Rothiemurchus Forest is a remnant of the ancient Caledonian Forest, and sits within the Cairngorms National Park. Close to Aviemore, it is fairly easy to reach, however it feels like a different world when in amongst the towering pine trees. In 2014, Rothiemurchus Upper Forest (5,700 acres) was sold to Forestry Commission Scotland, for £7.4 million.
The forest is popular for recreation and contains important European wildlife, including the Osprey, Scottish Crossbill, Capercaillie, Crested Tit and the Scottish Wildcat.
Loch an Eilein (loch of the island) reflecting a ruined 13th century island castle helps make this one of the most popular areas in which to walk in Scotland. It was also voted Britain’s Best Picnic Spot in May 2010, and is a stunning setting in which to relax or to do something more active around the loch, such as mountain biking.
There is evidence that Rothiemurchus is a very old human settlement, as the name dates to the 8th Century. The first inhabitants were most likely Picts and Rothiemurchus would have been the centre of the Caledonian Pine Forest.
Much of the forest is within the Rothiemurchus Estate, which has been owned by the Grant family since the 1540s and is now owned and managed by Johnnie Grant, 13th Earl of Dysart and 17th Laird of Rothiemurchus.