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FAMILIES looking for adventure, holiday fun and relaxation will find it in spades in and around Aviemore.
There’s full-on action with sailing, canoeing, white-water rafting, windsurfing and paintballing. Perhaps go for a gentle game of golf or a walk in the tranquil forests and discover the wildlife.
Aviemore is the main skiing resort for the Cairngorms and is surrounded by stunning scenery. Just nine miles from the town is the Cairngorm Funicular Railway taking you to the highest restaurant in the UK. There’s also a mountain exhibition and marked pathways to explore the higher altitudes.
Take a ride on a rail journey from the past with the Strathspey Steam Railway – a romantic journey through some of the most spectacular scenery in the area. The train runs from Aviemore to Broomhill near Nethy Bridge and you can get off and explore the village of Boat of Garten or carry on along the track.
Nature lovers will love the Revack Estate near Aviemore – a traditional working Highland estate with a beautiful pine forest. There’s a friendly restaurant and gift shop.
And the Rothiemurchus Estate has an outstanding blend of scenery, nature, history and exciting activities for all the family.
Indeed the whole area is important for wildlife. Just out of Boat of Garten, you can witness a major conservation success story. Ospreys have been reintroduced into the wild and at the Loch Garten Reserve you can observe these magnificent birds of prey rearing their young. From the interpretation centre you can watch a live feed from the nest, and you can often see the adults plunging into the waters to catch their dinner.
There’s even wilder wildlife at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig. Wolves, bears, and tigers – yes, tigers – as well as other not quite so fierce and fearsome creatures can be seen in the park. At one time many of these animals roamed freely in Scotland’s hills and glens and the park explains all about Scotland’s wildlife past and present.
One animal you wouldn’t expect to be roaming freely in the area is reindeer. The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd near Aviemore was introduced in 1950s and the animals have felt right at home in the wild and often inhospitable conditions high in the Cairngorm hills. From the visitor centre you are driven up part of the hill with the last part a gentle walk to meet the herd, stroke them and feed them. Gentle, friendly and peaceful you will fall immediately in love with their velvet noses and beautiful eyes.