Highland Shepherd Huts: Image Catriona Parmenter


Coorie up in the Cairngorms

The Scots equivalent of the Scandinavian ‘hygge’ is ‘coorie’. It means to snuggle up and ‘nestle’ in a cosy spot… the perfect pastime in the Cairngorms after you’ve had some fresh air!

Hidden Highland Retreats/David Garcia

Coorie as a word has undergone a resurgence in popularity, in no small part thanks to the best-selling book The Art of Coorie. Its author Gabriella Bennett spent some time researching in the Cairngorms and told What’s On:

“The Cairngorms offers something really special – frozen lochs in which to swim, and plenty of convivial pubs to warm up with a dram in after. It’s that contrast that brings the spirit of coorie alive, and I can’t think of anywhere that does it better than the Cairngorms.”

Here are a few ideas to get your ‘coorie’ on in the Cairngorms:


Downie’s Cottage, Braemar

The Park is full of gorgeous cosy hideaways, like log cabins, wooden chalets and bothies, set in the midst of nature with star-filled dark skies.

There’s Downie’s Cottage, for example, which sits above Braemar, and boasts a roaring fire, huge bathtub and sauna – can’t get more coorie than that after the hike up there! Or ‘Coorie’ a Highland Shepherd Hut nestled in the forest at Nethy Bridge where you can sit on the deck with a fire pit and take in the stars.

Why not check out our blog on the best cosy cottages on visitcairngorms.com for accommodation inspiration?


Bertie’s Bar, The Fife Arms, Braemar

There’s no better way to warm up than clutching a hot drink, mug of soup or a warming dram of whisky, next to a roaring fire. 

Speyside whisky is world renowned and The Spirit of Speyside festival takes place in early November. Check out our What’s On Guide listings for events.

But, whenever you visit, drinking a dram in one of our whisky bars, or distilleries, is a memorable experience. For example, 5 star hotel The Fife Arms, in Braemar, has just opened a dedicated whisky bar, called Bertie’s, and Macdonald Aviemore Resort’s Laggan Whisky & Cocktail Bar is also a favourite. The Old Bridge Inn, in Aviemore, is even described by one visitor as “whisky heaven”!


VisitScotland, open water swimming at Loch Morlich

Winter swimming is getting increasingly popular because of the ‘buzz’ it gives you; the cosy contrast between the cold water and a warm atmosphere afterwards is coorie at its best. 

For the experienced cold water swimming enthusiasts we recommend a swim* in Loch Morlich followed by a hot drink in the Pine Marten Bar + Scran afterwards, enjoyed next to its wood burner where they serve an impressive hot choc with marshmallows too.

*Cold water swimming can be dangerous if adequate safety precautions are not taken – please ensure you do this sport safely and in company, hiring a guide if you are unsure.


Crown Estate, cafe at Bike Glenlivet

There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get from whizzing down the mountain on a bike and then entering, red cheeked, into a welcoming cafe afterwards for a warming drink. Obviously, we do not recommend having a dram if you plan to continue riding (that could lead to a crash not coorie!) but there are some wonderful cafes on cycle routes in the Cairngorms. 

For instance, the Old Post Office Cafe in Kincraig, which was awarded runner up in UK Cycling’s ‘Cyclist Cafe of the Year’ during lockdown. Or if you want to be right next to the action, there’s a charming cafe at the foot of the Bike Glenlivet trails (incidentally the sister cafe of the popular Nethy House). Why not check out our ‘cycle friendly cafes’ blog on www.visitcairngorms.com?


Strathspey SUP

Perhaps the idea of plunging into the cold water for a swim (buzz or not!) has you breaking out into an even colder sweat. If so, then perhaps stand up paddle boarding in a cosy wet suit with a flask on board, would be more your type of coorie? Sup-ing is certainly not just for summer, even Santa Claus loves it in his (or her!) full finery.


Blair Castle, walk around Blair Atholl

Of course, a favourite activity in the Cairngorms, which many visitors come for, is walking. Pair a stroll with your brew of choice and a woolly hat and you’ll be coorie personified. After all, have you noticed how much better hot drinks taste when you’re outside? 

With so many different types of walks, from lowland glen walks to tougher hikes into the hills, there is definitely something suitable for every age and ability. If you’re looking for a starter suggestion, why not check our blog on starter walks for kids in the Cairngorms on www.visitcairngorms.com?


Myrddin Irwin, Trek Scotland

Or why not take your flask of whisky/ hot choc and blanket and cosy up with your loved ones under the stars? Tomintoul & Glenlivet has been awarded ‘Dark Sky Status’ which makes it one of the best places in the world to do this magical activity. Remember to make a wish on that shooting star…. Perhaps to come back to the Cairngorms in 2022?!

*Cold water shock, from wild swimming, is dangerous and this activity, particularly in colder months, should never be done alone or without following best practice guidelines. If you are at all unsure, hire an expert guide.

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