Feast your eyes on the famous Highlands and snuggle up amongst crowds of ancient pine trees at Glenmore campsite. This serene holiday spot is perhaps Aviemore’s prize possession, bedecked by a beautiful backdrop of jagged mountain tops and encircled by gorgeous green grass filled with furry denizens.
Campsites don’t come much better than Glenmore, with an incredible range of attractions in the area.
You might not feel like venturing too far outside of camp on the very first day you get to Glenmore, and the great news is you won’t have to! Less than two miles from the campsite is Cairngorm Reindeer Centre – where you can observe a 150-strong herd of reindeer loping through the woodland.
After catching sight of these magnificent animals’ from the paddocks, it’s also worth venturing a little further afield to Cairngorm Mountain (a four-mile trip from the Reindeer Centre and six miles from camp). You’ll be able to spot this enormous peak from a long way away, but there’s nothing quite like exploring Cairngorm’s famous landmark yourself. Home to Britain’s highest funicular railway, this marvellous mountain is also peppered with snaking paths and a couple of cafes serving up some fine refreshments in the daytime. There are guided walks available too, although you may want to stick to the rail if you’re planning on getting more done during your camping weekend. Climbing to the very top of Cairngorm on foot is not for the faint of heart, and will undoubtedly make your legs feel a little wobbly come the next morning.
Begin your day at the magnificent freshwater loch known as Loch an Eilein. Situated roughly seven-and-a-half miles from Glenmore, this strangely shaped sheet of water is easy to reach by car. Besides, as soon as you cast your eyes on the rippling surface of the loch, the short journey will feel as though it was worth every minute. There’s something truly enticing about Loch an Eilein, and as you wander around the winding paths you’ll struggle to avert your gaze from the twinkling reflections of pine trees in the water. The ancient ruins of the island castle are also located close by, sat ready and waiting to be explored.
A couple of miles north of Loch an Eilein is the Strathspey Steam Railway. Here you can board one of the last surviving Scottish steam engines and gaze at the rolling hills of Aviemore as the train huffs and puffs through Boat of Garten and Broomhill (a complete circuit takes around two hours to complete). Light luncheons and afternoon tea are served in the old-fashioned cabins, with whiskey tasting sessions, family-friendly catering options, and even birthday party celebration packages available on board during the voyage.
After a fun few hours on the rail tracks, it’s worth heading north again to Cairngorm Brewery – which takes about fifteen minutes to reach by car. The best thing about breweries (apart from the distribution of free alcohol, of course) is that they’re a great option whatever the weather. If the rain is tumbling down and you need to duck indoors away from the heavy clouds, Cairngorm Brewery is there for you.
The brewery is far more than a simple shelter stocked with beer. A visit to the brewery makes for a great experience – with tours of the building led by insightful staff members and a variety of tongue-tickling tasting sessions hosted throughout the week. You can also visit the shop at the end of the day and purchase a few bottles of Cairngorm’s finest as souvenirs to take home with you.
Day 3 – Meet the Aviemore Animals
Stretching out of your sleeping bag and sipping on that first cup of coffee in the morning is always supplemented by a strange sensation. If this is the last day of your trip you’ll be looking forward to the rest of the day, but daren’t look too far ahead or risk finding your mind occupied by images of going back to normality. This is particularly pertinent on a weekend camping trip.
Our advice? Don’t think about the journey back just yet. Instead, take the thirteen-mile trip to Highland Wildlife Park, located south-west of Glenmore campsite. This is a brilliant opportunity to meet the amazing animals of Aviemore – including tigers, foxes, owls, beavers, bison, camels, elk, monkeys, leopards, lynx, pandas, wolverines, and many, many more.
There are also tours available that last from early morning (8.30am) right up until the middle of the afternoon, as a professional guide gives you the chance to take super snaps of the wildlife. The park is scattered with picnic benches that are perfect for groups of friends and families, with interesting talks about the animals held at various points throughout the day.
Highland Wildlife Park is packed full of activity and adventure, rendering it the ideal place to spend your final day after visiting Glenmore campsite. There are also numerous indoor exhibits if the weather isn’t too kind on the day.
The greatness of Glenmore will be readily apparent as soon as you stroll onto the site – especially if the sun is shining overhead. There are few greater sights in Scotland than the image of Glenmore immersed in glowing yellow light. Once you’ve picked a pitching spot, you’ll be enraptured by your location. It’s a place that just has that kind of effect.
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