The village of Newtonmore can be found deep in the Scottish Highlands, a few miles from the centre of Scotland. Though it is remote, on the fringes of the vast Cairngorms National Park, the village is well connected, with its own railway station on the Highland Main Line. The bustling city of Inverness to the north and the city of Perth to the south are an hour away by train.
Newtonmore has had its fair share of time in the limelight, starring in TV drama Monarch of the Glen. It is also famous for being home to The Wildcat Experience, a visitor attraction focused on the elusive Scottish wildcat, where visitors follow a trail to find 130 painted wildcat sculptures. Those who find 25 earn themselves a Wildcat Experience certificate, and those who find 50 win a prize. This excellent family-friendly attraction is just one of many reasons to visit the village. For wildlife enthusiasts, the Highland Wildlife Park, home to wolves, bears and bison, is just seven miles away. The Cairngorm Reindeer Centre is also a 30-minute drive from the village, offering sled-dog rides through the forests. There are around 150 reindeer in the herd, ranging on the Cairngorm Mountains.
History enthusiasts won't want to miss out on the Highland Folk Museum. First opened in neighbouring Kingussie in 1944, the museum was recognised as Britain's first mainland open-air museum. Named 'Am Fasgadh' or 'The Shelter', this became the third home for founder Dr Isobel F Grant's core collection of Highland cultural artefacts. The museum at Newtonmore opened in 1995 and documents rural life in the Highlands.
The Clan Macpherson Museum explores the lives of famous men and women of the clan who shaped the world as we know it today in the fields of science, the military and arts. The museum is home to weapons used in days gone by, and interesting artefacts and documents about the Jacobite Cause.
Though Newtonmore is a small village – its estimated population is less than 2,000 – it is a fascinating part of Scotland. Its location at the edge of the Cairngorms makes it an ideal holiday destination for active couples, families and groups. Surrounding the village are miles of rolling hills, glens and mountains. One wouldn't have to stray far from the centre to discover spectacular walking trails, fishing and horse-riding routes across heather moorland.
Newtonmore is home to an excellent golf course. With unbeatable mountain views, the golf course is mostly easy-walking parkland and is kept in impeccable condition. Established in 1893, the 18-hole course is a tranquil and uncrowded place to practice your swing. Neighbouring Kingussie, just three miles away, also has an excellent golf course.
By Scotland's standards, Newtonmore has a fairly short history. Before the early 1800s, the local population resided in communities in Glen Banchor, approximately a mile from Newtonmore, sitting at 200ft above sea level. However, upon the construction of the road bridge across the River Spey in the 1760s, people were encouraged to build houses further down. The very first mention of the village refers to it as 'Moor of Strone' in 1823 in Scottish Record Office papers, with roughly 50-60 inhabitants. As the infrastructure expanded, and with the arrival of the railway in the mid-1860s, more people came to live in the area. By 1929, the population was around 800, and the village had established itself as a tourist centre. At this time, there are records of seven grocers, two butchers, three tailors, two boot and shoemakers, one boot repairer, one newsagent and two garages.
As international travel became more affordable, the village experienced a drop in the numbers of visitors. The construction of the new A9 road in the 1970s also meant less passing trade through the village. However, it continues to thrive. To commemorate the Millennium, the community created a hand-written and photographic record of life in the village - The Millennium Book of Newtonmore. Every household in the area was invited to contribute something about themselves and have their picture taken. Today, the book can be seen at the Am Fasgadh building in the Highland Folk Museum.
The village has its own railway station, with links to other Highland towns and villages. It is just a one-hour journey north to Inverness. There is an airport at Inverness with routes to cities across the UK. Alternatively, visitors can take the train south to or from Perth, which also has an airport. For visitors driving from the south, follow the A9 road to reach Newtonmore from Perth. The village is approximately a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Perth, two- and half-hour drive from Edinburgh and a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Glasgow.