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10 Things To Do This Summer In The Cairngorms National Park

If you’ve been planning to visit the Cairngorms National Park this summer then, there is all likelihood that you’d be having deep thoughts about the activities that you’d undertake while on this trip. The Cairngorms is known as Britain’s pride and is considered to be a Mecca for outdoor lovers as it offers more than 100 outdoor activity options to its visitors. So in case you are still wondering about what things you can do while being in this amazing National Park, we’ll solve your dilemma by enlisting top 10 things that you must do while spending your summers in the Cairngorms.

1. Thrilling Mountain Biking

The Cairngorms National Park is the perfect mountain biking destination that is filled with challenging trails that promise you a wild and thrilling biking/cycling experience. Book yourself self catering in Aviemore in the Big Husky Lodge before heading for a tiresome biking expedition and come back to the home-like comforts at this lodge.

2. Water Sports

What can be a better season to indulge in thrilling water sports than summer and what can possibly be a better place to do this than Cairngorms? This National park hosts two famous water sport centres namely Loch Inch and Loch Morlich which means double benefits for the visitors. Indulge in amazing water activities like sailing, windsurfing, rafting, swimming and fishing etc.

3. Wildlife Spotting

A national park visit would certainly be incomplete without some wildlife watching and Cairngorms is an ideal place to do that. View the wild salmon from the dense green forests or plush blue rivers exactly how you prefer while being in Scotland.

4. Fishing

Your summer visit to the famous Cairngorms National Park has to include a visit to the serene River Spey. This river is not just beautiful but is the home to the world famous salmon and trout fish. Try your luck at some salmon catching while visiting the Cairngorms.

5. Cairngorm Brewery Visit

If by any chance you are curious to know how the world famous Scottish beer is made, you must plan a visit to the Cairngorm’s breweries. Located in the most amazing places, these breweries give you an insight of how quality beer is made.

6. Golf

Village Boat of Garten located near Cairngorm is the home to the most exquisite golf courses one can ever visit. So, in case you have the slightest of interest in this game, do plan a visit here.

7. Walking Solace

Cairngorms National Park has approximately 280 km of footpaths spread across the entire area, definitely a delight for all the people who love walking.

8. Treezone Aviemore

If you are looking forward to spend a family oriented day while being in the Cairngorms, you must visit the Treezone Aviemore. This place offers great adventures and fun activities for the kids and adults alike and gives great value for money.

9. Zipline and Aerial Adventures Park

Get a taste of thrill and adventure at the Zipline aerial adventures park in Aviemore. This offers numerous aerial activities for people of all age-groups.

10. For The Art Lovers

The Cairngorms and nearby places have a number of art galleries and museums, so don’t forget to visit the art centres whilst in the National Park.


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The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd

Cairngorm Reindeers

Cairngorm ReindeerLast weekend I took my brother, his wife and my niece and nephew to see the Cairngorm Reindeers at the Cairngorm National Park near Aviemore. They were staying with me for a short holiday during the kids half term break and I thought it would be a nice idea especially as Christmas is not far off. If I’m really honest I wanted to go myself as guests recently went there and told me how great the experience was. I’ve been up here in the Highlands for nearly eight years but have never had the time for a visit before.

If you’re visiting the Highlands I really recommend going to see the reindeers and they’re  nothing like I imagined they’d be. I assumed they’d behave like horses or deers but they behave more like dogs. They’re really friendly and quite greedy and cheeky. When they see or think you have food they nudge you and sniff your hands a pockets and you can see they all have their individual characters.

Cairngorm Reindeer HerdYou go to the Reindeer Centre which is on the road from Aviemore to the Cairngorm Mountain and purchase tickets as well as hiring wellie boots is required. You then wait in your car outside until the reindeer van drives past sounding its horn and you follow the guide along the road for a couple of minutes as it leads to the Sugar Bowl Car Park. Once everyone is ready the guide leads you on foot for a short trek across the road, down to the river and then up the side of the hill. The trek only takes about 10 minutes and the guide stops by the river to give information about the reindeers and the person the re-introduced them to Scotland. The trek is pretty simple as steps have been created so it’s suitable for any ages. One thing to note is that you really need to wrap up warm. It was sunny but fresh when we were there and although we didn’t feel cold down in the car park it was considerably colder up on the mountain in the exposed enclosure. Plenty of layers, a good coat, plus hat and scarf are well worth taking as you stand still for a while.

Cairngorm ReindeersThe guide takes everyone across the field where you get the chance to touch and feed the reindeer. As soon as you’re given a handful of feed the reindeers make a move on your hands. They are so gentle when they take the food as unlike horses they don’t use their teeth they use their lips. When your hands are empty you hold them up and when the reindeer sees you’ve got nothing left they move away to someone else. Something that was really surprising was their fur – you assume it’s going to quite coarse but it’s not at all and feels so soft.

We all agreed that seeing and feeding the reindeers was a brilliant experience. Every year at Christmas we all see reindeers on greetings cards, or wrapping paper or on the TV but so many people have never seen or touched a real one.

There are daily visits to see the reindeer herd at 11:00am and in summer they also have an afternoon visit at 2:30pm.

The Reindeer Herd visitor centre location and contact information is:

Reindeer House, Glenmore, Aviemore, Inverness-shire PH22 1QU, Scotland.

Telelphone Number: 01479 861228

Email:  info@cairngormreindeer.co.uk

Website: www.cairngormreindeer.co.uk

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Moray Firth Swans

Swan Family In The Moray Firth

Moray Firth Swans

Two of our Moray Firth swans have been passing by the Beach Cottage garden with the tides for the past few days but they’re no longer with the group or on their own – they have four children and the not so little youngsters are looking very smart with grey feathers.

Moray Firth SwansYesterday I went down onto the beach with some bread and having been fed by me a few times in the past the two adults showed no fear. With family following behind they didn’t hesitate to walk out of the sea and come right up to me to get their meal.

Moray Firth SwansNot having been that close to young swans before I was surprised by their high pitched chirping and it was a stark

Moray Firth Swanscontrast to the growls made by the parents who clearly thought I wasn’t handing them the food quickly enough. It wasn’t long before the bread was gone but the swans stayed with me, comfortable in my company, occasionally stretching their wings. One of the youngsters raised its wings giving me a clear view of the undersides almost showing off the white feathers that some day soon will cover their whole body.

Earlier today whilst walking Branston I saw the family floating by as the tide came in. High tide is 14:45 today so I’ll keep an eye out as the tide goes back out to see if they pop by for dinner again today.

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Wedding Venues In Scotland

Scottish Wedding Venues

Hands down, Scotland is possibly one of the prettiest wedding destinations in the world. Its historic castles, turquoise beaches, snow-capped mountains and idyllic Moorish settings are the perfect backdrop to have a fairy-tale wedding with the love of your life.

Whether you are looking for a historic wedding in a charming 12th century castle, or you’d like to say your vows in the middle of a densely wooded Chusan palm grove, Scotland should be on the top of your destination wedding list.

Getting hitched in Scotland is a privilege offered to only a scant lucky few. If you happen to be one of the blessed brides (or grooms) planning a Scotland wedding, do not forget to look through our list of eccentric wedding locations selected exclusively to guarantee you a wedding of a lifetime!

Mar Lodge Estate

Situated in the picturesque Cairngorms National Park, Mar Lodge used to be a hunting lodge for the Duke and Duchess of Scotland in the 18th century. With an elegant ballroom, dining room, beautiful chapel for the wedding ceremony and plush accommodations for the guests, Mar Lodge estate is one of the most sought after wedding venues in Scotland today. More details can be found on their website. (www.nts.org.uk/Hire-a-Venue/Mar-Lodge)

Maryculter House

Maryculter House Hotel is a historic, four-star country house hotel six miles from the centre of Aberdeen on the bank of the river Dee and close to Aberdeen International Airport.  The hotel is renowned for delivering the most amazing weddings whether it be an intimate ceremony for just a handful of guests or a larger event for up to 180 guests. There are a few wedding photographers available and one of the most popular is Donna Murray photography in Aberdeen. For detailed info about Maryculter House take a look at their website.  (www.maryculterhousehotel.com)

Gilmerton House

The Gilmerton House belongs to the Kinloch family who’ve been living there for almost twelve generations. This antique Georgian mansion is a unique wedding location for those seeking a warm, homely ceremony with none of the pretentious fuss at other 5 star destinations. The beautiful landscaping and the Rose Garden apart, you’ll get to say “I Do” with a stunning ocean view that adds the necessary chutzpah to an already pictographic wedding. See their official website for dull details. (www.gilmertonhouse.com)

The Balmoral

The Balmoral is a luxury hotel in every sense of the word with its very own clock tower it is a luxurious and contemporary five-star venue smack bang in the centre of Edinburgh. A lot of Edinburgh hotels boast of having Edinburgh’s landmarks on their doorstep, few can say their doorstep is a landmark. The Balmoral is on Princes Street famous for its shopping area and very close to Waverley Station and the many Edinburgh attractions. If you’re attending a wedding at the venue an don’t quite have the budget for a suite Edinburgh Townhouse Bed and Breakfast Edinburgh which is only a few minutes walk away offers top quality B&B accommodation. (www.roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/the-balmoral-hotel/)

Cameron House

Tired of the hustle and bustle? Do you want a secluded wedding where only a select few friends and family get to witness your big moment? The Cameron House along the Loch Lomond banks, with an incredible Scottish décor, rustic charm, and serene setting is your best bet. The House has the most luxurious accommodations and the legendary Scottish hospitality to offer. This is definitely a wedding venue you’ll never want to overlook. Learn more about bookings and facilities on their website. (www.cameronhouse.co.uk)

Kisimul Castle

Do you want to get married at the last surviving medieval castle in Scotland? The Kisimul Castle is your perfect choice. Situated like a “rock in the sea” in the Western Isles, the Kisimul Castle is accessible only by boat and has some of the most panoramic views of the countryside. A sunset wedding at Kisimul Castle would certainly take our vote for the most dramatic weddings of all time. Want to know more? Visit for the official website. (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/index/places/propertyresults/propertyoverview.htm?PropID=PL_189&PropName=Kisimul%20Castle)

Aldourie Castle

As far as castle weddings are concerned, you cannot beat the private picturesque wedding experience at Aldourie Castle. Towering majestically amidst the verdant forests in the Highlands, the Aldourie Castle is chic, classy, and definitely one of the most stunning wedding locations in all of Scotland. Whether it is the glorious interior decoration in the castle or the tempting outdoor pursuits all around it, the Aldourie Castle is a prime choice if you want to feel on top of the world on your special day! If you need a wedding photographer Aldourie Castle we recommend Margaret Soraya Photography. To gawk at the castle and schedule a booking, visit their website. (www.aldouriecastle.co.uk)

Do you have more locations to add to these? We’re sure you do. Feel free to comment below and share your Scotland wedding experiences. We’d love to know more. And don’t forget a wedding in Scotland wouldn’t be complete with your very own Scottish wedding piper.

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