Wee Tam's Review
The big question we debate on the road north into the Cairngorms National Park, is whether the hills will be red or blue…the old Gaelic name for the range, Am Monadh Ruadh means red hills, while Cairn Gorm means blue cairn…of course in the end, the colours we see depend on the weather and ambient light. At sunset, the granite screes and stony rock faces can glow a pinky gold, while the on a clear, early morning, they have a haze over them of green-blue - so both are right.
I am somewhat in awe of these mountains, having read Nan Shepherd’s wonderful book The Living Mountain, which really brings home what a changeable, dangerous place this can be. Luckily nowadays there are plenty of mapped and marked paths as well as guided walks, so we can hike up to some fantastic views without worrying that we’ll be lost, never to be seen again. The Meall a’Bhuachaille circuit from Glenmore is a wonderful half day’s walk with a variety of highlights including breathtaking views, huge Scots pines, Ryvoan bothy and the sparkling green water of Lochan an Uaine.
What a fantastic place for a holiday with extended family and friends and of course that includes dogs! Feith Mhor is just a mile outside Carrbridge near the river Dulnain, with the Cairngorm Mountains to the southeast and the Monadhliath Mountain to the northwest. There’s no need for the whole party to bring cars as there’s a railway station at Carrbridge and Inverness airport is just a few miles away.
The stone-built lodge itself is impressive as we approach through neat, unfussy gardens bordering on farmland, up the gravel drive and we feel honoured to be able to stay here. Once inside, we immediately feel at ease – the rooms are beautifully furnished and kitted out in a way that makes Feith Mhor feel like home, but with all the luxury we don’t have in our own home and loads and loads of space for everyone and his dog– what a treat! Ensuite rooms for all and lovely views, huge dining and sitting rooms and a kitchen which makes cooking for a large party very easy. We can walk the dogs straight from the door, into the woods for miles and miles or along to Sluggan bridge, all on good tracks. Wee Tam always brings his own bed and sleeps in the house, but there are kennels available outside, too.
There’s plenty to do here that’s dog friendly. Rothiemurchus estate has lovely walks for dogs to enjoy and dogs are welcome on the wildlife boat trips on Loch Insh as well as in the bar at the lochside Boathouse Restaurant and in the Cairn Hotel Restaurant, which is just a mile away. Don’t miss the Strathspey Steam Railway trip from Aviemore – an hour’s chugging along with a stunning backdrop of moorland, forest, the river Spey and of course the Cairngorms themselves. Dogs are welcomed on the train but not in the dining car – so if you’re dining, please make use of the kennels at Feith Mhor!