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Here’s What You Need to Know About Hiking in the Cairngorms

23 Apr 2018 by annabel

The largest national park in Scotland and gateway to the snow-capped mountains of the Eastern Highlands, Cairngorms is heaven on earth for hikers. Make your way to Cairngorms National Park for your next walking vacation and you will be spoiled with spellbinding views and breathtaking vistas in this unique natural world. After your walk is complete, why not treat yourself to a special stay in a Scottish castle like Forter Castle, where you can soak your aching muscles in a luxurious bath and enjoy some well-deserved dinner.

Here is everything you need to know about hiking in the Cairngorms:

Community Paths & Trails

For easy walks that start from the park’s towns and villages, you will find a huge network of community paths and trails. No matter where you decide to stay during your time in the Cairngorms, you will find easy access to hiking routes. With trails ranging from short 30 minute low-level strolls with spectacular nature to two hour long adventures through mountains and woodlands.

Some of our favorite starting points include the lovely little village of Boat of Garten (with 5 community trails) and the well-connected town of Aviemore (with 6 different routes to choose from).

Other places worth checking out are Carr-Bridge, Strathdon, Tomintoul, Braemar, Nethy Bridge, Glen Clova, Dalwhinnie, Kingussie and Newtonmore.

Hill Tracks & Passes

Experienced walkers may wish to explore the trails that are off the beaten path. For a taste of the Scottish wilderness, there are a number of Cairngorms Hill Tracks. You will be able to pick up a Cairngorms Hill Tracks leaflet from one of the 9 visitor centers:

• Ballater Visitor Information Centre (T: 013397 55306)
• Braemar Visitor Information Centre (T: 013397 41600)
• Crathie Visitor Information Centre (T: 013397 42414)
• Grantown-on-Spey Visitor Information Centre (T: 01479 872478)
• Blair Atholl Visitor Information Centre
• Clan Macpherson Museum (T: 01540 673332)
• Aviemore Visitor Information Centre (T: 01479 810930)
• Tomintoul Visitor Information Centre (T: 01807 580285)
• Ralia Cafe and Tourist Information (T: 01540 670066)

Some of the tracks not to be missed are Mount Keen and Mount Battock (with new recent path work to make the walk much easier), Atholl, Tilt and Bruar (where navigation skills will be put to the test on the summit plateaus), or Mayar and Driesh (an easy trek that makes a great introduction for beginners).

Long Distance Hikes

If you’re looking for an extended hiking challenge, here are some of the walks to explore:
• The Speyside Way (65 miles)
This is one of Scotland’s official Long Distance Routes, connecting the stunning Moray coast with the Grampian Mountains.
• The Deeside Way (41 miles)
A route from Aberdeen to Ballater, along the paths next to the Old Royal Deeside Railway with a fine stretch of woodland and farmland.
• The Cateran Trail (64 miles)
Known as one of ‘Scotland’s Great Trails’, this long distance route circular will take you through Perthshire, Angus Glens and gorgeous ancient tracks through the forest.
• The East Highland Way (82 miles)
The longest of the routes, this stretch covers Fort William to Aviemore, linking the West Highland Way with Great Glen and Speyside Way.

With a towering range (including Ben Nevis and Ben Macdui) that could mirror the beauty of the Arctic Tundra to the lush green forest walks and fantastic salmon fishing in the park’s idyllic lochs and rivers, there’s so much to see and do here. If you are feeling overwhelmed by choice, please do get in touch with our knowledgeable team, and we can help you plan your perfect getaway. 


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  • “It was a spectacular weekend. We and our guests had a terrific time. The castle was exceptionally comfortable and we all felt completely at home thanks to the understated but highly efficient service and support they provided. Food was also amazing… a truly memorable party. We are very happy.” T. W., USA


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