Now make your way back to the track, and continue heading south for about another 100 meters, until you see Lochan Uaine on your right. This is when navigation gets a little tricky. Looking beyond the lochan, and slightly to the south west, you will see another track running roughly south east to north west. Head for this track, picking out the best route through the heather. Keep well to the left of the lochan, as the area around it can be very boggy. Heather likes drier ground - so stick to where it flourishes!
Eventually, you will come to what remains of an old fence. Now is decision time. Option 1 is to continue west across country towards the other track (which is still visible from here), turning right onto the track when you reach it, and staying on it until it meets the Burn of Brown down below. This option offers an easier and quicker descent. You will rejoin the described route again at . Personally, I prefer option 2: This involves following the route of the old fence (heading roughly north west), keeping to the east of the burn. The going is a bit tougher, and the path a little indistinct in places, but this route gives you a better feel for the wildness and solitude of this beautiful glen.
Make sure you keep to the right of the burn as it appears to the left of you. Eventually, you will cross a shallow ravine, with an underground burn babbling beneath your feet. At this point, veer right, away from our fence and aim for a track which is just visible, following the contour of the hillside in front of you. You will also see another fence coming down the hillside to meet this path. When you reach the path and fence - head left, slowly descending towards the lone pine trees above the burn. These trees are all that remains of what was probably a large forest that once covered all these hills. Watch out for small herds of red deer around this area, which are well camouflaged against the heather. Also, keep an eye on the skies. This is good hunting territory for the likes of Merlin, Peregrine Falcons and even Golden Eagles. Of course, heather moorland wouldn’t be Scottish unless there was a good sprinkling of Red Grouse. They will certainly let you know when you stumble upon them, cackling and whirring as they make their escape over the heather.
Eventually, the now slightly more obvious path meets up with the corner of a Spruce plantation. Continue making your way down, with the Burn of Brown on your left and the plantation on your right.
Those of you who chose to take the detour route at will now have to find a suitable crossing point over the burn (10a). Take care after heavy rain, as the water will be much higher - and the banks a little slippy when you come to make the leap! Continue downstream on the right bank of the burn, picking your way through the boulders and regenerating spruce and pine trees (10b). Eventually, you will come to the end of the plantation.
Following the fence to your right, continue for another 150 meters until you reach a wide gate. Take the path that leads through the gate. Beware - it can be very boggy around here! You will now be almost doubling back on yourself towards the plantation. Continue uphill. Eventually the path becomes more substantial as it is joined by another track that merges from the right. Go left here, continuing until you reach a crossroads and gate.
Go through this gate and head towards a young conifer plantation. There is a Scottish Rights of Way signpost at these crossroads. You want to head for Tomintoul! Continue along the track, passing a small cottage on your right. The track now veers to the left. Continue downhill through the trees.
Eventually you will emerge onto the main A939 Tomintoul to Grantown road. Cross the road (with care) and turn right. Continue for a few meters until you reach the right of way sign pointing down a track. This will lead you to the Old Bridge of Avon. The bridge was built in 1754, forming part of the old military road that lead from Blairgowrie to Fort George on the Moray Coast. It was the only crossing of the river at this point until 1991, when the modern bridge (a little way upstream) was built.
On the other side of the bridge are some picnic benches. An apt point at which to empty the remains of your lunch box! Continue to the road that lies up ahead and turn right. After a short way, a track leads off to the left and up the hill towards some farm buildings.
Continue along this track, passing a cottage on your left. Beyond the cottage is a small gate, leading to a track that goes left. Go through the gate and follow this track as it winds its way up the hill, eventually meeting another farm track that follows the contour of the hillside.
Turn right at this junction, passing Campdalemore Farm on your right - and head for the plantation ahead. Continue through the plantation. As you emerge from the trees, there are some stunning views towards Tomintoul, Glen Avon and the Cairngorms beyond.
Eventually, this track reaches the small car park at the bottom end of the village. At this point, you can if you wish head straight up Main street until you reach the square. Or you can continue the walk along the eastern side of the Tomintoul Circular. To do this, turn left through the gate next to the interpretation board. Continue for about three hundred meters and then veer right at the way marker post towards a gate leading into the birch trees.
Go through the gate and follow the path as it winds its way along the west bank of the Conglass Burn. Eventually the track reaches a corner with a stile leading over to a bench next to the burn. Rest here a while and take in the views! Then it's back over the stile and head up the hill in front to you, crossing a small wooden bridge on the way.
Turn left at the end, passing through a first set of twin gates and continue along the track for about quarter of a mile, passing through another set of twin gates on the way, before reaching a fifth gate. Now turn left up a wide grassy track between two fields. Continue until you reach the village, passing the council yard, and on to the square.
Well done. You’ve earned yourself a glass of your favourite tipple in any of Tomintoul’s three excellent hostelries! But first, make sure you pop into Spindrift and tell us how you got on!