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In mid-October we holidayed for a week in Kingussie, somewhere we have never stayed – in fact somewhere where, more usually, we pass on the A9 heading further north. We had a very nice 7-nights at the McInnes House Hotel, and recommend it when visiting the area around Cairngorm National Park. We walked or cycled each of our 6-days, and the area has lots to offer for – a week is not long enough.

 

Day-1: Glen Tromie

25-miles, grade hard-A

(Click the above map to open a Google Map of the route)

 

The route from Kingussie takes you past Ruthven Barracks.

The location of two castles before the barracks, the hill has been a defensive location since 1229.

Certainly worth a 20-minutes visit.

Just as you leave the road to cycle down the glen, you cross a bridge over a rather impressive gorge.

 

The track through the glen is a private road – access to walkers and cyclists only. The track is in excellent condition throughout, at least as far as Loch an t-Seilich. The weather on the outward leg was cloudy and cold – frost at the beginning!

 

The weather improved enormously, and by the time we were cycling back we had blue skys and sunshine. Glen Tromie is a beautiful glen, and an excellent, easy bike ride.

 

Day-2: The Lairig Ghru from the Sugar Bowl car park.

11-miles with 2300ft of ascent

(Click on the above map to open a Google Map of the route)

 

It was the only day of our holiday that we were able to see the summit of Cairngorm. The track from Sugar Bowl is the shortest route to Lairig Ghru. The track is largely in excellent condition, but the pass through the Chalamain Gap is a boulder-strewn hell!

Julie on route for the Chalamain Gap.

 

The Chalamain Gap: the pass into Lairig Ghru.

 

Through the gap and on to Lairig Ghru: the valley running to the left in the photo above.

 

Into Lairig Ghru.

 

 

On this side the water flow’s north to the River Spey.

 

Centre of Lairig Ghru. Waters a little further south of this point flow to the River Dee.

 

As with the previous day, the weather improved as the day progressed. But we still had to do the Chalamain Gap again!

 

Day-3: Cycling the Inshriach Forest.

19-miles, grade mild-B(72W)

(Click on the above map to open a Google Map of the route)

 

This cycle ride took us through a forest rich with fungi. There were also many good edible mushrooms, but we couldn’t harvest them so far from home!

Cairngorm steaming: the weather had changed – warmer and wetter.

 

At the half-way point there are some beautiful lochs.

 

Day-4: The Wildcat Walk

6-miles with 470ft of ascent

(Click on the above map to open a Google Map)

 

This is a fabulous walk. Way-marked the whole way, the route takes you through many different environments: much recommended!

The autumn woodland was beautiful.

 

The Wildcat Walk is a really lovely route. And more mushrooms – but still we couldn’t pick them!

 

Day-5: Glen Feshie bike ride

18-miles, grade hard-A(62W)

(Click on the above map to open a Google Map)

 

Glen Feshie (and Glen Tromie) is undergoing rewilding: lots of native trees, signs of pine martin and (we believe) Scottish wildcat live in these glens. Of the two glens, Glen Feshie is the most wild - and feels more remote.

 

The glen road is almost entirely tarmac.

 

The Feshie river has a very highland feel: more remote than the Tromie river.

 

Our turnaround point: this was as far along the glen you can go without wading the river.

The glen opens out into a wide expanse – it was very windy here.

 

Day-6: Creag Bheag

7-miles with 670ft of ascent

(Click on the above map to open a Google Map)

 

Our last day of the holiday, and it was sunny!

We did a walk from the hotel to the local summit.

 

Our walk first took us up Gynack Burn.

 

Ascending Creag Bheag, immediately north of Kingussie, and looking down to Loch Gynack.

 

The view east from Creag Bheag, towards Cairngorm and Insh Marshes; flood-plain of the River Spay.

 

Having descended Creag Bheag we continued our walk west towards Newtonmore.

 

From Newtonmore looking east, back towards Creag Bheag.

 

We were quite surprised by the variety of walking and cycling options around Kingussie and Newtonmore.

We had an excellent holiday!