Infinite Scotland

Badenoch & Beyond | Fresh and Wetland

Cairngorms . Biggest, coldest chunk of continuous, high-level ground in Britain and Ireland. Massive, rolling plateaux; frost-shattered cliffs that reflect in blue-green lochans ; steep-sided valleys slicing through the mountains; curving corries , bitten like giant teeth marks in the flanks of the hills. Those are parts of the Cairngorms scene.

It’s as if a chunk of the arctic, complete with ice, pale-plumaged birds and white-coated creatures (cue a herd of Cairngorm reindeer , watched by mountain hares ) has lodged in the heart of the Highlands. And yet, people warm to this area, both as locals in the towns and villages that skirt the mountains , or as visitors who come here by the hundreds of thousands each year.

Environment

Cairngorm Mountains

Environment

A huge mass of granite forms the core of the mountains. This is what gives them their old Gaelic name ‘Monadh Ruadh’ – the Red Mountains, to distinguish them from the duller-toned Monadh Liath – the Grey Mountains – across the strath of the River Spey. The granite of the ...
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Wildlife

Capercaillie

Wildlife

In a few places, the ‘Horse of the Woods’ - Capall Coille as it’s called in Gaelic to describe the clopping sounds of its mating calls, still struts its stuff beneath the pine trees. ‘Capercaillie’ is how the word has shifted into English. It’s a bird, not a horse: largest grous...
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Environment

Insh Marshes

Environment

Out on the floodplain beside Kingussie spread the Insh Marshes. Largest mire of its kind in Britain is how some with an interest in wetlands would think of it. Scenic gem, with some amazing plant, animal and birdlife is another way of looking at it. There are dense beds of sedges here, plus water li...
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Culture

James Macpherson

Culture

James Macpherson was an 18th century publishing sensation. He was read, and admired, by writers such as Goethe – a towering figure of German literature – and helped to shape the so-called ‘Romantic Movement’ across Europe. But he was also, according to people as perceptive and influential as...
More information
Culture

Kingussie

Culture

Kingussie sits close enough to the River Spey that floodwaters can trouble its edges in some years. That comes with the territory, when settlements use floodplain ground – productive for agriculture – for building. But such hazards, costly though they can be, are perhaps a small price to pay for...
More information
Environment

Lairig Ghru

Environment

People can misread the mountain weather, push their luck just a little too far and pay a high price for their bravado. That’s what happened a couple of centuries ago, when, it’s said, a group of tailors wagered that they could dance a reel in a single day in each of three ‘dells’ that sit on...
More information
Wildlife

Native Woodland

Wildlife

Scots pine – the most widespread cone-bearing tree in the world, and so named with a huge dollop of island-dweller’s cheek – is a key part of the lcoal woods and forest. So too are different kinds of birch trees. Wild cherry, rowan, aspen and willows are there too. And juniper, whose crushed b...
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Culture

Ronald Ross

Culture

Within the annals of shinty, no other player has gained more fame than Ronald Ross. He’s the first, and so far the only, player in the history of Scottish sport (of any kind) to score more than 1,000 goals. ‘Ronaldo of the Glens’ as he’s known to some of his admirers, was born in 1975. He be...
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Culture

Ruthven Barracks

Culture

On nights when the moon rises over the marshes, the shape of the old fortress that overlooks them takes on a new strangeness. Ruthven. Ruthven Barracks is one name for it. But this roofless building of pale stone, perched on an artificial mound above the plain, seems more castle than barracks. And a...
More information
Culture

Shinty

Culture

This part of Badenoch, especially Kingussie and Newtonmore, has rocked the sporting world enough to get in the record books. We’re talking camanachd here: shinty, the game that can look, at first glance, like hockey without so many restrictive rules about health and safety. It’s the spo...
More information
Other

The Wolf of Badenoch

Other

On nights when the moon rises over the marshes, the shape of the old fortress that overlooks them takes on a new strangeness. Ruthven. Ruthven Barracks is one name for it. But this roofless building of pale stone, perched on an artificial mound above the plain, seems more castle than barracks. And a...
More information
Wildlife

Whooper Swan

Wildlife

Out on the floodplain beside Kingussie spread the Insh Marshes. Largest mire of its kind in Britain is how some with an interest in wetlands would think of it. Scenic gem, with some amazing plant, animal and birdlife is another way of looking at it. There are dense beds of sedges here, plus water li...
More information
Wildlife

Capercaillie

Wildlife

In a few places, the ‘Horse of the Woods’ - Capall Coille as it’s called in Gaelic to describe the clopping sounds of its mating calls, still struts its stuff beneath the pine trees. ‘Capercaillie’ is how the word has shifted into English. It’s a bird, not a horse: largest grous...
More information
Wildlife

Native Woodland

Wildlife

Scots pine – the most widespread cone-bearing tree in the world, and so named with a huge dollop of island-dweller’s cheek – is a key part of the lcoal woods and forest. So too are different kinds of birch trees. Wild cherry, rowan, aspen and willows are there too. And juniper, whose crushed b...
More information
Wildlife

Whooper Swan

Wildlife

Out on the floodplain beside Kingussie spread the Insh Marshes. Largest mire of its kind in Britain is how some with an interest in wetlands would think of it. Scenic gem, with some amazing plant, animal and birdlife is another way of looking at it. There are dense beds of sedges here, plus water li...
More information
Environment

Cairngorm Mountains

Environment

A huge mass of granite forms the core of the mountains. This is what gives them their old Gaelic name ‘Monadh Ruadh’ – the Red Mountains, to distinguish them from the duller-toned Monadh Liath – the Grey Mountains – across the strath of the River Spey. The granite of the ...
More information
Environment

Insh Marshes

Environment

Out on the floodplain beside Kingussie spread the Insh Marshes. Largest mire of its kind in Britain is how some with an interest in wetlands would think of it. Scenic gem, with some amazing plant, animal and birdlife is another way of looking at it. There are dense beds of sedges here, plus water li...
More information
Environment

Lairig Ghru

Environment

People can misread the mountain weather, push their luck just a little too far and pay a high price for their bravado. That’s what happened a couple of centuries ago, when, it’s said, a group of tailors wagered that they could dance a reel in a single day in each of three ‘dells’ that sit on...
More information
Culture

James Macpherson

Culture

James Macpherson was an 18th century publishing sensation. He was read, and admired, by writers such as Goethe – a towering figure of German literature – and helped to shape the so-called ‘Romantic Movement’ across Europe. But he was also, according to people as perceptive and influential as...
More information
Culture

Kingussie

Culture

Kingussie sits close enough to the River Spey that floodwaters can trouble its edges in some years. That comes with the territory, when settlements use floodplain ground – productive for agriculture – for building. But such hazards, costly though they can be, are perhaps a small price to pay for...
More information
Culture

Ronald Ross

Culture

Within the annals of shinty, no other player has gained more fame than Ronald Ross. He’s the first, and so far the only, player in the history of Scottish sport (of any kind) to score more than 1,000 goals. ‘Ronaldo of the Glens’ as he’s known to some of his admirers, was born in 1975. He be...
More information
Culture

Ruthven Barracks

Culture

On nights when the moon rises over the marshes, the shape of the old fortress that overlooks them takes on a new strangeness. Ruthven. Ruthven Barracks is one name for it. But this roofless building of pale stone, perched on an artificial mound above the plain, seems more castle than barracks. And a...
More information
Culture

Shinty

Culture

This part of Badenoch, especially Kingussie and Newtonmore, has rocked the sporting world enough to get in the record books. We’re talking camanachd here: shinty, the game that can look, at first glance, like hockey without so many restrictive rules about health and safety. It’s the spo...
More information
Other

The Wolf of Badenoch

Other

On nights when the moon rises over the marshes, the shape of the old fortress that overlooks them takes on a new strangeness. Ruthven. Ruthven Barracks is one name for it. But this roofless building of pale stone, perched on an artificial mound above the plain, seems more castle than barracks. And a...
More information