Cairngorms National Park - Highland Perthshire, Aviemore, Glenlivet, Royal Deeside

Cairngorms National Park. Welcome to the Cairngorms Park accommodation and holiday blog. On Cairngorms-Park.com you'll find the widest range of self-catering holiday homes, hotels, guest houses, B&Bs, hostels and caravanning/camp sites situated in the Cairngorms Park, from Blair Atholl to Aviemore, into Glenlivet and Royal Deeside. You'll also find details of all the villages and tourist attractions in the Cairngorms Park, information on active-, water- and snow sports, including every annual event and festival. Look for our definitive guide to the Cairngorms National Park's golf courses, places to eat and drink, the best nightlife, distilleries and other world class visitor attractions. Your Cairngorms Park holiday starts here!

Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Cairngorm mountains and ancient Scots Pine Forests, Aviemore and The Cairngorms National Park remains Scotland's favourite all year round visitor destination. Whether you're skiing, snow boarding, climbing, walking or just touring, you'll be doing it in some of Europe's finest and most spectacular National Park.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Shake-up move at Aviemore resort

A major shake-up in the ownership of the Aviemore Highland Resort (AHR) is on the cards in an attempt to save the development from bankruptcy.


More than 300 jobs are at risk as the company struggles to cope with a financial crisis.
But an agreement between administrators and the project's bankers is likely to see the Macdonald Hotels Group emerge as the eventual owner.
The group, Lloyds TSB and building firm Tulloch have a stake in AHR.

In February, an £80m plan to redevelop the complex was given the green light by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).

Planning officials recommended that the board members granted approval as long as 33 planning conditions were met.
These included ensuring that 25% of the housing built as part of the expansion was affordable.
Looking for self-catering accommodation? Why not check out - www.HighlandHolidayCottages.com or www.cairngormsholidaycottages.com

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Thursday, 18 June 2009

Volunteering at Glen Livet Estate in Cairngorns National Park

GLENLIVET, Scotland -- There are a lot of ways to travel the world. Most of them are hugely expensive and often involve being charter-bussed around in a tourist "bubble" that barely scratches the surface of the real place and people. We might come away with some pretty postcard photographs and high-priced souvenirs, but most of our experience doesn't get the chance to go much deeper than that.


Sincerely want to find a way to cut costs to the bare-bones minimum, spend intense one-on-one time with locals and maybe even leave a lasting mark on the place you've visited? Here's what I discovered a few years ago and now rarely plan a major vacation any other way.
Save hundreds of dollars in food, lodging and sightseeing costs. I can travel entirely alone without worrying about "being" alone -- and generally come home with a few lasting new friendships, and a solid sense of having actually "lived" in the place I've visited.

Best of all, there's the soul-satisfying knowledge that should I return to that place years from now, some small evidence of my passing will likely still remain -- and I don't mean litter or graffitti.I'm talking about a volunteer work vacation.



Volunteer vacations take many forms. Doctors and nurses bring needed skills to third world countries where health care is more a luxury than a human right. Churches staff missions around the world to improve standards of living while spreading the word of their faith.

Environmentalists perform conservation work both nationally and abroad. Animal lovers volunteer in wildlife research and habitat projects on land and sea. There are even archaeological digs seeking volunteers to help unearth the secrets of ancient civilization.

All it takes is a little homework to find the right service trip to suit your interests, skills and physical abilities...and the willingness to do a little work while you're





That's how I spent 8 days at the Glenlivet Estate in the central Scottish Highlands with BTCV Holidays, a British-based nonprofit environmental conservation group sponsoring year-round international volunteer work projects.

Glenlivet Estate, literally a valley on the rivers Livet and Avon, is nearly 57,000 acres of moors, bogs, waterways, woods and farms between the Ladder and Cromdale Hills of Cairngorns National Park in the Grampian Highlands.

This is the true lifesource of Scotland's historic whiskey, where the rivers flow clear and cold and the barley grows rich and tall. Pheasant, grouse and other upland game are as fat and plentiful as barnyard chickens, strutting freely across wide pastures like feathered kings and queens. Salmon and wild brown trout fill the rocky streams in their season. Roe deer and wild hare dart across the landscape like Gaelic faeries.

My group was made up of nine men and women ranging in age from two girls fresh out of high school to two retired English gents of decidedly and delightfully opposite character. All but me hailed from somewhere in the UK, so the week was an ongoing study in everything from the proper way to boil haggis and turnips to the makings of a good malt whiskey.

During the day our projects ranged from building a footpath for locals in Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands, to refurbishing footbridges along one of the estate's many walking routes. On our free time we hill-walked through endless sunlit evenings, toured famed Glen Livet Distillery and the ruins of Drumin Castle.

Every green rolling pasture is dotted with the thick white of sheep and goats. The soulful gaze of cattle follow your every move as you climb over fence stiles to cross the grassy moors. Vast hillsides are covered in heather -- mottled brown like worn and shabby carpet in spring, vivid pink and purple in late summer and fall

On our last night, we celebrated with a barbecue next to the cattle field, attended by the park rangers we'd been working for all week. Even the local Grampian police stopped in, curious to see what the smoke was about behind the village hall.

Yes, it's work. Yes, you get dirty, tired and sweaty. And yes, you cook your own meals at the end of the day, and if you're lucky, you'll sleep on a floor instead of a tent and have a shower instead of a bucket or lake.

Frankly, I can't imagine a more wonderful way to see the Scottish Highlands -- or anywhere else in the world. Why not give it a try? You just might agree

Cairngorms Soap Box Race 2009

Cairngorm Soapbox Extreme, organised by the newly formed Scottish Cartie Association (SCA) and with funding secured through the Cairngorms Local Action Group LEADER programme, is the latest addition to the UK soapbox racing calendar.

SCA chairman Stephen Hall explained: "We wanted to put on something really spectacular to catch people's imagination, and Cairngorm really is the ideal venue.



"The course, down the Cairngorm Ski Road, is two miles long and has a great mixture of straights and testing hairpin bends. We expect that top speeds will be well in excess of 50mph, and you really won't find anything like this anywhere else in Britain."

Gravity racing is the next step up from the humble soapbox cart or bogey, traditionally built by children from scavenged materials. But instead of pram wheels, planks and a bit of rope for steering, these are precision-engineered racing machines driven with skill and passion.
"You'll find all kinds of machines taking part, from carts built by blokes in sheds from whatever parts they can lay their hands on right the way up to high-tech masterpieces built by professional race teams such as Lotus and Honda," said Hall.

And there is no shortage of courage either, for as Stephen revealed: "It takes quite a lot of guts to hurtle down a hill on something you've made yourself, but to barrel down a mountain? This is definitely not a sport for Jessies!"

He added: "We've had a great response from the local community and there is a real enthusiasm for the event in the area, not just in the local area but also further afield, from the North of Scotland right down to the South of England.

"We've had an amazing amount of support and help from lots of sources including the Aviemore Business Association and Cairngorm Mountain Ltd."

A vital part of the jigsaw was achieved earlier in the year when funding was secured through the Cairngorms Local Action Group LEADER programme.

Hall said: "It was a huge boost when we learned we'd been awarded a grant, and things have just been a blur since then. It's really catching on and is generating a lot of interest."

The event will run on July 25-26, with safety inspection of all the carts on Saturday being followed by practice sessions and timed qualifying. On Sunday, the carts will race head to head in a do-or-die knockout to find the "King of the Mountain".

For further information, including details on taking part, log on to http://www.soapboxracing.co.uk/.

Looking for self-catering accommodation? Why not check out - www.HighlandHolidayCottages.com or www.cairngormsholidaycottages.com

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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Tigers burn bright with new cubs

Three Amur tiger cubs born at the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kingussie, are to be given their first public showing.

The litter are the offspring of two adults transported from Edinburgh Zoo last October.




The pair named Yuri and Sasha have previously reared six cubs.

About 500 are thought to remain in the wild and the park owners - the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland - said the species remains under threat. The cubs were born in May, but are only now being shown to the public. Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, live in the forests and mountains of Russia's far east.

Conservation charity Amur says the species' numbers are threatened by poaching and hunting for body parts to make traditional Chinese medicine. Habitat has also been lost to logging and forest fires. The Highland Wildlife Park cubs are the latest new arrivals at the site.
In May, two Japanese macaques were the first to be born at the park since the species' introduction to its collection in 2007. Meanwhile, a team of territorial soldiers, usually charged with building army bases in Afghanistan, have built an enclosure at the site for the UK's only polar bear.

The 75 Engineer Regiment created a four-acre enclosure for Mercedes, who it is hoped will move from her current home at Edinburgh Zoo later this year. www.highlandwildlifepark.org

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Summer snow...snow way

"UNTIL it snows in June, summer has not started," is a saying at CairnGorm Mountain– and after this weekend's flurry hopefully there will be plenty of sun to come.




Temperatures dropped to freezing at the top of the Cairngorms in the early hours of Friday morning, just five days after the mercury had nudged 28C.
People had still been taking to the waters of Loch Morlich in their swimming costumes the previous Monday before the dramatic change around in the weather.
Weekend walkers on the high tops were greeted by nearly two inches of snow, blasts of hail and sub-zero conditions while temperatures crept up to a relatively barmy 5C at the funicular base station and Coire Cas car park.


"There was enough snow to make a snowman but not to ski," said Tania Alliod, marketing manager for CairnGorm Mountain.


"Everyone was certainly enjoying the snow."
She added that despite the soaring temperatures during the previous week, staff at the attraction do not consider the summer snow unusual.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Forget the OUTSIDER it's the INSIDER!

Somehow we have managed to organise a very civilised little get together in under 4 weeks. Today, with 3 weeks to go, Henry and Dan have got the website up and running and tickets are officially on sale.Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the Insider.

For the Insider our license states that we can't sell tickets on the gate and we are strictly limited to 400. Both Inshriach and the Insider are in for some unexpected publicity and we would recommend to those of you who read this to get your tickets in quickly. To this end we are laying on a little incentive. Anyone who buys a ticket by this Friday will have their name put into the hat and may find themselves the proud occupier of an 8' yurt for the weekend with all manner of creative entertainment and lavish hospitality thrown in. I'm probably doubling up what I'm saying to a few of you. See the Insider website for more details.

Inshriach House is 5 miles outside Aviemore so arriving by train is easy. Inverness airport is 40 miles to the North. From Aviemore you can take a taxi to Inshriach House for around £8. We will warn the taxi people when we think you are coming or you can call Geordies Cabs on 01479 811 111 or Weirs Taxis on 01479 810 141, both are based in Aviemore. If you are coming by car we are on the B970 between Inverdruie and Feshiebridge. Here is a map. There will be plenty of parking in a field but no entry after 10pm. We cant get caravans in and please let us know if you are coming in a camper van by emaiing me at walter@inshriachhouse.com See you here.
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