly a footpath as it works its way towards another river crossing at the Faesheallach Burn (NJ052144). A forest road is now reached and is followed westward past Loch a' Chnuic to a junction at NJ031141 where the route heads north. This junction is easily missed as the main track heads downhill. The path is now slightly narrower and follows a terrace through the forest until point NJ030157 is reached whereupon it heads left (downhill) to eventually meet a more obvious forest road at NJ026161. Heading right (north west) leads to a clearing and a bridge over the River Nethy at NJ022163. Turning left after the bridge takes you past Forest Lodge along the Thieves' Road via Ryvoan to Glen More. However, to return to Nethy Bridge, head right after the bridge and follow the track first north, then west to a junction at NJ013181. Take a right (north) to reach the end of the tarmac road from Nethy Bridge at NJ012194 and follow this road downhill all the way back to the village.

This path is suitable for cyclists. A couple of short pushes might be needed after fording the Dorback Burn and the Faesheallach Burn.

This path is suitable for horse riders. At the time of survey the all gates encountered were unlocked. It may be necessary to dismount through the final section off the Eag Dubh as there are some sizeable boulders. The exit from the Faesheallach Burn on to the forest road is quite steep and as there is no obvious alternative is best only attempted by experienced horse riders.

OS Landranger 36 (Grantown, Aviemore & Cairngorm area)

Heritage Information

An old droving route is thought to have run from Nethy Bridge via Dorback towards Tomintoul. The route described above is a circular using two variants of the route between Nethy Bridge and Dorback.

Interestingly, given the reputation of the nearby route between Nethy Bridge and Glen More as a Thieves' Road, Bartholomew's 1912 mapping shows a Thiefs Path heading towards Dorback.


Copyright: Colin Cadden

Copyright: Colin Cadden

Copyright: Colin Cadden

Copyright: Colin Cadden

Copyright: Colin Cadden

Copyright: Richard Webb



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Copyright: Colin Cadden Copyright: Dorothy Carse Copyright: Colin Cadden
Copyright: Colin Cadden Copyright: David Godfrey Copyright: David Godrfey
Copyright: Colin Cadden Copyright: Dorothy Carse



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