When planning a break away one of the key decisions is accommodation. The Cairngorms National Park has a wide range of places to stay so, wherever you lay your head, there is sure to be something to cater for all tastes and budgets.
What’s On takes a look at some of the more unusual, quirky accommodation on offer.
For many, the great outdoors means CAMPING. But ‘under canvas’ takes on many guises. For example, Ecocamp Glenshee offers a range of pods of the wooden variety. Think of these as warm secure tents, well heated, insulated and with lighting. Or opt for a bell tent complete with wood burner stove and double bed with memory foam mattress; a shepherd’s hut with lots of vintage touches or a yurt with Turkmeni décor and lanterns. Families and groups are catered for with yurts sleeping 4 while a 20ft yurt is ideal for larger gatherings or parties. Why not bring out the child in you and stay in a wigwam? Modern well equipped wigwams or camping cabins, for up to 4 people, plus all the normal campsite facilities can be rented at Badaguish Centre near Aviemore or Lagganlia Camp Huts alongside the river at Feshiebridge. The wigwams are fitted with robust wooden sleeping platforms providing comfortable overnight accommodation alongside outdoor activity centre facilities.
For those who appreciate a touch of luxury as part of their camping experience the concept of glamping will appeal. At Aviemore Glamping you could stay in one of four new eco-pods which sleep two people in a small but perfectly formed space with en-suite wet room, WC, shower and wash hand basin. There is also tea and coffee making facilities, a small fridge and a large communal outdoors area where you can sit or have a barbecue.
For sheer romance and nostalgia, why not try a gypsy caravan? Situated in a traditional caravan park at Glentruim near Newtonmore you will find static 14ft Bowtop Gypsy Caravans for rent during the summer season. But the accolade for the most unusual camping accommodation must go to a converted railway coach. Cromdale Camping Coach, situated at the former village station, is a testament to the workmanship of the time (the carriage was built in 1916). Ideal for four people, the original three 3rd class compartments have been modified to create a bathroom and sleeping areas with the emphasis on comfort and warmth.
If you like music with your camping why not snap up a ticket for the Stopover Festival taking place at Rothiemurchus, Aviemore on 31 July/1 August. Featuring Mumford & Sons and a host of other acts, weekend camping tickets at £129 includes entry to the festival. Revel in the full Stopover experience with onsite camping in a prime location with incredible views.
Perhaps you are devotee of HOSTELS? A hostel makes a perfect base whether travelling alone or as part of a group. The Park boasts a good variety of hostels and bunkhouses; check out some options at www.visitcairngorms.com/hostels The Smugglers is a four star 20-bed hostel and, located in the village of Tomintoul, it can claim to be the ‘Highest Hostel in the Scottish Highlands’. Or how about a former hunting lodge frequented by Victorian royalty? Mar Lodge, situated in an enormous area of wilderness, offers bunkhouse accommodation in the former stable block as well as beautifully appointed cottages.
LOG CABINS and CHALETS are always popular. Couples seeking a romantic retreat with sustainability at its heart will be interested in two log cabins. Winner of the first Cairngorms National Park Design Award, the Woodman’s Hut in Nethy Bridge is an imaginative interpretation of a simple log hut in the woods. A large log burning stove and candle lanterns add a soft glow to the romantic atmosphere. Charmingly you can even chill your wine in the bubbling stream! Modelled on the Woodsman’s Hut, the nearby Duck’s Nest is a delightful, unique 2 person lodge with added modern conveniences. Perhaps a loch side setting with amenities close by appeals? Log chalets overlooking scenic Loch Insh provide a relaxing or invigorating break for individuals, couples, families and groups. Loch Insh Chalets are secluded yet have facilities on site including watersports and a restaurant.
UNIQUE SELF CATERING accommodation can be defined by their sheer individuality. Consider a self-contained unit with a turf topped roof. Totally secluded, yet only 3 miles from the village of Kincraig is Tigh Tuithe. Meaning “house with a grass roof” the property at Glenfeshie is built into the hillside and leads to a burn with trout and otters. And how about a house on stilts? Suitable for a larger group, The Treehouse, in Boat of Garten, is a unique self-catering lodge, set in almost an acre of mature pine and birch woodland, And who would turn down the chance to stay in a castle? Glentruim Castle retains its traditional character while offering elegant surroundings and luxury accommodation. Built in the 1840s Glentruim near Newtonmore sleeps up to fifteen guests and provides a flavour of an authentic Highland Estate with sumptuous elegance and luxurious home comforts. Continuing with distinctive properties that provide extra special touches, check out traditional, luxury self-catering from Great North Lodges. Catering for all party sizes (>2 and 23>) the charmingly named properties, in splendid locations, range from the immense Highland Lodge Estate and Mountain Bear Lodge to smaller but equally appealing properties such as Otter Pool Lodge. Most of the lodges have wood burners and outside Hot Tubs; many have luxury extras such as saunas or outdoor plunge pool.
So, there you have it; a variety of visitor accommodation in the Park. In addition, there is a plethora of welcoming B & Bs, self-catering country cottages, large houses, family run guesthouses and comfortable hotels.
See over 700 options at www.visitcairngorms.com So whether you opt for traditional or something a little out of the ordinary; slow the pace, stay a while; relax and enjoy.