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Link to Area Info Page containing local information and links, contacts & tourist advice

Highland Holiday Properties
Cottages all over Scotland in beautiful locations
Traditional Holiday Cottages
all over Scotland in stunning locations
Mackay's Holidays: Holiday Cottages Throughout Scotland
Link to Gael Holiday Homes
Link to Silverglades Holiday Homes, Aviemore
Highland Folk Museum
Highland Folk Museum
Corgarff Castle
Corgarff Castle

Cairngorms Main Page

Our Cairngorms area follows the boundaries of the Cairngorms National Park. It includes all the inhabited parts of Aviemore & Badenoch together with parts of northern Perthshire from Blair Atholl to Spittal of Glenshee; parts of the Angus Glens in Angus & Dundee; the Braemar, Ballater and Strathdon areas of Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire; and Moray south of Glenlivet, including Tomintoul. Everything within our Cairngorms area is also mirrored in these other areas: the purpose of having an additional area bringing the Cairngorms together is to assist visitors who might be planning a visit and who would otherwise find the information fragmented. See the map below for an outline of the area and links to surrounding and underlying areas.

Aviemore is a year-round tourist destination, now bypassed by the A9 on its way north to Inverness. It first developed with the coming of the railways in the late 1800s, and then as a ski resort in the 1960s. In recent years Aviemore has done much to overcome the concrete image given it by the 1960s architects.

The Cairn Gorm Ski Centre is Britain's biggest ski area with 28 runs and over 35km of pistes. Access is by road and the centre is just eight miles from Aviemore. The CairnGorm Mountain Railway opened at the end of 2001 to replace the old ski lifts.

Aviemore is popular with walkers. For the truly adventurous, a spectacular walk starts from near Aviemore, takes in the Lairig Ghru Pass through the Cairngorms and finishes in Braemar. This is not, however, for the faint-hearted, the inexperienced, or the ill-equipped as the whole walk is 24 miles long and runs through some very remote country. Aviemore also lies at the start, or end, of the Speyside Way, the 65 mile long distance path to the coast at Buckpool.

On the other side of the A9 from Aviemore is the Craigellachie National Nature Reserve. South-east of Aviemore is the Rothiemurchus Estate, a working Highland estate which offers an insight into land management.

At Carrbridge, nine miles to the north of Aviemore, is the Landmark Visitor Centre telling the history of Scotland using innovative multimedia displays. Carrbridge itself is well worth visiting, and comes complete with the remains of an old arched bridge over the river. Eight miles north east of Aviemore is Boat of Garten. Nearby is the Loch Garten Osprey Centre managed by the RSPB. The Strathspey Railway runs between Boat of Garten and Aviemore.

Grantown on Spey lies 15 miles north east of Aviemore and is a popular destination all year round. This is a well designed Georgian town, built to the plan of the laird, Sir James Grant in 1766. The streets are wide and tree-lined with attractive buildings grouped around a central square. It was a favourite with Queen Victoria and its dry, bracing climate was advised as a tonic for those Victorians with a nervous disposition. Today the town has comfortable hotels and makes a good base for summer touring. In winter many of those tourists not wishing to engage with the hustle and bustle of Aviemore choose Grantown on Spey.

Cairngorms, Showing the Main Settlements and the Surrounding and Underlying Areas
Cairngorms, Showing the Main Settlements and the Surrounding and Underlying Areas

To the south of Grantown on Spey, on the less travelled south side of the River Spey is the attractive village of Nethy Bridge. At the north end of the village is the Mountview Hotel. On the opposite side of the Spey is Broomhill Railway Station, the northern terminus of the Strathspey Railway. From here you can catch a steam train to Aviemore. A little north of Nethy Bridge stand the gaunt remains of Castle Roy, close to Abernethy Parish Church.

Just 12 miles south of Aviemore is Kingussie, which attracts visitors all year round. Across the river to the east of the town are the ruins of Ruthven Barracks. The site offers excellent views of the surrounding countryside and was first occupied by a castle in the 1200s. The Monadhliath mountains to the north west of Kingussie offer some excellent walking.

Nearby Newtonmore is a linear settlement which benefits greatly from the A9 bypass. A full range of tourist services are to be found here including the Clan Macpherson Museum with its display of clan artefacts. The Highland Folk Museum at the other end of Newtonmore is a superb day out and on its mile long site houses a large collection of buildings and artefacts which give a fascinating insight into Highland life in years gone by.

Twelve miles south is Dalwhinnie. This is home to Dalwhinnie Distillery, by a small margin Scotland's second highest distillery. To the south are the more rolling mountains flanking the Pass of Drumochter. These include the very accessible Geal Charn and A'Mharconaich.

North from Kingussie, heading back towards Aviemore, the old A9 remains in use as the B9152, making a superb alternative route to the modern main road. En route to Aviemore, it passes the attractive little village of Kincraig. Two miles before it reaches Kincraig, a junction gives access to the Highland Wildlife Park, where visitors can experience Scottish wildlife as well as endangered animals from mountainous and tundra regions around the world.

The Cairngorm Plateau
The Cairngorm Plateau
Blair Castle
Blair Castle

Head south along the A9 and the first significant settlement in Perthshire you come to is the attractive village of Blair Atholl. Here you find the Atholl Country Life Museum, though a better known attraction is Blair Castle, a magnificent white-harled castle just to the north of the village. Also well worth visiting are the Blair Castle Gardens, and the ruined St Bride's Kirk in the castle grounds. Three miles west of Blair Atholl is the House of Bruar, a shopping emporium now well established as a stopping off point on the A9. Behind the House of Bruar a path leads up to the spectacular Falls of Bruar.

A little south east of Blair Atholl. is the Pass of Killiecrankie, a deep wooded gorge that was the site of the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. On a minor road on the opposite side of the river is Tenandry Kirk, built in the 1830s.

Head cross country to the east and you encounter the A93 as it heads north from Blairgowrie into the heart of the Cairngorms, en route passing the remote settlements of Bridge of Cally and Spittal of Glenshee. Shortly after it passes the popular ski resort of Glenshee, surrounded by the Cairnwell group of three Munros, it arrives at Braemar. The village sits in the heart of the Cairngorms and best known for its Highland Games. It gained favour with Queen Victoria and still enjoys royal patronage today. Braemar is home to no fewer than four churches, three of which are still active, including Braemar Parish Church. It is also home to two castles. The remains of one, Kindrochit Castle, are slight and lay close to the centre of the village. The other, Braemar Castle, is a popular visitor attraction.

The heart of Deeside is Ballater, which has strong royal connections. Queen Victoria used Ballater Station when she travelled to Balmoral and though the line is now long closed, the old station buildings still stand and serve as a museum and tourist information centre.

At the centre of Ballater is Glenmuick Parish Church. This serves a large parish rationalised from three existing parishes in 1798: one effect of which was the redundancy of Tullich Kirk. Today Tullich Kirk stands roofless a short distance east of Ballater, and is home to a Pictish symbol stone. Balmoral Castle remains the summer retreat of the Royal Family. Crathie Church is the local church and where the Royals worship when in residence. Both are popular local tourist attractions, as is the nearby Royal Lochnagar Distillery, complete with its visitor centre.

Running parallel to Deeside and to its north is the less well known and wilder valley of Donside, through which the River Don makes its way to the sea. This has been a disputed area over the centuries and that makes it an excellent place for castle collectors. These include Corgarff Castle, wonderfully restored to its role as a Government barracks after the 1745 rebellion; Glenbuchat Castle, an interesting "Z" shaped tower house; and Kildrummy Castle, the ruins of what was once one of the mightiest of Scotland's castles, and certainly one of its most besieged. One of the villages forming the scattered community of Strathdon is Bellabeg, famous for its signposts to the settlement of Lost. In the forests north of here is the wonderful Lost Gallery.

The A939 north west from Strathdon brings you to Tomintoul in Moray. Standing at a height of 345m, the village is popular with visitors to the nearby Lecht ski resort. Tomintoul Museum, which shares premises with the Tourist Information Centre, is well worth a visit. The village is also the start of a spur of the Speyside Way. To the north the B9008 passes close to Drumin Castle and Glenlivet Distillery as it makes its way into Speyside. A side turning leads to the remote Braes of Glelivet. Here you find Scotland's highest distillery, Braeval, and a fine church, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. Here, too, are the remains of the Catholic Seminary at Scalan.

The south side of the Cairngorms are pierced by the Angus Glens. The most easterly is Glen Esk, with its main settlement of Tarfside. The glen comes complete with no fewer than three churches, the Lochlee Parish Church, the Maule Memorial Church and St Drostan's Episcopal Church. It also boasts an impressive tower house in Invermark Castle. Not far west and overlooking the coastal plain are the Brown and White Caterthuns, twin hillforts of different ages.

West again, and you come to the mouth of Glen Clova, the best known and most popular of the Angus Glens, with most settlement focused on Clova. To its west is Glen Prosen, and its main settlement, the hamlet of Glenprosen.

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