Located around half an hour away from Aviemore, Newtonmore was a place that a friend of mine actually found by accident while they were visiting Aviemore. Anyway this lovely wee village is very close to our, Kirkstone Loge (actually it would take 10-15 minutes tops to get here in the car) and heading here for a day with the family would make for a nice day out and a way to relax. Now as this is a village with around only 1000 people living here, you would expect that there would be no fun to be had, but that is not true. Coming here for a nice lunch and taking in one of the attractions would make for a fantastic day indeed.
The Wildcats Experience
The Wildcats Experience was a great day out and let us see pretty much every nook and cranny of the village and the surrounding area. Now when I think of wildcats I think of things like tigers, lions and things like that……. But that was not what was on offer here. My niece said it was ridiculous that I even thought this as she knew all about wildcats from school! Anyway the draw here is the wildcat trail. All around the village are these amazing wee wildcats that you have to track down. Now as an immature adult I thought we were going to each be given a tranquilizer dart gun and sent off to hunt the down….. but that was not the case we had to find model wildcats and then tick them off a list they gave us. It was a lot of fun and something my niece still brings up every now and again. Let me warn you some of these are hidden pretty damn well so be sure to keep your eyes open!
Fused And Light
I really had no clue what to expect when we went into, Fused And Light as the two locals I spoke to each told me a different type of thing to expect. Anyway this is a museum/work shop/ gallery of a local artist who does some incredibly work with glass. How the talented, Anne Bridgen does these works of art kind of blows my mind, but then again I am the kind of guy who struggles to draw stick figures. We had a nice little look around and I was also informed that if you book ahead that they do offer classes here and teach you how to fuse glass and make your own pieces of art. I think if we had more time or had booked ahead that this is something my boys and niece and nephew would have really enjoyed.
Quad Bike Tour
Now my youngest and niece did not want to get in on this, but my eldest and my nephew (and I of course) had an absolute blast on this, quadbike tour. Quadbikes are always a lot of fun and here you have just a ton of acres to ride around like maniacs. The folks here were very friendly and made sure that the kids knew how to ride properly, be safe and know what not to do. But despite these rules the kids had an absolute hoot. I am a big fan of quadbikes as I think that are something that pretty much anyone can ride. Kids seem to pick it up pretty much instantly as it is kind of like playing a video game! There is a lot of different areas you can ride and the staff will get an idea of your skill level and take you on a tour that you will be able to handle and have a lot of fun with.
Highland Folk Museum
Ok so the Highland Folk Museum is a few miles (three if the app on my phone is exact) from Newtonmore, but it is well worth heading to. This gives the kids a little taste of what it was like to live in the highlands many, many years ago and they do it with some very fun interactive exhibits. They have old style hutches, old sweet shops and all kinds of animals. This is just a really fun place to go for a few hours and while it is a museum they do not push the whole “educational” thing on the kids and it is more about having fun. This is not me putting the place down at all, far from it as I think the kids actually do learn more when they are having fun. They apparently have all kinds of fun events during the summer and heading back here during the summer months is something that I personally plan on doing at some point. Oh there is also a very nice café here and a 1930’s style sweetshop if you get a bit peckish. There is a chance the kids can get caked in mud here so a change of clothes and perhaps some wellies is a good idea.
Newtonmore Golf Club
Right so clearly if you have very young kids with you a round at the 18 hole, Newtonmore Golf Club is not going to happen. But if you have teenagers with you or even if you are just on a “lads” type of weekend then this is a great golf club. It is very classy without being up its own backside which more than a few course I have been on the last few years have been!! They are all about having a fun game of golf here and the course is rather challenging. So while it may not be ideal for those of you with a mixed age group family. I think that teenagers would get a real kick out of a round here.
Shinty is a proper, highland sport and there is a shinty team right here in Newtonmore. Newtonmore Camanachd Club just recently celebrated their 125th birthday so they are a bit of an institution in these parts. Their season runs from February until October and it is well worth going and checking out a game of shinty! It is a very fun sport and as something that is a highland tradition it makes your highland break that wee bit more authentic, plus there is not many other places you get the chance to see shinty! Now I knew nothing about the sport….. I thought it was just a cross between hockey and golf! I wish I had taken the time to learn a bit about it as my son was just firing off question after question about it! Still we had a fun day and it was something unique to the highlands that the kids got to experience.
Newtonmore Riding Centre
Now never in a million…… better make that a billion years would you get me on a horse! But it was something the kids seemed interested in and at Newtonmore Riding Centre they really do go above and beyond in every regard to make sure that the kids have a great time. They not only teach them how to ride properly, safely and how to enjoy it. But they teach them how to treat and respect animals which I thought was very cool and interesting. I enjoyed just watching and taking pictures of the kids having fun with the animals. They do also offer pony rides so if you have very young kids with you be sure to ask about that. Just be warned that after they have been here they will want a horse. So make sure you have all the reasons (excuses) as to why they cannot have a horse of their own.