Dun Da Lamh

What’s the story behind this land of glory?

One of the great joys of visiting new places on holiday, or even returning to a place that you know well, is discovering the stories behind them.

A new app called Badenoch The Storylands has been launched to help visitors to, and residents of, the Cairngorms National Park get to know landscape on a deeper level. You can download this free app on the Apple Store (for iPhone) or Google Play (for Android).

App users are able to discover the area of Badenoch through, not just stories which are told by a raft of local voices, but also through music, walks, cycle rides and car drives, with full directions and interactive maps provided. 

The enchanting (sometimes laugh-out-loud!) stories and folklore were researched by award winning Highland musician and composer Hamish Napier. He also composed and performed all the accompanying music to the audio stories and voices many of them with his lilting, easy-listening Highland accent.

Badenoch’s rich history – including warring armies, cattle raiders, kings and poets –  comes to life through these different story forms. You can also download the music, maps and stories so you can easily access them when you’re out and about and don’t have internet connection.

Highlights to discover in the ‘Badenoch The Storylands’ app

1. Walking routes

Aerial view of Loch Insh from Kincraig – photo credit James Stevens

Eight walking routes with maps and accompanying photos of landmarks along with them, and with the audio stories behind them.

Walks include a five mile route from Kingussie to Loch Insh viewing point, an eight mile route from Feshiebridge to Inshriach and a four mile route from Laggan Wolftrax Mountain Biking Trail Centre.

2. Cycling routes

Taking a break from mountain biking to soak up the sights at Laggan Wolftrax Mountain Biking Centre; photo credit James Stevens

Three cycling routes also with maps and ‘behind the landscape’ information which you can stop and read about when you take a breather!

The three routes are:

Ralia Circular: this starts at the Ralia Cafe, which is clearly signposted from the A9 and where there are catering and toilet facilities. It is approximately 22 miles and has a steep climb on a trunk road. The app recommends around half a day depending on stops, which can include Centre of Scotland Stone, Crubenmore New Bridge and Dalwhinnie Distillery.

Wolftrax to Garva Bridge: around 16 miles long, this cycle route is approximately 16 miles long and is estimated to take on average 3 hours to complete. Stops potentially include Spey Dam, Garva Barracks and Laggan Parish Church.

Kincraig to Kingussie: Around 15 miles, this route is gently undulating and incorporates some stunning views from Kincraig Bridge over Loch Insh, Tromie Bridge, RSPB Insh Marshes and Ruthven Barracks. If you’re looking for a refreshment stop, Loch Insh Outdoor Centre boasts a cafe with stunning views over the water.

3. Driving routes

Dalwhinnie Distillery; photo credit James Stevens

Two driving tours encompassing both north Badenoch (a circular tour) and south Badenoch (a 50 mile tour). Each tour has about 20 points of interest to observe/stop at as you go.

The ‘north’ route mixes narrow roads with trunk roads and is just over 40 miles so it’s recommended you allow a few hours with stops to incorporate landmarks and attractions like The Highland Folk Museum, Highland Wildlife Park and Ruthven Barracks.

The ‘south’ road also has a mixture of narrow and trunk roads, and it’s recommended you dedicate at least half a day to explore it. A popular landmark which this route includes is the ‘Centre of Scotland Stone’ (always good for a holiday snap!) as well as Cluny Castle, Dalwhinnie Distillery and Spey Dam.

4. Augmented reality experiences

Digital reconstruction of Torr Alvie hill fort near Aviemore, Scotland by Bob Marshall

Augmented reality experiences which you can use to see how six selected historic sites looked back in time. The six are: Ruthven Barracks, medieval Raitts Township, Raitts Cave, the fortification Torr Alvie, Bronze age site Easter Delfour, and Pictish hill fort Dun da Lamh.

If you’re in the area from 18th-24th September 2021, you’ll also be able to attend the Badenoch Heritage Festival and Celebration, which is full of family-friendly events, walks, talks, films and exhibitions. 

For the latest details on the festival, see Badenoch The Storylands Facebook page: @thestorylands or check here: www.facebook.com/thestorylands/


Photos sourced from Badenoch The Storylands Project

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