Having lived in Aberdeen for a few months this year I have mixed feelings about the Cairngorns. Back in February the infamous mountain hare cull took place in the park. Please note, cull, in a national park, of a native species, purely to favour grouse shooting. Piles of dead hares was the postcard from the Cairngorns, so I decided not to go there in winter. Then I had no time to go in the spring, and when the opportunity came around to spend a few days there the grouse shooting season had just began. Since there’s always some cull ongoing in the park anyway, adding the grouse shooting season was too stressful, so I decided to spend only one day in the Cairngorns, morning in the Rothiermucus, lunch in Aviemore, afternoon in Abernethy.

Morning in the Rothiermucus was nice, at least as soon as we were able to put some distance between us and the noise of all the shooting (roe deer cull). It was too manicured and crowded, but some views were admittedly amazing. Lunch in Aviemore was good, great kiwi cafe, yes kiwi, only the high street was lined with grouse shooting flags which was depressing. Afternoon in Abernethy was fantastic, because the forest is thicker, bit less traveled and bit more natural, and we also got to see an osprey at the excellent RSPB Loch Garten (Willow).


I did not want to travel back to Aberdeen through the mountains, because they’re so bare and creepy (many tagged raptors are killed illegally in those areas, again to favour the grouse shooting), but the satnav tricked me into going full way through. I emerged in the Deeside with relief.