Crisp, dry days or wet and windy ones? Whatever weather October has in store for us this year, the Cairngorms National Park is a great place to visit for half-term!

Walking with the weans

The National Park offers many walks suitable for short legs – here are some of our favourites. The given times are the actual walking times, but allow enough time for exploration and stopping to take in the views! If you’d like to try something more challenging, have a day out with a hill guide – see our Guide to Guides for more information.

On Royal Deeside, Creag Choinnich offers a straightforward hill walk and the summit gives great views across Braemar to the Cairngorms. Start in Braemar – distance 2.5 miles, time 1.5 hours. You can walk up Creag Coillich from Ballater – distance 1.5 miles, time about an hour.

A lovely little walk in the Angus Glens is the Glen Clova River Walk starting at the Glen Doll car park and following the white waymarkers – 2.5 miles, 1.5 hours.

The short walk at Muir of Dinnet NNR to Burn o’ Vat rewards youngsters with the opportunity to splash in puddles and experiment with echoes!

Burn o' Vat

Burn o’ Vat, Muir of Dinnet NNR

A more strenuous walk from Aviemore is the ascent of Craigellachie; walk through the Nature Reserve behind Macdonald’s Highland Resort and follow the path to the top. 3.5 miles, 2.5-3 hours.

There are many walks you can take around Glenmore; one of our favourites is up to Lochan Uaine. The unusually green lochan is always a delight to visit, even if the weather’s not great. Start from the car park in Glenmore and follow the main track past Glenmore Lodge. 3.5 miles, 2 hours.

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Lochan Uaine, Glenmore

If you’re staying in Blair Atholl, take a walk to Bruar Falls and visit the Soldier’s Leap at Killiecrankie.

Family events and activities

If you’re in the Aviemore and Upper Spey area, Hallowe’en Spookfest at Landmark Forest Adventure Park in Carrbridge is a must-visit with the kids and is on throughout October.

Blair Castle is offering some wonderful wildlife-themed activities for younger ones from 12 – 31 October, including a Castle Deer Hunt and stories about Tilt the Stag.

The Strathspey Railway Steam train is always popular – if you’d like to combine it with a walk, take the train to Boat of Garten and walk back to Aviemore along the Speyside Way (6 miles, 2 hours).

Art exhibitions

If art is your thing, you will enjoy the October exhibitions around the National Park! Creative Cairngorms can be seen at the Grantown Museum throughout October between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

A terrific display of Will Maclean’s new and retrospective work can be seen at The Iona Gallery, Kingussie. This powerful and lyrical exhibition of work from the ‘artist laureate’ of the Highlands and Islands, comprises of drawings, constructions, assemblages, free standing sculptures, as well as the poetic collaboration with John Burnside, The Catechism of the Laws of Storms. 1.30 – 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday; 10.30am – 5pm Saturday – it’s closed on Wednesdays.

Larks Gallery, Ballater, is showing a number of Jennifer Reid’s stunning works until the end of the month and Glenshee Pottery (open seven days, 10am – 5pm) is always worth a visit to see their delightful pottery houses – and to sample their sumptuous cakes!

Glenshee Pottery houses

Glensee Pottery’s delightful houses

Food and Fiddle Fortnight on Deeside runs until 18th Oct 2015 – we particularly recommend the Traditional Music evenings at the Deeside Inn, Opera at Riverside Cottage and Afternoon Tea at the Albert Hall in Ballater!

Food and Fiddle 2015

Food and Fiddle Fortnight

The 22nd Annual World Porridge Making Championship takes place on 10th October in Carrbridge, where entrants from around the world compete for the coveted Golden Spurtle trophy and title of ‘World Porridge Making Champion’.

From 21 – 25 October, Braemar Creative Arts Festival brings colour, music and laughter to the village and just about every venue in Braemar offers an activity; exhibition, workshop, demonstration or music performance. Our main photo at the top of the blog shows Deeside Knitwit’s decorations already in place for this year’s festival!

Wildlife

Autumn is the time to see our iconic wildlife – have a day out with a wildlife guide, or spend an evening in a cosy hide with excellent chances of sighting Pine Marten, Badger, Deer and more.

tree climber

Tree-climbing Badgers

Take home some tartan!

Launched this year, the Cairngorms National Park tartan is available by the metre or you can choose one of our beautiful, stylish accessories – they make great gifts or momentos of your visit!

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Cairngorms National Park Tartan