Newtonmore is often referred to by its relationship with other things: it’s the village closest to the centre of Scotland, it marks the end (or beginning) of the Speyside way, and it is home to the much-loved Highland Folk Museum. These points of interest are undoubtedly worthy of your attention, but so too are the attractions of a village long eponymous with its famous shinty team.
As one of the gateways to Badenoch and Strathspey, the village is surrounded by vast landscapes that boast a rich cultural heritage and natural history. Travelling north through this country, the towns of Kingussie, Kincraig, Aviemore and Carrbridge mark the meandering route of the famous River Spey. Set against the backdrop of the mighty Cairngorms, these welcoming communities are renowned for numerous attractions in the great outdoors – both summer and winter.
Walking in summer, skiing in winter
The 10km waymarked walk that encircles Newtonmore offers magnificent views of the Cairngorms to the east and the Monadhliath Mountains to the west. This is Monarch of the Glen country, named after the BBC TV series of that name, and while the traditional sport of shinty is at the heart of village culture, there are many more gentle pursuits such as golfing and fishing to enjoy locally too.
In the mountains east and north, walkers revel in the vast open spaces. This is a land of ptarmigan and capercaillie, crossbills and ospreys, where the woodland and mountain walks attract bird lovers from far and wide. Visitors to the many villages of Strathspey also discover a breath-taking variety of outdoor activities on the doorstep – everything from skiing and snowboarding to cycling, pony trekking, rafting and other water sports. But it’s not all outdoor-offroad action, cultural activities are on offer here too. Most recently at Loch Insh, where the old Ptarmigan Restaurant, moved down from the heights of the Cairngorm ski resort, has been repurposed as a new indoor venue for evenings of music and storytelling.