Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Cairngorm Reindeer Centre

I found so many things I wanted to do when we were on holiday in Scotland last year, way too many to fit into our week - but if there was one thing I knew I wanted to prioritise it was a visit to the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre! These are the UK's only free ranging reindeer and I loved the idea of meeting these beautiful animals on their stomping ground.

On the drive back home from Nairn, we were practically driving past (this may or may not be strictly true) and it seemed like it'd be a great place to stretch our legs and get some fresh air on the long journey southwards.

The webpage had given directions tot he Reindeer Centre with instructions to NOT follow the SatNav, so I was a little worried about finding it... I don't go anywhere unfamiliar without it and wasn't overly confident in my navigational skills (I didn't even tell the kids we were going just in case I didn't manage to find the right place in time!) 

Thankfully we did though, with no trouble - and generally if I can follow directions, anyone can! 

There are reindeer to see at the paddocks by the shop throughout the day for most of the year, but it's the Hill Trip that we really fancied - a guided trip to the mountainside where the maid herd live. 

It's a 20 minute walk though Scottish terrain to get to where the reindeer live, but nothing too strenuous for most. The guide will not only show you the way but offer plenty information on the reindeer as well as advice on how to interact them. There's plenty of opportunity to hand feed the lovely fellas too! 

Though, in their keenness to get to the food, the sweeties could be a little .... not gentle with the positioning of their antlers! I thought we might be in trouble when missy was clonked on the head early on, but she took it like a trooper and made sure to take precautions! 

Once the food was all gone, we were told we were welcome to hang out, take photographs and spend time with the reindeer. We may have been there a while! They were all so lovely though, they were hard to leave! 

The reindeers have been roaming wild on the Cairngorms since 1952. The founders of the company, on honeymoon in Scotland, realised the sub-arctic qualities of the Cairngorms would provide a perfect home for them, and brought the first few over from Sweden. There are now over 150 members of the herd! 

While you'll usually find a lovely big group of the reindeer here at the hill enclosure, the rest of the herd are wandering freely in the mountains. The reindeer are rotated at different times of the year. It seems like a pretty good life for a reindeer! 

It's a stunning place to visit even without the reindeer - and if you need any help tackling the elements you can buy midge spray and hire wellies at the visitor shop. I can't recommend more highly you take advantage of both of these, those midges were fierce!

Meeting the reindeer was honestly such an unforgettable experience - both kids listed it as their favourite of the holiday and I'm really glad we had the chance to go! If you ever find yourself in this beautiful part of the world, I'd definitely recommend a visit. The hill walks go at 11am everyday for eleven months of the year, as long as the weather allows.


  1. Wow! The pictures look amazing, what a beautiful place. The reindeers are so cute and friendly. I would love to visit it. I had a look on their website, it's at over 6 hours from me, so far. I'll add it to my to-see list for Scotland though.

    1. It's quite the trek indeed - but it's a beautiful area, well worth spending enough time to make the drive worthwhile!

  2. Beautiful creatures, and what a stunning setting too!

  3. OMG I love that yellow coat! Awesome. I had no idea reindeer's lived in the UK!

    Corinne x

    1. Why thank you! And these are the only ones apparently!

  4. No way! I definitely teared up reading this - what a special experience!!! I can't believe you took all those photos, they're amazing. It must have been insane to not only be in such stunning surroundings but be able to get so close to wild reindeer.
    That last photo is one for a frame.

    Danielle xo

    1. haha I took SO MANY photos - that's partially why it took so long to get this post up, I had to narrow them down to a workable amount! The reindeer are just to photogenic and beautiful though, it was an incredible thing to get to do!

  5. Oh my goodness, this is so cool! Aren't they beautiful?!?!?
    We went to see the Chillingham Cattle in October in Northumberland and that was pretty cool (due to myblog friend who is the warden of them!) but of course, we couldn't go up to them!

    1. Ooh I'll have to add a visit to see the Chillingham cattle to my list - my boyfriend is obsessed with cows, they're his favourite!


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