14 reasons – and more – to stay at Lagganlia, Cairngorms
Lagganlia at Feshiebridge, near Kincraig, is an activity and accommodation centre located in the Cairngorms. It offers a range of places to stay and plenty of things to do on-site, and close by.
A short break was not long enough. I wished we had spent a week or more at Lagganlia to make the most of all the things to do.
What is Lagganlia?
Lagganlia Centre for Outdoor Education is owned by Edinburgh Council and is a popular base for school residential groups. The centre is a legacy project of the late George Boyd Anderson, a Scottish philanthropist and environmentalist.
Due to a chance encounter, while skiing in Switzerland, Anderson decided the children of Edinburgh must also experience at first hand the joy of his much-loved sport.
First, he built the dry ski slope at Hillend, close to Edinburgh in 1965, and then bought and gifted land in the Scottish Highlands to the citizens of Edinburgh so that pupils could experience learning on the “real stuff”.
Today, Lagganlia Outdoor Centre is an outdoor learning venue. It was opened in1970 by the Duke of Edinburgh and Anderson’s signature is the first name in the visitors’ book.
If you have a child at a state school in Edinburgh they may well visit Lagganlia as part of a residential activity trip.
Lagganlia also has a commercial enterprise and offers self-catering accommodation and activities for the wider public.
14 good reasons to stay at Lagganlia
1 Location, location
Lagganlia is brilliantly located to the west of the Cairngorms National Park – and not far from the A9 and the popular outdoors town of Aviemore.
2 Practical accommodation
Lagganlia has a range of accommodation, including camping pods (wooden hobbit huts) and self-catering lodges. They are all practical and very easy to enjoy, rather than being plush and luxurious.
I stayed in four-bedroom Anderson Lodge with friends. It sleeps a maximum of 10 people.
The lodge is ideal for family groups or groups of friends who a looking for a budget-friendly place to stay because they would prefer to spend more time outdoors than indoors.
Saying that, the facilities are great. I stayed in Anderson Lodge with friends and there were four rooms with a variety of bed set ups, mainly bunk beds.
As well as four bedrooms, the lodge has a bathroom with shower and a toilet with shower, as well as a kitchen and living-dining room.
The lodge is set amid the large site of Lagganlia and offers easy access to all kinds of activities. See Lagganlia accommodation.
3 Hot tub relaxation
A brand new hot tub is located at the rear of Anderson Lodge. It is really private yet also looks out on to woodland.
We used the hot a lot in the evenings. It was a superb extra to our short break and is a great place to chill out after a busy day of walking, climbing, cycling etc.
4 Fire pits and barbecues
When the weather is fine, there’s little to beat an outdoors meal or a gathering around a firepit in the evening.
Lagganlia has barbecue and fire pits available for free use. There are barbecue huts and also a large central fire making spot if you want to meet others who are staying on site.
Don’t forget your barbecue briquettes, wood for the fire – and marshmallows!
5 It’s easy to keep the kids entertained
You do not need to leave the site to enjoy lots of active entertainment. The kids will be easy to please.
There’s an artificial dry ski slope for skiing and snowboarding year round, or try a donuts (inflatable rings) session.
A traverse climbing wall (like a mini climbing wall) is located in the centre of the site and open to all. If you fancy climbing higher, book an instructor-led high ropes course. (It featured on the children’s programme Raven, apparently.)
Other options include orienteering on a permanent course, testing your target skills at archery, or Frisbee Golf.
And, since the centre is located at the heart of the natural outdoors playground of the Cairngorms, there is easy access to many walks and bike rides (and often without need for a car).
6 Walking on your doorstep
There are so many places to walk while based at Lagganlia. From easy-going low-level walks to longer hikes in the mountains, you will find a route to suit your fitness level and aspirations.
See my post 5 great walks while staying at Lagganlia.
Also see Cairngorms and Aviemore walks.
7 Cycling and mountain biking
A range of natural and man-made trails are found at Inshriach Forest, High Burnside, Glenmore Forest Park and Rothiermurchus.
The Speyside Way is great for easier mountain biking adventures because it’s relatively flat.
Another route, if you have the energy, is the infamous Burma Road climb. You can start in Aviemore or nearby Lynwilg and climb the unrelenting off-road trail to a high point close to the 824m summit of Geal Charn Mor. See a useful Burma Road bike loop route.
Road cyclists will discover quiet roads and mostly smooth tarmac. The National Cycle Network Route 7 offers lots of options from Aviemore to Inverness.
8 Watersports fun
The rivers and lochs of the Cairngorms provide a water-based playground for many activities, including stand up paddleboarding, river rafting, Canadian Canoes, kayaking, dinghy sailing and canyoning.
9 Try packrafting
The UK’s only retailer and hire outlet for packrafts is based in Aviemore. Andy Toop runs Back Country and he offers wonderful journeys over water and land via packrafting.
Packrafts can be packed up to be carried to your back and then inflated at an area of water for paddling.
You can hire a packraft and explore yourself but Andy knows some of the best spots.
10 Wild swimming
One of the UK’s fastest growing outdoor sports, wild swimming is all about finding a quiet loch or river for a swim in open water. You can wear a wetsuit or “skins” (that’s your swimming costume only) and enjoy a dip in the water. It’s a good idea to go with a friend or two for safety.
If you are just starting out, Loch Morlich is a good place for you first swim. There is a sandy beach for access to the water. And after that you can explore and find your own places. There are plenty of places to find information on-line, too. Take a look at Wild swimming Highlands for a few ideas.
11 Adventures in the trees
12 Rock climbing
The Cairngorms area has a wide variety of easily accessible multi-pitch climbs. For example, Creag Dubh at nearby Newtonmore is one of Scotland’s biggest “roadside” crags with plenty of options if you are already a relatively skilled climber.
Other options can be found on the website UKC.
13 Snow time
When the snow comes it’s possible to ski, snowboard, ski tour and snowshoe in the Cairngorm mountains. Check out the Cairngorm Mountain ski centre.
14 Trains, planes and ospreys
There are too many activities to mention in one article but families will find there is more than enough to do for a two-week break.
Trains: Strathspey Railways offers steam train rides between Aviemore and Boat of Garten. You could buy a return ticket or get off at Boat and walk back along the Speyside Way.
Planes: Experience a glider flight at the Cairngorm Glider Club, at Feshiebirdge, just along the road from Laggganlia.
Trial flights are available at weekends and sometimes during the week, in a two-seater, dual-control gliders. A qualified instructor will fly you over the Cairngorm Mountains and demonstrate how to fly the glider. You will get to take the controls too and try out your flying skills.
And ospreys: A wildlife boat trip on Loch Insch is a good bet for seeing ospreys. On the day that we visited the ospreys were feeding their young in the nest high above our heads.
Book your accommodation at Lagganlia, Feshiebridge, near Aviemore, and enjoy a 20% discount.