Carrbridge is a very friendly, thriving village with all the amenities you could ask for. Top of the list for any child, and even adults, has to be the Landmark Forest Adventure Park, which is less than five minutes walk from the house. Highly recommended. There is also a newly updated play park.
The village has a very well stocked Spar shop with Post Office, and The Cairn pub serving good food and a warm welcome. We also have a cosy wee cafe serving lunches and tasty cakes, as well as a small art gallery. There is a garage too, offering fuel and repairs and The Carrbridge Hotel directly opposite. You’ll also find the Istanbul Kebab House serving all the usual take away offerings. And even a fish and chip van in the village car park most Saturday evenings. There is a wonderful network of paths through the woods, up the river and beyond – endless walks from the door. The woods can be accessed directly off Rowan Park, just 150 metres from the house. The Cairngorms area as a whole offers a great many opportunities for walking, be it short or long, low or high level walks that you’re looking for. The Speyside Way is one of four official Long Distance Routes in Scotland, following the River Spey from nearby Aviemore to Buckie on the Moray coast.
And the same for cycling – it is possible to cycle off road from the house to Boat of Garten and beyond to Nethy Bridge and Aviemore – even our 7 year old managed to Boat for a tasty pub lunch! Be sure to try out the new, free-to-use pump track when you’re there! This route follows part of the National Cycle Route 7 which runs through the village. And for the hard core mountain bikers the area is a paradise, with single track in the adjacent woods and the challenging Burma Road mountain bike loop accessible from the village, along with many other mountain biking trails in the wider area. For anyone looking for a guided local ride or coaching, look at Muddy Trails MTB. And Aviemore Bikes can advise on both on and off road routes, as well as bike hire and supplies. Grantown on Spey, aside from being a lovely nearby town to visit, has a great purpose built skills area with trails running through the woods beyond. Then, slightly further afield, there are the tracks at Glenlivet and Laggan Wolftrax
There is an enchanting carving trail to follow, a great family activity taking you on a tour of the village. In fact,the village plays host to the popular Carve Carrbridge event each year towards the end of the summer and also the world famous World Porridge Making Championships not long after.
As far as outdoor activities goes, you really are spoilt for choice. The area is a mecca for adventure seekers. The Cairngorm Ski Centre near Aviemore is only half an hour away by car and the Lecht Ski Centre is just fifty minutes. In fact both Glenshee and Nevis Range ski centres are only around 90 minutes away. However, this is not all the area has to offer – from white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, zip lines, watersports at Loch Insh and Loch Morlich, quad bike trekking, clay pigeon shooting, karting, pony trekking, aerial adventures in the trees, and a variety of locations for open water swimming, you will never be short of things to do. We are particularly partial to a bit of outdoor swimming ourselves, there are so many beautiful spots for a dip!
For those not seeking such a big adrenaline rush there are plenty options, be it shopping in nearby Grantown, Aviemore or even Inverness, exploring the beautiful Moray coast or following the Malt Whisky Trail and other famous Speyside distilleries. Inverness not only offers shopping (check out the Victorian Market and Leakey’s bookshop) but also theatre, museums and an art gallery, Inverness Castle and cathedral, botanic gardens, a leisure centre and many visitor attractions nearby such as the Caledonian Canal and the Culloden Battlefield. The fishing is good in the area, with local Loch Vaa offering day or season passes, and we can also really recommend a visit to the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore – a great day out, one the kids will definitely enjoy and it’s free (donations at the door). Another favourite with children and adults is the Strathspey Steam Railway. Castles and historic buildings can be found nearby, for instance Ruthven Barracks south of Aviemore, and also further afield, such as Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness – watch out for Nessie!! A day trip to Balmoral Castle isn’t even out of the question.
Not to forget the amazing wildlife in the area. We are lucky enough to have red squirrels in the wood beside the house and if you are extremely lucky, you might be treated to the rare capercaillie. Other wild natives in the area include pine martens, deer, badgers and even the elusive Scottish wildcat. And the birdlife doesn’t stop at the capercaillie – from the small birds on our garden feeder to crossbills, crested tits, ospreys, golden eagles and ptarmigans in the hills, bird watchers will have plenty to see. Slightly less wild but no less exciting are the inhabitants of the Highland Wildlife Park at Kingussie. We also have the Reindeer Centre outside Aviemore and the RSPB reserve at Loch Garten, home to a pair of ospreys in the summer months. Again further afield, there is the opportunity to go dolphin watching on the Moray Firth not far from Inverness.
The list goes on and on. We have only managed to scratch the surface of what there is to do in the area, despite years of trying!!