Scotland Holidays – Aviemore and the Cairngorms
This area is a foremost tourist area in Scotland and is privileged to have two of the most distinctive ecosystems in the UK.
High up in the Cairngorms there is the relict flora of the last Ice Ages – a British tundra. As well as heather there is enough lichen to support reindeer, dwarf willows, the cloudberry (a kind of sweet yellow raspberry, extensive also in Norway) and the mountain aven (extensive also in Canada).
In the lowlands there are extensive woodland remnants of the ancient Caledonian forest, which have Crossbills, Black Grouse and Capercailzie. More famous are the Ospreys at Boat of Garten.
There is excellent walking country (railway assisted if you wish – there is a train almost to the top of the Cairngorm) with rounded mountain tops such as the Cairngorm, Ben Macdhui and Braeriach and deep U shaped glacial valleys like the Lairig Ghru west of the Cairngorm. Deep cliffs, the altitude and the disorienting nature of the rounded mountain tops mean that you must take your walks with care. You must not walk on the tops when bad weather threatens (snow, fog, rain, wind) and you must have the right footwear and warm clothing
Aviemore itself was formerly a junction on the old Highland railway, expanded in the 1960’s for the skiing on the Cairngorms. However global warming has taken its toll of the skiing and Aviemore is an all year round tourist centre. Here are various tourist attractions (a brewery, a steam railway) and watersports at Loch Morlich..
It lies in the broad valley or Strath of the River Spey, between the stunning Cairngorms and the lowering bulk of the Monadhliath mountains.
Along the Spey valley there are more small towns such as Kingussie, Newtonmore and Grantown-on-Spey. On the other side of the Cairngorms (to the South East) in Deeside, Ballater is the main centre together with the lovely village of Braemar, with Balmoral Castle lying between them. Following the Dee to the northeast you find your way to the remote but more rolling hills of Glenlivet, famous for its whiskey distilleries.
In these small attractive towns there are many self catering cottages and vacation rentals.