Rising high in the heather-clad hills above remote Loch Laggan, forty miles south of Inverness, the River Spey, Scotland’s second longest river, drains northeast towards the Moray Firth through one of the Highlands’ most spellbinding valleys. Famous for its ancient forests, salmon fishing and ospreys, the area around the upper section of the river, known as Strathspey, is dominated by the sculpted Cairngorms, Britain’s most extensive mountain massif, unique in supporting subarctic tundra on its high plateau. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area to take advantage of the superb hiking, water sports and winter snows, aided by the fact that the area is easily accessible by road and rail from both central Scotland and Inverness. A string of villages along the river provide useful bases for setting out into the wilder country, principal among them Aviemore.

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