Kingussie is a lively traditional town in the Cairngorms National Park, full of art galleries, locally owned shops and hardy shinty players. This is the birthplace of Scotland’s national game, where the Camanachd Association was formed in 1893, and stories and songs inspired by exploits on the shinty field spill from homes and pubs across the town.
A perfect Highland base for the outdoor enthusiast, Kingussie is a major stopping off point on the Speyside Way and a multitude of other walking and cycling routes can be easily accessed from the town. A mix of longer, tougher routes alongside some less serious outings means that everyone is catered for, and there will always be rewarding views of the striking Cairngorms and Monadhliath mountain ranges regardless of the direction of travel.
Historic settlements and sporting celebrations
The ruins of 18th century Ruthven Barracks, found just outside Kingussie, are located on the site of Badenoch’s main settlement in Pictish times. Later, during the 14th century, Ruthven was also home to a castle, which was once the stronghold of Alexander Stewart, the infamous Wolf of Badenoch.
With the Jacobites long gone, these imposing former Government barracks now keep watch over part of Insh Marshes Nature Reserve, a haven for nature lovers who will enjoy spotting the birdlife that this internationally important wetland area attracts. Along the road is the Highland Wildlife Park which is owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. With polar bears and wolves among the main attractions, the park offers a fun day out for all the family.
No visit to a Speyside town would be complete without the sampling of a local dram, and the SPEY single malt whisky that’s distilled near Kingussie is extra special thanks to its location in an old stone-built barley mill. For maximum appreciation, sup the dram from the side lines at The Dell, the training grounds of Kingussie’s incredibly successful shinty team. Here, enthusiastic locals will no doubt share tales of their friendly on field rivalry with neighbouring town Newtonmore.