Aviemore and the Cairngorms National Park is world renowned for its stunning scenery and abundance of nature and non-stop adventure. There is a plethora of activities and attractions available in the area, from castles, whisky and gin distilleries, wildlife watching, star gazing, Scottish history, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, skiing, golf, zip lining, quad biking, trail running, windsurfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, wild swimming and fishing.
Without having to leave the vicinity of the Rowan Tree, you can watch nature on your doorstep. We have a resident stoat, who pops his head out from our drystone wall. From our garden swifts, swallows and house martins can be seen nesting under our eaves in summer and the buzz of bumble bees can be heard on our snowberry bushes and pine trees. The Rowan Tree has resident honey bees (away from the vicinity of the hotel) who appreciate all the flowers in the area. If you sit quietly on our terrace you may be fortunate enough to spot the Ospreys from the near-by wetlands or a red squirrel jumping around in the pine trees. We leave a large area of our garden dedicated to wildlife, which the insects thoroughly enjoy and it brings in the birds to feast on them.
If you fancy some wild swimming away from the crowds, Loch Alvie is a short stroll across the field. Slightly further afield are the famous and beautiful Loch Insh and Loch Morlich, where you can enjoy the tranquillity, plus test your balance with stand-up paddle boarding, or participate in other water sports, such as windsurfing, sailing and canoeing.
Short walks from the hotel include a stroll down to Loch Alvie, which can be turned into a longer walk up the stunning Monadhliath corbett, Geal-Charn Mor (about 4 hours) or up to Lochan Dubh and then onto Craigellachie Nature Reserve (2 hours) with beautiful views over Loch Alvie and Spey River. As well as Loch Alvie for a spot of bird watching, the wetlands behind the hotel, Bogach, are perfect for seeing Ospreys, grey herons and sandpipers. Heading in the direction of Lower Kinrara Estate and up to Torr Alvie, take in a spot of history with the Waterloo Cairn and the Duke of Gordon’s monument, which protrudes from Torr Alvie and can be seen from all over the area. A walk up Torr Alvie, will take you about 1 and a half hours.
We are lucky to have a hill walker’s paradise on our doorstep, with the Cairngorms National Park boasting over 50 Munros to choose from. A few of our favourites within easy reach of the hotel include Cairn Gorm, Ben Macdui (Britain’s 2nd highest mountain), Sgor Gaoith, A’Chailleach, and Braeriach to name just a few! All offer the opportunity to enjoy the wide-open spaces, truly stunning scenery and all that mother nature has to offer. We also welcome many guests setting out on the famous Lairig Ghru.
If you are keen to explore the local area without your car, then there is a beautiful circular walk or mountain bike of about 18 miles along the Speyside Way, towards Aviemore. Enjoy the unique sight of Loch an Eilein, with its beautiful still glass like waters and the 14th century mystical castle on the island. From here, you can make your way through Inshriach forest, past Jake’s Bothy which makes a lovely stop to enjoy a picnic (which we’ll be happy to prepare for you) and then on to Feshie Bridge. Here you can see the natural pools, take a refreshing dip in the fast flowing waters if you wish and then head on to Kincraig. The Boat House at Loch Insh and the Art House Café both provide an excellent refreshment stops, with beautiful views of Loch Insh. From Kincraig head back along the Speyside way, with stunning views over the Spey River, you might be lucky to see a grey heron. When you get to Torr Alvie and the Kinrara estate, head under the railway bridge and then follow the path alongside the road for a short but enchanting walk up to the Rowan Tree.
For a more challenging Mountain Bike, off the beaten path you can head up the Burma Road into the Mondhliath, towards Carrbridge from the hotel. It is a mixture of long climbs, awesome descents with some sections of flowy single track on the Carrbridge side. The route is about 27 miles and takes around 4 hours depending on your pace. An awesome opportunity to get into the countryside and enjoy some stunning views over the Cairngorms and you might even see some mountain hare. We can have ample bike storage here as well as bike washing facilities.
If natural history is on your agenda, then we are just along the road from the Highland Wildlife Park, which is a safari park and zoo, where you can see animals under conservation from local wildlife, the Scottish WildCat and from further afield, tigers and polar bears.
The Cairngorm’s also host the UK’s only wild reindeer herd at the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre
They offer daily visits up the hill to feed the deer or for a quicker visit they have deer and a plenty of information at the centre in Glenmore.
For the adventure seeker there are plenty of outdoor activities at Alvie Estate and Rothiemurchus. Including quad biking, archery, clay pigeon shooting, zip trekking, horse riding, fishing, canyoning, white water rafting, gorge walking and ski touring amongst may others.
No trip to the Highlands is complete without sampling some of our local drinks! Being in the Speyside area, we are blessed with many distilleries within easy access. The Snug in Aviemore features award winning Whisky from the famous Speyside distillery and the Dalwhinnie and Tomatin distilleries are within a short drive. The Kinrara distillery offering award winning gin is also a pleasant stroll from the hotel and well worth a visit. We feature over 50 whiskies and 30 gins to sample in our small but well stocked bar with most of them being from the local area. We also feature craft lager and beer from the Cairngorm brewery in Aviemore.