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The Cairngorm National Park. The largest national park in the British Isles, crossing 5 different regions. The Cairngorms welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year, with walkers in particular attracted to the vast mountain range, forests and glens.

Aviemore is the focal point of the area, with the finest collection of outdoor clothes and equipment shops in the Highlands. If you prefer to travel light, many offer a hire service for your skis, bikes and boots.

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For those with a love of everything outdoors, this has to be the playground of the Highlands & Islands! With so much on offer, you will need a return visit, or 6, just to fit everything in. Where to start….well, there’s skiing, snowboarding, water sports, pony-trekking, quad biking, zip wires, mountain biking, gliding, fishing, husky racing and walking. And that’s not all!

The abundance of wildlife is a photographer’s dream, from red squirrels and badgers to eagles and ospreys and you may even be lucky enough to spot the elusive wildcat or capercaille.

There are many forests to explore including Glenmore, Glenfeshie and Abernethy. If you prefer to relax whilst taking in the scenery, the steam train to Boat of Garten, or Scotland’s only funicular railway are the way to travel!

There are many other attractions in the area including Ruthven Barracks, museums, wildlife park and reindeer centre.

Loch Morlich is a freshwater loch, popular for watersports. It also has a sandy beach, yet is 300 metres above sea level. How can this be? Lochaber Geopark kindly commented; “Loch Morlich is a classic example of a kettle hole. It has formed where a block of ice was stranded during de-glaciation of the Cairngorms. The sand is of fluvioglacial origin having been washed out from the moraine created beneath the ice during glaciation”. So now you know!

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Braemar is in the south of the Cairngorm Mountain range and is equally as popular for skiing. Glenshee offers the most extensive facilities, boasting 22 lifts and 36 runs! Braemar also hosts the annual Braemar Gathering, frequented by the Royals.  You can also try your hand at fly fishing on the very popular River Dee.

Balmoral Castle is the Queens Scottish residence and is open to the public at certain times of year. And Ballater is a Victorian town, renown for it Royal connections. As you wander the wonderful selection of shops, many will display Warrants of the Queen and Prince Charles.