4 ancient things you may not know about Aviemore

A neolithic culture that could give Orkney a run for its money

Badenoch & Strathspey has quite a history.  The main settlements today are not necessarily where people lived in the past.  Aviemore  was a relatively quiet area until it became a railway junction in 1898.   It was neighbouring Rothiemurchus  that the Picts or Caledonii called home.   So lets go right back and have a look at the evidence that remains today.

Adventures of a scotsman

Granish or Grenish stone (Loch Nan Carraigean)  circle sits just outside Aviemore,  a short walk from the Orbital path that connects Aviemore & Boat Of Garten. One of my all time favourite places and I have fond childhood memories of the long walk to this stone circle.  As this stone circle is not visited frequently by humans anymore, it is well preserved and maybe a little overgrown.   The circle is known as a clava ring cairn and is very special because it is only found in the Inverness shire area.   Being between 5000 and 6000 years old, this circle is one of the oldest structures in that area to remain largely intact.  Built as a ceremonial burial site,  there is a real feeling of connection with the elements here.   



 Avielochan is home to two clava cairns, known as tombs and is estimated to be around 3500 to 4500 years old.   The cairn is said to be aligned slightly different to many others in order to capture the Cairngorm’s in all their glory. How our ancestors must have marvelled in the stunning location they found themselves in. 




Scottish Ancestry – do your ancestors hail from the area?

Did you know that clans still survive in the area ?  A stronghold for the Grant’s who even have their own Castle Grant in their own town called Grantown.   To this day,  the Grant surname is very common in the area.  Clan Grant supported Robert the Bruce in competition for the Scottish Crown. The victory of Robert the Bruce confirmed the Grants  their lands of Strathspey, where they became established Highland chiefs. Best watch that on The Outlaw King, which incidentally, was filmed right here in Grant lands !

The Clan most associated with early Badenoch & Strathspey was Clan Chattan – the clan is unique in highland clan history in that it was acknowledged to be a community or confederation of twelve separate Scottish clans.   So for all of you ancestry &  genealogy fans, you may just be walking in your ancestors footsteps when you visit.

Big mention to these clans, who survive in large numbers to this day!

  • Clan Davidson
  • Clan Farquharson
  • Clan MacBean
  • Clan MacGillivray
  • Clan MacIntyre
  • Clan Mackintosh
  • Clan MacLean
  • Clan MacPhail
  • Clan Macpherson
  • Clan Macqueen
  • Clan MacThomas
  • Clan Shaw

Ancient woodland that could tell a few stories

Loch an Eilein in Rothiemurchus Forest

Rothiemurchus has a large piece of the remaining Caledonian Pines, estimated to have to arrived in Scotland following about 7000 BC.   Visit Glenfeshie too for some stunning backdrop that will leave you yearning for your next visit.  If you cant wait that long, watch some blockbusters filmed right here such as Outlander, The Outlaw King,  & Centurion.  Many locals feature in these productions as extras.

Watch this particular spot in The Outlaw King,  the scene of a bloody battle……..




Loch an Eilein Castle is inaccessible but you can definitely romanticise whilst walking the 3 mile route round it.  Stroller and bike friendly, its a must with the family.   Close by is the very well preserved and free to enter, Ruthven Barracks.

Castle Roy is another fortress close by  built by the Clan Comyn  north of the village of Nethy Bridge  into the Abernethy Forest. Heard about Clan Grant before? Well it also came under the stewardship of the Clan Grant – still the clan of this area today.

Image credits Creator:Sandy McCook

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