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.

Skiing

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.

Walking and Cycling

Cromdale Station and the cottage at Boat of Garten are situated in perfect locations for walking and cycling.

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.

The Anagach Woods in Grantown has mountain bike trails for different levels of ability.

In Boat of Garten, the cottage backs on to Deshar Woods trails popular for walking and cycling and is also very close to a newly developed pump track. Another popular walking route only a few miles away is around Loch Garten and Loch Mallachie, home to osprey and an RSPB nature reserve.

Attractions

Landmark forest adventure park is at Carrbridge, 3 miles away. Numbers in the park are limited at the moment and tickets must be booked in advance. The RSPB Visitor centre at Loch Garten is about 3 miles in the other direction.

The Highland Wildlife Park and Highland Folk Museum are on the road to Kingussie and Newtownmore. Twelve miles north is the historic town of Grantown-on-Spey.

There are several providers of a range of outdoor activities including Craggan Outdoors near Grantown and just beyond Aviemore is the Rothiemurchus estate. There are various lochs including Loch Morlich and Loch Insch where it is possible to do watersports and hire equipment. There are also year round activities at the Cairngorm Mountain.

Speyside is also famous for its distilleries, some of which provide tours including Caorunn distillery in Cromdale which produces gin. Contact prior to visiting to check whether they are open.

Useful links:

www.caorunngin.com

www.spiritofspeyside.com/visit/distilleries

www.landmarkpark.co.uk/

https://rothiemurchus.net/

https://www.lochmorlich.com/

https://www.highlandwildlifepark.org.uk/

https://www.highlifehighland.com/highlandfolkmuseum/

https://cragganoutdoors.co.uk/activities/

For information about other attractions and what’s on in the local area visit: https://visitcairngorms.com/whatson

There is also a tourist information centre in Aviemore which is open from 10-3pm and you can also call

for information on (01479) 810930.

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