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davidx Carrbridge - A travel report by David
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Carrbridge,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
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davidx's travel reports

Carrbridge and the Cairngorms

  9 votes
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This will inevitably be shorter than many of my reports because I know the area less well, but hopefully something is better than nothing and there's nought else here as far as I can see.


For many years I have regarded the Landmark Centre at Carrbridge as a good place for a stop on the way to or from the highlands. I’m afraid I’ve not been a good father or granddad there as there enough attractions to last children for hours but we have only really sampled the very good shop and the snackbar. Then one year, when my youngest son was in his teens, we went together and camped for a quick visit to the Cairngorms. Lastly Pam and I stayed in Carrbridge on the way back from our recent [Sept, 07] visit to Coigach. In either direction Carrbridge is approached by a digression from the A9, the principal road from Edinburgh to the north. It is smaller than Aviemore, which is just about surviving as a winter sports centre in times of global warming. It’s almost as good as an access point for the Cairngorm mountains, which are the highest in the UK except for the Nevis range near Fort William. It’s also close to some of the surviving area of the old Caledonian pine forest, that once covered much of Scotland. In terms of wildlife, it’s the only part of the UK where wild reindeer can be seen – a single herd reintroduced from Scandinavia after they had become extinct in Scotland. It’s ne of the few places where the traditional red squirrel can be seen, displaced in most of the UK by its American grey cousin [not one of my favourite imports.] Some of the rarer highland birds can be seen in the area and for many years the RSPB osprey site was the only generally known habitat of these birds, now happily on the increase in a number of UK areas.

Favourite spots:
My favourite spots in the area are ones that in general I can no longer reach. I admit that I don’t have the intense love for the Cairngorms that I feel for the Torridon Mountains and the Coolin of Skye. The Rocks don’t impress me in the same way but even so the vastness of the scene has great appeal of its own. I feel that Cirn Gorm itself ought to be a favourite since it’s the only peak in the UK, other than Snowdon in Wales, that can be reached mechanically and hence that I can reach. The truth is that I have not as yet used the mountain railway here! When I camped in the area with my son, we very much enjoyed a walk starting from the foot of the railway to the peak of Braeriach, that crossed the Lairig Ghru [see below.]

What's really great:
At the risk of making this report sound like a list of missed opportunities, I have to say something about the Lairig Ghru. This must be the largest non-marine natural obstacle to movement in the UK, a huge cleft running through impressive 4000 foot peaks to each side right across the Cairngorms. As stated above, I crossed it once and I assumed then that I should walk it some day. I can’t easily forget meeting a man way up towards the peak of Braeriach who had got ‘a little lost.’ He showed us where he thought he had come on his map. Guy’s comments afterwards were unprintable but he had some excuse. How can anybody cross such a formidable divide as the Lairig Ghru and still believe he is on the side where he started? I hope he’s not reading this!

Sights:
In spite of their comparative revival from near extinction, there’s still a lot to be said for visiting the RSPB site at Loch Garten to see the ospreys. There are facilities for looking through telescopes at the nest. http://www.rspb.org.uk/res erves/guide/l/lochgarten/


Accommodations:
Feith Mhor Lodge
Feith Mhor Lodge
I can’t remember the name of the place where Guy and I camped but there’s no shortage of good camping in the area around the Cairngorms. To start walks from different points, though, and see a lot of the area, you either need your own transport or a heap of time.

This last time Pam and I stopped for a night at Feith Mhor Lodge [of which I have done a travel tip] up Station Road from Carrbridge. Its a treat to sit at a wonderful Victorian dining table for a sumptuous breakfast and watch a red squirrel gorging itself at a nearby feeder.


Restaurants:
Again, I’ve done a travel tip on Dalrachney Lodge Hotel. I can’t emphasise too much how the appearance of somewhere inordinately costly is wrong as far as food is concerned. It’s great comfort and excellent food at a moderate price.


Published on Wednesday September 26th, 2007


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Fri, Sep 28 2007 - 03:18 AM rating by rangutan

Memoirs :-)

Thu, Sep 27 2007 - 07:43 AM rating by marianne

Shorter than your other reports but equally interesting to read. I'd love to see more photos.

Wed, Sep 26 2007 - 07:15 PM rating by bineba

Any more photos?

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