The Cairngorm Mountains, the largest highland plateau in the British Isles, are a principal feature in the Grampian region. Covering an area of about 60sq.mi/155sq.km the Cairngorms lie at average height of 914ft/279m with four of the summits exceeding 4,000ft/1,220m.
Cairngorm - Regional Park and Skiing
The Cairngorm mountain range consists of peneplain with fissured moorland granite plateau, dominated by a number of huge elevations with Ben Macdui (4,300ft/1,310m) the highest peak in the Regional Park.
One of the most spectacular high-level footpaths runs from the mountain peaks - accessible all the year round by chairlift - via Cairn Gorm to Glenmore Lodge (6.5mi/10.4km from Aviemore). Cairn Gorm has lent its name to the whole region but, at 4,084ft/1,245m, it is only the fourth-highest peak after Ben Macdui, Braeriach (4,248ft/1,295m) and Cairn Toul (4,241ft/1,293m).The easiest route to the summits is by the White Lady chairlift. Several lochs including Loch Avon and Loch-an-Eilean lie between the pinky red granite mountains which emerged during the Ice Age. The summits of Braeriach, Cairn Toul and The Devil's Point probably offer the most impressive views. Heather moorland, partly wooded with birch trees, provides good breeding grounds for some rare bird species such as ospreys, ptarmigan, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, dotterel, snow bunting and merlins. Mammals such as the pine marten and reindeer, introduced from Swedish Lapland in 1952, can sometimes be seen in Glen More Forest.
Cairngorm - Hill Walking
This part of Scotland is very popular with serious walkers. The 30mi/48km route from Aviemore to Braemar via Larig Ghru includes some breathtaking views. Another path - about as long - runs from Braemar to Blair Atholl, while a shorter, but still very pretty walk starts in Aviemore, crosses the Revoan pass via Loch Avon and finishes in Nethy Bridge, a popular base for skiers, anglers and golfers.The 28mi/45km Lairig Ghru trail runs from Aviemore, through the Rothiemurchus forest up to the Pools of Dee. From there it descends to Linn of Dee and then turns east to Braemar.
Aviemore (pop. 2,400) is Scotland's leading ski resort. It nestles between the Cairngorms and the Monadhliath Mountains and makes a good base for excursions into the surrounding countryside. But Aviemore can offer more than just hotels, chalets, skating rinks and swimming pools.
Glenmore Forest Park - Allt Mhor Forest Trail
The Allt Mhor Forest Trail is only one of the walks in Glenmore Forest Park has several walks. This 3-mile / 4.9-kilometer trail begins at the Heron's Field parking lot. From there you go through the forest, onto a footbridge, then on to join Ryvoan Pass. The trail continues along the road to Glenmore village and then back to the parking lot.
Landmark Highland Heritage & Adventure Park
Within walking distance of Aviemore is the Rothiemurchus Forest. Found here are Scottish Crossbills, Crested Tits, Capercaillie and Black Grouse. Birdwatchers will find the best time to visit is early summer.
The ruined "Wolf of Badenoch" castle rises out of the middle of Loch-an-Eileann, a secluded and picturesque lake 3mi/4.8km south of Aviemore.
Kingussie (12mi/19km southwest of Aviemore) was the birthplace of James Macpherson (1736-1796). This son of a Spey valley peasant claimed to have produced the first translation of a Gaelic manuscript ascribed to Ossian, the son of the Scottish king Fingal. Fifteen years after a disastrous defeat at Culloden, he provided the Scots with a heroic epic shrouded in mysticism, a monument of literature that soon won enthusiastic acclaim throughout the whole of Europe among artists and literati. Many of the latter including Herder, Brahms, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Turner and others found inspiration in the writings of Ossian. Although Macpherson failed to produce the original manuscripts, his Ossian verses sold well and he was able to afford a mansion in the Scottish Highlands. After his death the controversial Scot was granted a place alongside Britain's most celebrated poets in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner. However, it later transpired that MacPherson had been a brilliant forger. He had closely studied the Gaelic sources of the Fingal legend and combined them with his own composition.
Banffshire - Tomintoul Riding Centre
Tomintoul Riding Centre offers numerous horse-back rides on trails through the Cairngorm Mountains and Glenlivet Estate. Day rides can be arranged and the school also offers tuition and less-demanding treks.
Clan MacPherson Museum
The Macpherson Museum in Newtonmore documents the turbulent history of the MacPherson clan. One of the exhibits is a first edition of the "Fingal translation".
Address: Main Street, Newtonmore PH20 1DE, Scotland
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Oct 31: 10am-5pm; Sun: 12pm-5pm
Entrance fee: FREE
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
"Waltzing Waters" offers a 50-minute water display.
Tomatin was established in 1897 but saw its great years of expansion between the 1950s and 1970s.