Are you going to Tour Scotland?


Blog

Scotland Travel Blog March 2018

"Cairngorm Curiosities"

We’re big fans of the Cairngorms National Park. The vast expanse of Scots Pine forest gives you a sense of how much of Scotland would once have looked before the countryside was denuded by the combined effects of sheep farming and hunting estates. When you walk amongst these majestic trees, it’s hard not to feel that Scotland would be an even more spectacular country if we could just bring the old woodlands back.

For most Scots, the Cairngorms is a place that you go to for outdoor activities. Aviemore is Scotland’s main ski resort and it had a growth spurt in the 1970’s / 80’s when lots of hotels and services sprung up to cater for winter sports visitors. This does mean that the architecture of the buildings in Aviemore is a rather soulless mish mash of modern concrete blocks juxtaposed with a few Victorian survivors. But you don’t come to the Cairngorms to visit Aviemore, you come here to go mountain biking, white water rafting, off road driving, mountain hiking etc. There’s no shortage of activities and attractions in this area, but the Cairngorms also has interest for visitors who don’t need an adrenaline fix and we’re going to show you some of the regions lesser known curiosities.

Alvie Kirk - Our first suggestion might not give you an adrenaline rush in the conventional sense, but if you have a bit of the “sixth sense” you might feel your pulse quicken as there is something a bit “mystical” about Alvie Kirk. The church stands in a small cluster of trees on an isthmus of land between Loch Alvie and the smaller Loch Beag. The setting is quiet and has that sort of magical quality that tells you this has been a place of worship long before Christianity came here. But the thing that makes Alvie Kirk really interesting is the mystery of the mass grave of 150 bodies that was discovered under the church during renovation works in the 1880’s. The bodies were neatly arranged lying head to head and it is thought that they were victims of some battle that history has long since forgotten.

Alvie Kirk near Aviemore

Delfour Stone Circle - We first found out about Delfour stone circle when pouring over some Ordnance Survey maps to work out routes for a walk to Cluny’s Cave (but that’s another story). To use the correct archaeological; terminology, this site is a “Clava ring cairn”, however, it doesn’t look much like the cairns at Clava. This is maybe because the stones of the original cairns were removed over the years for other building purposes. There is an “entrance” to the stone circle and in front of the entrance stands a solitary stone which is ~10 foot high. It isn’t the most impressive of neolithic sites, but very few people know about it so you’ll most likely be the only visitors and that’s the sort of place that we like.

Panoramic picture of Dalfour stone circle

Porter’s Lodge - If you want to live in a castle, but only have the budget for a small cottage, Porter’s Lodge could be the solution to your ambitions. The lodge is a gatehouse for the Ballindalloch estate and hundreds of people drive past it everyday on the A95 but never even notice it as it sits back from the road in a leafy riverside hollow. The lodge is a small, but perfectly formed castle complete with turrets, ramparts and loopholes for firing your musket at visitors. The building currently sits unoccupied, but we reckon the owners would be fully booked out if they converted it into a self catering holiday let.

Porters Lodge by River Avon

Inveravon Pictish Stones - We’ve previously written a blog about the Picts and the mystery of how such a dominant Scottish culture seems to have ended so suddenly. One thing we do know about the Picts is that they were great craftsmen and they have left us with a legacy of beautiful stone carvings, such as the ones found at Inveravon Kirk near Ballindalloch. The Picts had a form of written language and their carvings have a repertoire of 40 different motifs, which are usually combined in pairs. The meaning of these symbols is lost and historians can only speculate on their purpose. The carvings at Inveravon are interesting as they represent different styles and levels of craftsmanship. Archaeologists have suggested that the varying levels of craftsmanship may be the result of the decline in the Pictish tradition of stone carving, but then it might just be because one guy was a bit drunk when he did it… who knows?

Inveravon Pictish stones on display at Inveravon Kirk

Inveravon Kirk and graveyard

Lochan Uaine - Relative to the other places mentioned above, Lochan Uaine is not a secret spot and there is even a mountain bike trail that leads up to it so you can expect to share this beauty spot with others. However, we would recommend that you exert a little bit more effort and walk to the lochan via an alternative forest trail that climbs steadily uphill from a starting point behind the Reindeer Centre at Loch Morlich. The path is quite easy to follow as it is marked with blue painted posts. If you follow this trail, you get magnificent views over the Glenmore forest towards the Cairngorm mountain plateau. You then descend on a meandering trail that picks its way round sturdy Scots Pine Trees before arriving at the shores of Lochan Uaine.The whole hike is stunning, but the highlight of the walk will be your first glimpse of Lochan Uaine and its unusual jade green tinted waters bordered pine trees. Some say that the green colour comes from the “little people” washing their clothes in the water… Aye right!

Glenmore Forest trail leading to Lochan Uaine

Path through Scots Pines to Lochan Uaine

Lochan Uaine - the Green Loch where the fairies wash their clothes.

More Articles ...

  1. Scotland Travel Blog October 2017
  2. Scotland Travel Blog September 2017
  3. Scotland Travel Blog August 2017
  4. Scotland Travel Blog July 2017
  5. Scotland Travel Blog June 2017
  6. Scotland Travel Blog April 2017
  7. Scotland Travel Blog March 2017
  8. Scotland Travel Blog February 2017
  9. Scotland Travel Blog December 2016
  10. Scotland Travel Blog November 2016
  11. Scotland Travel Blog October 2016
  12. Scotland Travel Blog September 2016
  13. Scotland Travel Blog August 2016
  14. Scotland Travel Blog July 2016
  15. Scotland Travel Blog May 2016
  16. Scotland Travel Blog March 2016
  17. Scotland Travel Blog February 2016
  18. Scotland Travel Blog November 2015
  19. Scotland Travel Blog September 2015
  20. Scotland Travel Blog August 2015
  21. Scotland Travel Blog July 2015
  22. Scotland Travel Blog June 2015
  23. Scotland Travel Blog May 2015
  24. Scotland Travel Blog April 2015
  25. Scotland Travel Blog March 2015
  26. Scotland Travel Blog February 2015
  27. Scotland Travel Blog January 2015
  28. Scotland Travel Blog December 2014
  29. Scotland Travel Blog October 2014
  30. Scotland Travel Blog September 14
  31. Scotland Travel Blog July 2014
  32. Scotland Travel Blog June 2014
  33. Scotland Travel Blog February 2014
  34. Scotland Travel Blog December 2013
  35. Scotland Travel Blog November 2013
  36. Scotland Travel Blog October 2013
  37. Scotland Travel Blog September 2013
  38. Scotland Travel Blog July 2013
  39. Scotland Travel Blog June 2013
  40. Scotland Travel Blog April 2013
  41. Scotland Travel Blog February 2013
  42. Scotland Travel Blog January 2013
  43. Scotland Travel Blog December 2012
  44. Scotland Travel Blog October 2012
  45. Scotland Travel Blog August 2012
  46. Scotland Travel Blog July 2012
  47. Scotland Travel Blog May 2012
  48. Scotland Travel Blog April 2012
  49. Scotland Travel Blog March 2012
  50. Scotland Travel Blog January 2012
  51. Scotland Travel Blog November 11
  52. Scotland Travel Blog September 11 - The Orkneys
  53. Scotland Travel Blog August 11
  54. Scotland Travel Blog July 11
  55. Scotland Travel Blog June 11
  56. Scotland Travel Blog April 11
  57. Scotland Travel Blog March 11
  58. Scotland Travel Blog February 11
  59. Scotland Travel Blog December 10
  60. Scotland Travel Blog October 10
  61. Scotland Travel Blog August 10
  62. Scotland Travel Blog July 10
  63. Scotland Travel Blog June 10
  64. Scotland Travel Blog May 10
  65. Scotland Travel Blog April 10
  66. Scotland Travel Blog March 10
  67. Scotland Travel Blog January 10
  68. Scotland Travel Blog December 09
  69. Scotland Travel Blog November 09
  70. Scotland Travel Blog October 09
  71. Scotland Travel Blog September 09
  72. Scotland Travel Blog August 09
  73. Scotland Travel Blog July 09
  74. Scotland Travel Blog June 09
  75. Scotland Travel Blog May 09
  76. Scotland Travel Blog April 09
  77. Scotland Travel Blog March 09
  78. Scotland Travel Blog February 09
  79. Scotland Travel Blog September 08
  80. Scotland Travel Blog November 08
  81. Scotland Travel Blog August 08
  82. Scotland Travel Blog July 08
  83. Scotland Travel Blog June 08
  84. Scotland Travel Blog April 08
  85. Scotland Travel Blog March 08
  86. Scotland Travel Blog February 08
  87. Scotland Travel Blog January 08
  88. Scotland Travel Blog December 07
  89. Scotland Travel Blog November 07
  90. Scotland Travel Blog October 07
  91. Scotland Travel Blog September 07
  92. Scotland Travel Blog August 07
  93. Scotland Travel Blog July 07
  94. Scotland Travel Blog June 07
  95. Scotland Travel Blog May 07
  96. Scotland Travel Blog April 07
  97. Scotland Travel Blog March 07
  98. Scotland Travel Blog February 07
  99. Scotland Travel Blog January 07
PlayVideo

Browse Scotland Tours

Browse Our Scotland Tours to find an Itinerary for a route that matches your interests and schedule.

To quickly and easily find the tour you want, use our Tour Wizard.

Customized Tours

Tell us what you want and we will create a Customized Scotland Tour just for you!

Money Back Guarantee

Full refund if you are not satisfied with our service.

Testimonials

Read what Clients say about Secret Scotland on Facebook, Tripadvisor and in their Blogs

View Testimonials

Good Stuff

Save 10% on Car Hire when you Buy a Secret Scotland Tour

More about Car Hire Discounts

Authored on Google+