Cairngorm Discovery

Family adventure tour of the Grampians, getting under the skin of the Highlands

Go hiking up Ben Rinnes and experience your own piece of Scottish history at a local woolen mill and weave your own piece of cloth; cycle through Abernethy woods - an RSPB reserve and prime example of Caledonian pine forests; conquer Cairngorm and thrown your own pot as a memento of your visit. All these adventures tied together from Fraoch Lodge which will be your home base. Your hosts are Andy, Rebecca and wee Gregor - we'll treat you as our own family and feed you lots of culinary delights made from quality local produce, including from our own garden, in season


4 nights accommodation at Fraoch Lodge
3 days of activities
Bike hire included
All meals included at Fraoch Lodge
Transport to activities included
Guided hike up Ben Rinnes and activities at Knockando Woolen Mill
Guided hike up Cairngorm (Britain's 6th highest peak)
Maps for self-guided biking
Pick up from Aviemore station


Transport to Scotland
Travel insurance - make sure your policy covers trips in the UK
Personal expenses such as alcohol


Not suitable for children under 5

Please note

This trip is open to a minimum booking of 2 adults.

Accommodation throughout the tour is at Fraoch Lodge, our home base. We have designed Fraoch Lodge to be a comfortable family home run by a family of outdoor and travel enthusiasts for like-minded people. We don't offer TVs in all the rooms and make no apologies for this policy. We enjoy chatting with our guests and hope you enjoy sharing your experiences with us.

o Waterproof jacket (old one if you have it for self-arrest) - a
duvet jacket is no substitute.
o Waterproof trousers/sallopetes (avoid Paclite Gortex if you can
as it isn’t robust enough - we have spare overtrousers to put over
the top if need be)
o Gaiters - essential to prevent snow getting in and hence wet
o Head torch (plus spare batteries)
o Walking Poles (optional)
o Ruck sack - minimum 30 litres
o Rucsac liner e.g ‘rubble’ bag
o Fleece jacket/tops including one thick one for putting on at
o Warm Hat
o Warm Gloves (& adequate spare if on Snow-holing Expedition)
o Fleece Neck Gaiter
o Warm trousers (not jeans and not made of cotton, preferably
fleece or salopettes). A combination of thermal underwear,
walking trousers and waterproof breathable overtrousers works
o Walking socks
o Sun block (optional)
o Ski goggles - double lens, anti-fog (essential - sun glasses
aren’t adequate). For those who normally wear glasses you
may want to consider contact lenses. Anticipate wearing contact
lenses for 8hrs plus alternatively you might want to spray your
glasses with de-mister.
o Sunglasses (optional)
o Water bottle & flask (thermos) preferable
o Thermal underwear

Any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

There are numerous extensions which can be added to this trip:
you could try some water sports: river tubing, canoeing with dolphins, canyoning
or have a go at the Aviemore Zip Wire
try fly fishing
visit Loch Ness
take a distillery tour, learn how to make a whisky barrel
Just use your imagination ...

Full itinerary

Day of Arrival
You arrive to a warm welcome at Fraoch Lodge on evening before walking begins; try to aim for between 5 & 7pm so that you have time to settle in and meet the other members of the group before a lovely home cooked evening meal at 8.00 pm.

Day 1:
Morning: Isolated from the main mass of Cairngorm peaks, Ben Rinnes forms a prominent landmark.Commanding glorious views all around and out across the Moray Firth to the distant hills of Ross, Sutherland and Caithness, it’s bold outline forms a worthy challenge for any aspiring young mountain climber! We climb along the spine to reach its airy summit and panoramic vistas to distant peaks. You may be lucky enough to spot a rare Ptarmigan creeping among the rocks. We descend pass bizarre granite tors and “meadows” of cloudberries and springy mossy tundra to complete this circuit in wild and open country.

10km (6 miles) with 600m of ascent on good tracks and mountain paths with a little rough ground. 4 hrs of walking excluding breaks

We visit a historic Woollen Mill. Cited as 'internationally significant', these A-listed buildings have been producing fabrics such as the traditional tweed since 1784! Now fully renovated, working and power by a water wheel, the A-listed Victorian textile machinery is a fantastic example of what once was.

Here you learn how to make your own tweed! First the afternoon starts with a tour of the mill to see all the different processes and what the various machines do. We then pop into the mill café for afternoon refreshments before we roll up are sleeves and get stuck in. We start with the process of carding where we blend different coloured wool fibres together as well as teasing out the fleece into smoother fibres. Then by making and using drop spindles (which you can take away with you) we spin the wool before then weaving you very own sample of tweed which of course you can take away.

For adults with an interest in malt whisky, there is the alternative option of doing a tour and tasting at a nearby whisky distillery (though 1 adult/legal guardian must remain with any children). This involves a guided tour of the whisky making process and short history followed by a tutored nosing and tasting of 5 of their single malts.

Wildlife Hide Dusk watch – this is you chance to see Britain’s second rarest mammal, the Pine Martin at very close quarters, along with Badgers, Red Deer and Wood Mice. Roe Deer and a Tawny Owl are also regular visitors. It’s a late night, returning back to Fraoch Lodge between 10 & 11pm but one that has been thoroughly enjoyed by all we’ve taken there. It’s been described by some as sensational!

Day 2:
Self-guided: After the previous late night you have the opportunity for a bit of a lie-in and a late Breakfast. It’s then just a short trip down the road to catch the Strathspey Steam Train with your Mountain Bikes for the short but beautiful train ride to Broomhill station. Experiencing rail travel of a bygone age, the views are spectacular; out over the silver ribbon of the River Spey, across fields to the ancient pine forests and the backdrop of the high Cairngorm Mountains. You drop down on a quiet lane to cross the River Spey on an old wooden trestle bridge before running parallel with the River Nethy to Nethybridge and a chance to have a break on it’s banks. You then enter the RSPB’s National Nature Reserve of Abernethy on the Speyside Way. Meandering on good forestry tracks and paths, the route brings you to the shores of stunning Loch Garten for a picnic lunch and views to the hills. It’s then just a short ride to the Osprey hide to get the latest on the coming and goings at the nest as well as a chance to see Red Squirrels. From here you rejoining the Speyside Way and heading back to Fraoch Lodge for Cake O’Clock and one of Rebecca’s delicious home cooked meals.

The route is a little undulating but relatively flat.

Day 3:
Morning: At over 4000ft high Cairngorm is Britain’s 6th highest peak but with the starting point being already at over 2000ft it’s not a particularly difficult climb. You could well spot Ptarmigan, Snow Bunting and Mountain Hare. The view across the plateau into the high interior of the Cairngorms National Park is stunning taking in our 2nd, 3rd, 4thand 5th highest peaks. The vistas though often extent far beyond Cairngorm’s neighbours. To the east you have the mountain wilderness of Ben A’an & Ben a’ Bhuiridh and to the west you can sometimes see as far as Ben Nevis, some 56 miles distant.

6.5km (4 miles) with 600m of ascent on good mountain paths with some descents over relatively steep gradients. 3 hrs of walking excluding breaks.

The afternoon activity provides a chance to sit down and rest the weary legs at a potters wheel! Learn how to hand throw your own pot at a beautifully situated local pottery. Penny is on hand to help you get started. There is the opportunity to then have it glazed and fired by Penny’s expert hand and posted to your home or alternatively you may want to purchase some of Penny’s wonderful work. It’s then back to Fraoch Lodge for a mug of tea, home baking and another of Rebecca’s delicious meals.

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