Broaden horizons in ‘adventure capital’

Stourbridge News: l Striding out: Walkers at Loch Morlich. l Striding out: Walkers at Loch Morlich.

The Aviemore and Cairngorms Walking and Mountain Festival runs from May 10 to 17 and takes place at the heart of one of Europe's finest natural playgrounds.

Set in the spectacular woodland, loch and mountain scenery of Strathspey and the surrounding area, the former Aviemore Walking Festival has been re-launched under its new title to reflect an ever-expanding programme of activities, including rock climbing, white water rafting, canyoning, dog sledding and even spa treatments.

The eight-day festival programme is made up of 135 walks, activities and workshops and offers something for everyone from the activities amateur to the hardened hiker.

Remaining true to its rambling roots, the festival programme features up to nine guided walks each day, ranging from easy to very strenuous and taking in such sights as the summit of Ben Macdui - the highest point in the Cairngorm plateau, and Tomintoul - the highest village in the Highlands.

Some walks offer the opportunity for some wildlife watching through the RSPB Abernethy Reserve, home of the Loch Garten Ospreys, or the Reindeer Centre at Glenmore, while another invites you to whet your whistle with a visit to the famous Scottish whisky distillery at Dalwhinnie.

For those who like to stray from the beaten track there is an opportunity to sample the remoter side of the Cairngorms with a walk up beautiful Coire an Sneachda, the Coire of the Snows.

And if the sight of the ski area turns the mind to something slightly more sporting, then the festival has plenty to offer.

Why not try rock climbing or abseiling? Or join a canyoning trip for a real rock and water adventure.

There's also a 4x4 driving or quad biking course courtesy of the Rothiemurchus Estate or, for those who prefer to remain carbon neutral, the estate can initiate visitors into the delights of dog sledding or pony trekking.

Combine traditional walking routes with more extreme pursuits by taking part in a journeying event' from Source to Spey - following a burn from its source using a combination of walking, canoeing and mountain biking to pace, paddle and peddle to where it joins the River Spey.

For those more in need of life's little luxuries, organisers have even laid on a Trek and Treat' event, offering a specially selected walking route followed by tailored spa treatments designed to leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.

Charges apply for most walks, activities and workshops.

Visit the website at www.aviemorewalking.com for more details.

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