Advice/ideas for Cairngorms trip please

Hi All.  My husband and I have decided to visit the Cairngorms this year for a wildlife and whisky trip this year(me for the wildlife and him for the whisky!)

I've never been there before and have done so much googling that my mind is now boggling!  I know with wildlife there can be no guarantees but top of my wish list would be to see Crested Tit and Red Squirrel and anything else would be a bonus!  I can't make my mind up whether it would be better to go mid to late March when I hear Crested Tits are more likely to come to feeders (because a photo would be nice!) or whether it would be better to go in June when there would be longer days and (hopefully) better weather.

My other quandary was whether to stay somewhere like Inverness where we could easily get a guided tour/trip out to save more driving (we have an eight/nine hour drive to get there) or whether it would be better to stay somewhere quieter like Grantown on Spey and just take ourselves off to various places - any suggestions welcome!

We will only have three or four full days there so any advice or ideas on must see places to go would be really appreciated.  Thanks!

See my Flickr photos here


  • Hi Christine
    Loch Garten is ideal both for Crested Tits and Red Squirrels. I live in Nairn on the Moray coast and personally I would rather stay in Grantown or that area than Inverness. Either March or June would be fine but you might get the bonus of Osprey in June.

    Kind regards


  • Hi Christine, I would be very torn between concentrating on the wildlife or the whisky :)
    The last time I was up that way I stayed at Loch Insh, it was basic but fine for a short stay. The advantage is that it is close to RSPB Loch Garten (Cresties, Squirrels & hopefully post March Osprey) and also has its own Osprey nest. It is also right in the heart of the Cairngorms. Maybe not your idea of a good day out but it is also close to the Highland Wildlife Park & Highland Folk Museum. Although Inverness is a nice place, depending on what you are looking for in terms of accommodation, Aviemore could be just as good, or possibly Newtonmore or Kingussie. All three being on the banks of the Spey, I am sure you (or your husband) wouldn't have to travel too far to sample the water of life. You mention your long drive, all three are further south than Inverness and can be reached easily from the A9 which is the road you would likely be on to get to Inverness. As a personal preference I would try to time my trip to coincide with Osprey activity which could possibly rule out mid to late March. Ian
  • Hello Christine and welcome to the site. I live up at the very top of Scotland in Caithness and have been to the RSPB centre and surrounding area twice. The first year we camped in Grantown on Spey (9.5 miles away) and the second time a rented cottage in Nethy Bridge (3.5miles away). Both places had hotels and accommodation. Nethy was a lovely little place with a lot of choice for rented places. The centre at LG is lovely, a beautiful loch and surrounding walks in the woodlands, with much bird life to see. I never saw any crested tits when visiting but have on the live webcam on the LG threads on here. I did see the lovely red squirrels though and of course not forgetting the Osprey, one of my very favourites our beloved EJ. They staff are very nice and full of information, the centre is good with lots of information, a window feeder on the patio doors and a large feeder outside where you can see the crested tits and lots of others birds and animals. Then you can go further afield and higher up in the Cairngorms and see other wildlife, black grouse, ptarmigan, white hares and others, we never did this, but have seen many TV programmes from the area. You will be able to google different trips/tours if you want to do that. From a place called Aviemore (10 miles away) you can take a trip up the Cairngorms to see the reindeer, that was lovely, not too difficult but you needed descent shoes and warm clothes, you get to be among them and feed them, if you fancied doing that. Many many distilleries with lovely whisky! So your other half should have plenty of choice! Others who have been in the area will hopefully provide more information, but hope this may be of some help.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Catlady, I was going to like your post but then I noticed your spelling of whisky with an "e". Suffice to say, consider yourself lucky that I didn't request your post be taken down :) Ian
  • Slip on the keyboard Ian, now corrected.

    Am I missing something here (consider myself lucky you did not request the post be taken down)?! 

    I presume you are being funny and that it is in relation to the posts that were being deleted a few days ago, when in fact no one could see anything wrong with them?

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • I think Ian was making the point that :
    Whisky = Scotch but Whiskey = Irish
    I'm sure it was just meant as a joke.



    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to nairnred:

    Hi Jenny and thanks for your advice. I think a trip to Loch Garten will definitely be on the cards and since the Osprey Centre there doesn't open until 1st April, I think we will time our visit for some time then.

    See my Flickr photos here


  • In reply to Ian S:

    Hi Ian and thank you also for your advice. I think we would prefer somewhere quieter than Inverness so I will most probably look in to hotels in Kingussie or Newtonmore, then you could always travel to Inverness to catch a day trip if you so wished!

    See my Flickr photos here


  • In reply to Catlady:

    Hi Catlady - that is all really helpful thank you. A trip to Loch Garten will definitely be on the cards and I do quite
    like the idea of going up the Cairngorms to feed the reindeer! I think we will have to try and stop an extra night or two as there seems to be so much to see and do!

    See my Flickr photos here


  • In reply to Catlady:

    Catlady, I was (as Tony suggests) just making a litle joke, I thought the smiley I put at the end of it would have let you know. It wasn't the greatest joke ever so I probably shouldn't have bothered. Ian