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Though our group never strays more than 5km from my base in the Highland town of Aviemore, the scenery suggests we’ve been teleported to Canada. I bike over forest trails gnarled with roots, then paddle across Locah an Eilein, where I’m filled with a surging sense of peace – the sky blue and cloudless, sun bouncing off bright snow-white mountains, and pine forests fanning out across the splendid silence.

We finish up paddling down the Spey to the Old Bridge Inn pub, where a woman is so taken with the image of our brightly coloured boats with bikes strapped on, she starts filming us. Comically flimsy as these crafts may look, however, my tutors Andy and Rob – both Brits brought to Aviemore by (a) the outdoors and (b) the cake – have taken them (successfully) white-water rafting.

My final day in Aviemore is spent ziplining 1km of wires over a gorge – which, compared to the previous days’ activities, proves agreeably tame. I’m still yet to meet a Scot native this weekend, and today’s guide, Charlie, is no exception. Once a salesman in London, he tells me that he came up here for a holiday and never went home. It doesn’t seem to be an uncommon experience in this town – you have been warned.

Rivertubing starts at about £45pp with Full On Adventure
Two-to-five day bikerafting tours start at £245pp with Backcountry Biking Ziplining costs £25pp with G2 Outdoor

Getting There

Catch the Caledonian Sleeper train from London Euston to Aviemore with Scotrail from £62.90 one way.

Eat Drink Sleep

The menu at the Old Bridge Inn is easily the best in town – the braised Iberian pork cheeks are sublime. An inventive programme of live music (brass-band-funk when we were there) means it’s always buzzing
on weekends. Mains from £10.
The Potting Shed tea room has been named one of the top 10 places to eat cake in the UK. We love the White Lady (sponge layered with apricots and cream and covered in marzipan). Tea and a slice from £5.
The food at Skiing-Doo is disappointing, but folk consistently flock here, which means the basement bar (Doo Below) is always lively. Pints from £2.90. (9 Grampian Road, PH22 1RH. Tel. 01479 810392)
The Cairngorm Hotel is a relaxed spot for a beer and some banter. Pints from £3.
The Inshriach Yurt on the sprawling Inshriach Estate is a quirkily romantic way to glamp. From £70pn.
The Aviemore Bunkhouse offers self-catering dorms from £17pn. Doubles also available.

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Adventure Scotland: rivertubing and biking in Cairngorms National Park
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