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Kingussie has the perfect holiday town atmosphere - relaxed, laid-back and friendly.Visitors spend their time wandering around the shops. There are a fair share of galleries and craft shops with scenes of mountains, lochs and crofts all captured on canvas by talented local artists.Stone pottery mugs, vases and bowls that you can’t resist cradling and turning in your hands are decorated in the muted colours of the landscape. And you’ll find fine furniture which is perfect for furnishing your own little castle.Unwind in the cosy cafés which are full of character and quirky style.
Home-made soup and tempting home-baking are always on the menu, while the restaurants in town offer the best of Highland produce with fresh fish and game a speciality.Working up an appetite is easy. A round of golf, a spot of fly-fishing, climbing, mountain biking, bowls on the green with the locals, tennis, canoeing - sport comes easy with all this fresh air and the wonderful facilities.On most weekends, you’ll hear the roars from the nearby shinty pitch, as Kingussie, regular Scottish Shinty champions, take on their latest challenger.
In autumn, it’s the roar of the stags from the nearby hills.
You can’t escape the scenery here. When the sun is shining, seek perfect peace out on those hills. Follow the Allt Mor from its source, as it courses down the mountain sides and flows into the River Spey.Snatches of old Scottish ballads come to mind as you tramp over the wild mountain thyme and purple heather.
About five minutes south of Kingussie, just across the River Spey, stand the gaunt ruins of Ruthven Barracks (pictured above). Built in 1719 by the government to house infantry to police the area, the barracks were placed under siege by Jacobite clansmen for some weeks in 1745 before being reduced to rubble in March 1746 by the cannons of the Jacobite army on their way to Culloden. It was also the rendezvous for the defeated lairds and clansmen following the slaughter at the battle and the sad setting for the order by Bonnie Prince Charlie to disperse, all hopes of taking the crown lying in ruins there also. You can walk around the walls and catch glimpses of the ghosts from the past. The barracks stand on the site of old Ruthven Castle which features prominently in the most turbulent times of Scottish history.
The Lords of Badenoch ruled here from the 14th century until the castle was demolished in 1689. The Wolf of Badenoch was one of the most infamous and feared men of his time - a monster among men. He thought nothing of setting Forres and Elgin ablaze when he was excommunicated by the Bishop of Moray. The Wolf mysteriously met his end in 1394 in Ruthven Castle. Legend has it that his soul was carried away after losing a game of chess to Auld Nick. Just one of the many stories and legends woven into the landscape of the area.