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Quick facts | Did you know? | Local heroes | Well-known landmarks | Local specialities | Best time to visit | What's on | Learn Online

Quick facts

Aviemore - An Aghaidh Mhòr

An Aghaidh Mhòr translates as "Big Hill Face" in English.


The population of Aviemore is around 2397 according to the 2000 census..

Twin Towns

Grantown-On-Spey is a twin town with Notre Dame-De-Monts, France.

Local Clans

The Grants of Rothiemurchus

The Stewarts of Kincardine

The Comyns

The Shaws

Gaelic Place names near Aviemore

Am Monadh Liath is the "Blue Hills" and Am Monadh Ruadh translates as "The Red Hills" - both are used in the area. Cairn Gorm also translates as the “Blue Cairn”. All in all, it's a very colourful place!

River Spey is “Abhainn Spè” which translates as Hawthorn Stream, and Tomachrochar which is “Tom a' Chrochair” in Gaelic, literally, means “Hill of the hangman”.

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Did you know?

Aviemore was the first skiing resort ever to be established in the UK. It was the foremost ski resort in the 70s.

There is a freely grazing reindeer herd very close to Aviemore, in Glen More. This is the only herd of its kind in the UK.

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Local heroes

Alain Baxter

Alain Baxter was born on the 26th December 1973 in Edinburgh and is a professional skier from Aviemore. Alain began skiing at a very young age and his parents were both British Ski Team members. He specialises in the slalom discipline and is probably most famous for his controversial bronze medal win at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

In the Salt Lake City Olympics of 2002, Baxter made British Olympic history by becoming the first Briton to win a medal in alpine skiing. He sparked controversy at the time, by dying his hair with the Saltire cross of St Andrew. The British Olympic Association ordered him to remove this symbol of his nationality, because they wanted to project an image of "Britishness", but the blue dye he used to try to obliterate the white saltire was a different shade, and the saltire pattern could still clearly be seen when he won his medal.

Alain returned home to Aviemore to a hero's welcome and a parade around the town in an open top bus. Two days later, Alain discovered that he had failed a drugs test. His sample contained a trace amount of methamphetamine. After an appeal, the IOC declared that Baxter was disqualified from the competition and he would have to return his medal.

Baxter was able to confirm later that the trace had originated from a Vicks inhaler bought in the USA. He had been unaware that the contents were different to those found in the UK version. The International Ski Federation accepted his explanation and banned him for the minimum of 3 months. This ban was later overturned and Alain appealed for his medal to be returned.

While his form has never quite reached the same heights as they did in Salt Lake City, Alain Baxter is still the highest ranked and most recognisable male alpine skier in the UK.

His brother, Noel Baxter is also an alpine skier. His cousin Lesley McKenna is a leading professional snowboarder and winner of two World Cups.

Alain is also a keen player of shinty, turning out for Kincraig Shinty Club when time permits.

James MacPherson

James MacPherson, born in Ruthven in October 1736, is now regarded as one of the most famous literary hoaxers of all time. He published a book in 1760 (Fragments of Ancient Poetry collected in the Highlands of Scotland) based on poems he claimed to be able to recite from memory and on manuscripts that he said had been collected in the Highlands and Islands.

In 1761, after a tour of the islands researching and collecting lore, he claimed to have uncovered an epic poem composed by Ossian, about Ossian’s father Fingal, a legendary mythological warrior (Fionn Mac Cumhaill). The material was published with a very snappy title: Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books, together with Several Other Poems composed by Ossian, the Son of Fingal, translated from the Gaelic Language.

Further books appeared in 1763 (Temora) and 1765 (The Works of Ossian), but there were plenty of people who challenged their authenticity, including the famous English writer Dr Samuel Johnson.

MacPherson died in 1796, and the sources of his material will probably never be confirmed, but he is now being regarded with more affection as a writer. Translations of his work were beloved by figures as famous as Napoleon.

Jimmy Bain

Born in Newtonmore in 1947, Jimmy Bain made his name as one of the most in-demand rock musicians of the 1970s and 1980s. He was recruited to the band Rainbow, formed by Deep Purple’s legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore; he wrote and recorded with Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy; he toured with the Velvet Underground’s John Cale; he also worked with Kate Bush.

However, he is most famous for working in former Black Sabbath singer Ronnie James Dio’s solo band, with whom he recorded several platinum selling albums in the 1980s. He is still involved in music today, as a solo artist, and with a number of band projects in the US.

Ronald Ross

The traditional sport of the Highlands is shinty, and shinty’s major star is the phenomenal goal-scoring forward, Ronald Ross. He is a forward with the all-conquering Kingussie team. In the 2002-2003 season, he scored 94 league goals – more than the total managed by the second and third-placed teams combined! He is nicknamed ‘Ronaldo’ after the Brazilian football forward.

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Well-known landmarks

Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park was established in 2003. It covers the Cairngorms range of mountains, and some surrounding hills. It is the largest national park in the UK with an area of 1,467 sq miles. It is home to 16,000 people and 25% of Britain’s threatened species. Sites designated as of importance to natural heritage take up 39% of the land area – two thirds of these are of Europe-wide importance.

It was the second of two national parks established by the Scottish Parliament; the first was the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, set up in 2002. At the time there was some controversy; a large area of Highland Perth and Kinross that many groups felt should form part of the park was left outside its boundary.

There was also controversy surrounding the construction of a funicular railway on Cairn Gorm, a scheme supported by the new National Park Authority. Supporters of the scheme claimed that it would bring valuable tourist income into the area, whilst opponents argued that such a development was unsuitable for a supposedly protected area.

The Cairngorms National Park has a large mountain range at its heart. The Cairngorms feature the highest, coldest and snowiest plateaux in the British Isles and are home to four of the five highest mountains in Scotland: Ben Macdhui (1309 m): Cairn Gorm (1245 m): Braeriach (1296 m): Cairn Toul (1293 m).

Strathspey Railway

The Strathspey Railway operates a 10 mile (16 km) preserved railway from Aviemore to Broomhill via Boat of Garten. It was part of the former Highland Railway line which linked Aviemore with Forres. The Strathspey Railway offers an experience of a railway of the 1950s to 1960s and is due to be extended to Grantown on Spey in the next two years. It is even transformed into the "Santa Express" at Christmas time for children and provides a great day out.

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Local specialities

The Strathspey Reel

It's not edible or drinkable but it can be heard and even danced! The Strathspey is a dance tune in 4/4 time and is similar to a hornpipe but slightly slower. The name Strathspey is given to both the tune and the dance. The tune is the basis for many a famous song such as Auld Lang Syne and Coming through the Rye. The dance is really the way to work every muscle group, and it is lots of fun.

River Spey and its Produce

The River Spey is renowned for its salmon and trout fishing and also a completely individual way of fishing it; Spey Casting.

Uisge Beatha

Unsurprisingly, the local whisky is well worth a dram or two. Some of the most widely bought single malts come from the area - The Glenfiddich and The Glen Livet.

A Meaty Affair

Aberdeen Angus beef and wild venison are always on the menu in this area. The Restaurant at Muckrach has 2 AA Rosettes and serves a wide variety of these dishes that are made from the local ingredients. They claim that most of their produce comes from within thirty miles of the hotel.

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Best time to visit

There is a wealth of activities in Aviemore and these days it is always a bustling hive of activity. If winter sports are your forté then January and February are probably the best time to visit. However, the Cairngorms are even better in the summer months and Aviemore is generally good to visit anytime.

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What's on

What's on


Here is a pick of upcoming events that our characters would like to recommend for the month ahead!


Fire and Fiddles

02/06/07 - Landmark Forestry Heritage Theme Park, Carrbridge

Cèilidh Dance

30/06/07 - Aviemore Town Hall


Fèis Spè Past and Present

08/06/07 - Badenoch Centre, Kingussie

Orchids Galore

21/06/07 - Newtonmore


Scotland's Wildlife: Past and Present

02/06/07 - 10/06/07 - Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig, Kingussie

Steam and Stroll

05/06/07 - Aviemore to Boat of Garten by steam train and stroll back.



09/06/07 - 10/06/07 - Dores, Loch Ness

The Outsider

22/06/07 - 24/06/07 - Rothiemurchus Estate, Rothiemurchus.

The Thrills

26/06/07 - Ironworks, Inverness


Coinneach Odhar/Brahan Seer

27/06/07 – 30/06/07 – Florians’ Little Theatre, Bught Park Inverness

Information about local events and external links to H07 events via the H07 website.

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Learn Online

Learn Online

Learn Gaelic at BBC Alba

The BBC offers an array of online learning tools for the Gaelic beginner. They have their “Beag air Bheag” online course, they have Colin and Cumberland games and they also have an online version of “Litir Bheag” from Radio nan Gàidheal.


learndirect scotland

learndirect scotland has a range of interesting online courses. These include, among others, a series of online basic Gaelic and Scottish History and Geography Courses:

Gaelic (Gàidhlig):

1. Gaelic for Arts and Festivals

2. Gaelic for Food Services

3. Gaelic for Managers

4. Gaelic for Marketing

5. Gaelic for Outdoor Workers

6. Gaelic for Parents

7. Gaelic for Receptionists

8. Gaelic for Retail Workers

9. Gaelic for TIC Workers

10. Gaelic for Travel Workers

11. Scottish History and Geography

Contact: 0808 100 9000


Learn in the Community

Comhairle nan Sgoiltean Àraich (CNSA)

CNSA run a series of “Gàidhlig san Dachaigh” (Gaelic in the Home) courses throughout the country. These are total immersion classes where the tutor only converses with participants in Gaelic. The organisation will be able to tell you what range of learning opportunities they offer in your area.

Contact: CNSA Head Office

Tel: 01463 225 469

Clì Gàidhlig

Clì Gàidhlig run various Gaelic classes in communities throughout Scotland. They run various courses for learners of the language including conversation classes and grammar classes. They have also begun a series of Gaelic Awareness classes.

Contact: DJ MacIntyre

Tel: 01463 226710



Learn Full-Time

Cùrsa Comais – Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

The Cùrsa Comais or Immersion Course is a full-time residential course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic college. It is aimed at those wishing to obtain fluency in the language and can contribute to the first year of a degree course.

Contact: 01471 888 000



Cùrsa Comais is Cùrsaichean Ceum – Lews Castle College

This course is designed for Gaelic learners who are not yet fluent. You will develop your language skills and learn about the history of the Highlands and Islands. This course can also contribute as the first year of the degree program.

Contact: 01851 770459



Learn Part-Time

Short Courses – Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

The Gaelic college on Skye also offers weekly residential courses for beginners and intermediate beginners. A full timetable of courses usually runs during the Easter holidays and also throughout the summer months.

Contact: 01471 888 000



Short Courses – Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle

The Gaelic centre on Islay offers a short course programme. These courses are for all levels of learners.

Contact: 01496 810 818


Cùrsa Inntrigidh - Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

The Cùrsa Inntrigidh is a distance-learning course based at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. The course is about gaining the confidence to use your Gaelic practically, with priority given to speaking and listening skills. It takes advantage of new technology to reach those people who are too far away or whose schedule makes it impractical to attend existing courses. Workbooks and accompanying CDs allow students to work at any time of day or night that suits them. Weekly conversation classes through teleconferencing offer the opportunity to chat to tutors and practice with others on the course. Weekend schools held at the College offer the opportunity to consolidate and put into practice what has been learned, as well as the chance to get to know students and tutors in a convivial Gaelic atmosphere.

Contact: 01471 888 000



Learn Gaelic Abroad

Comunn Gàidhlig Astràilia

Comunn Gàidhlig Astràilia (The Scottish Gaelic Association of Australia) is a non-profit organisation which supports the language and culture of Scottish Gaels in Australia, and is the primary source of information regarding Gaelic classes and workshops in Australia and New Zealand.



An Comunn Gàidhealach America

An Comunn Gàidhealach America (The Gaelic Society of America) strives to promote and preserve the Gaelic language and culture by supporting Gaelic language study and interest in Gaelic literature, song, music, art and history in North America and the world.



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