Cromdale is an excellent centre for exploring the Highland Railway and the remains of the Great North ofScotland Railway.
From Aviemore, mainline trains can be taken south to Perth and north to Inverness, and it is also the headquarters of the Strathspey Railway who operate steam trains to Boat of Garten and Broomhill. Ultimately their plan is to extend the line to Grantown-on-Spey to a rebuild around the location of the HR’s Grantown-on-Spey West original station. From there it is possible to trace much of the original line to Forresusing the Dava Way. This was the original main line to Inverness.
Similarly, much of the Great North of Scotland’s Speyside Line can be traced on the Speyside Way, starting from Boat of Garten. The station at Grantown-on-Spey East has recently been restored and converted, nowknown as ‘The Highland Heritage and Cultural Centre’. It includes 2 Mk1 British Railways carriages whichare now used as a restaurant. The Centre is open all year round, each day from 10.00 am. Further up the line there are several other station buildings which have survived.
From Cromdale, it is possible to trace the line of the former distillery branch to Balmenach, a mile or two towards the Cromdale Hills. The 0-4-0 Barclay steam locomotive which operated the line (the Puggy) is in the yard at Boat of Garten. Balmenach Distillery itself holds guided tours for its ‘Caorunn Gin Experience’.
Further to the east, at Dufftown can be found another heritage centre – Keith and Dufftown Railway whooperate trains, mainly diesel multiple units along their 11 mile stretch close to the river Isla.
Other railway centres of interest are obviously Inverness, Elgin and Aberdeen.
Despite gloomy predictions some years ago, Scottish ski centres have in recent years enjoyed good winter skiconditions. The Cairngorm Ski Centre is approximately 25 miles from Cromdale Station, and operates the funicular railway to the mountain top from which there is a choice of runs. This operates all year round andis available to non-skiers for use of the restaurant and guided walks.
The smaller ski centre at the Lecht is approximately 22 miles away, and has particularly good facilities for beginners, and child skiers.
Their centre is also open all year round and offers downhill mountain biking from the chairlifts.
One of the finest long distance walks, the Speyside Way, passes right through the platform of CromdaleStation. To the west are excellent walks in the Anagach Woods and to the east is the hill of Tom-an-Aird.
The station also provides an excellent starting point for the Cromdale Hills situated to the south and offering several miles of fine walks including the site of the Battle of Cromdale and the Coronation and Jubilee Cairns.
The Dava Way starts at Grantown-on-Spey and passes over the bleak and mystical Dava Moor and a wonderful stone viaduct to Forres.