Aviemore Inn in the Aviemore Centre
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Aviemore Inn in the Aviemore Centre

A modern resort town in Strathspey, Highland Council Area, Aviemore lies close to the River Spey, 27 miles (43 km) southeast of Inverness. Once a scattered crofting township, it became the site of an inn, an initiative of the Laird of Grant c.1725, next to the military road that had been built through the area. It was rebuilt and enlarged in 1765-6 by James Grant of Grant for the accommodation of travellers. The English travel writer Sarah Murray (1744 - 1811) visited in 1796 but was unimpressed by this accommodation describing it as "being the worst inn ... that I met with in Scotland", although she was greatly taken by the surrounding scenery. During the 19th Century Aviemore developed as a railway junction when the Highland Railway opened a direct line through to Inverness in 1898. The railway allowed Aviemore to become a centre for logging. By the 1950s skiers and mountaineers began converging here owing to its proximity to the Cairngorm Mountains. Aviemore expanded dramatically in the 1960s in association with the development of skiing facilities and attempts were made to make the town an all-year resort with the building of hotels and other facilities. The Aviemore Centre was developed from 1964 and included accommodation, together with a cinema, craft centre, dry ski slope, ice rink, swimming pool and a theatre. The architecture was utilitarian, soon looking dated and much of the complex was ultimately demolished in the late 1990s to be replaced by the Macdonald Aviemore Resort. The remarkable Santa Claus Land opened in 1975, was demolished in the early 2000s and eventually replaced by a retail park. New hotels have been built to satisfy summer tourists and provide accommodation for winter sports enthusiasts, but there was criticism that local facilities were not replaced. The principal local attraction is now the Strathspey Railway, part of the old Highland line to Forres which was reopened in 1973 by a railway preservation society to provide journeys by steam train. The Cairngorm Brewery was founded on the Dalfaber Industrial Estate in 2000 as the Aviemore Brewery. The Olympians Statue was unveiled on the village green in 2007 to commemorate the disproportionate number of Olympic medal winners who came from Badenoch and Strathspey, while a gold-painted pillar box on Grampian Road commemorates the gold medal won by rower David Smith at the London Paralympics of 2012. A new primary school and community centre opened in 2012, with a roll of 258 pupils. The Rothiemurchus Estate and Glenmore Forest park to the east offer a range of activities from watersports, walking and bird-watching to fishing, canoeing and mountain biking.

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