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Kingussie >  Google™ Map May 2021  Highland Coat of Arms

cinn head of (at the) + ghiuthsaich Scottish Gaelic pine wood. Population - 1,410.

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May 2021

Highland Coat of Arms

Bang in the centre of the bottom bit of the Scottish Highlands, this just about qualifies as the Cairngorms making for a rollercoaster ride up, down and in on the A9[1].

You can get here by train, as did Victorian toffs at the time, all the way from fancy London and all top-hatted and tittering at all talk of the tossing of cabers, no doubt.

Kingussie Train Station

[1] Which, by the way, is the best road in the UK by at least 250 country miles.

Just outside of the station you'll encounter a fountain, 'gifted' to the town by a local lad done good who'd made a bundle selling Singer™ sewing machines in Brazil, seriously.

Kingussie - MacKenzie Fountain

Some missionary work may have been involved and Peter Alexander Cameron MacKenzie, who couldn't sound any more Scottish save a Hamish, was even awarded the title of the Count de Serra Largo, whatever or wherever that is?

This from the King of Portugal, no less, for 'mysterious' services in South America but as for MacKenzie's benevolent gesture? A little self-indulgent, perhaps, and it's bet the good folk of Kingussie would have preferred some flushing lavs back in 1911.

Kingussie's war memorial commemorates a time not long after that in a green and open space, not that they're short of that in these parts.

Kingussie - Gynack Gardens

This, indeed, looks to be a base for ramblers of a certain age so SlyBob should fit right in, right? They're all kitted out to be off and up into the not-too-strenuous-looking foothills and not just a looping walk to a little, local waterfall but there's no time for neither of those today.

No, there's an RSPB™ reserve nearby and it's gonna need a right good looking at!

  Duke of Gordon Hotel (Newtonmore Road)

Recently re-opened and sizeable operation that's named after the old landowning laird who founded the town. Archie MacDonald is at the bar, haggling over a haunch of venison with which to pay the staff at his debt-ridden estate.

Oh! Hang on! That was Monarch of the Glen and they filmed some of it in here 20 years before the refurbishment.

Heading out south past the train station and under the, quite frankly, magnificent A9, there's something in the distance that could conceivably be a castle?

Near Kingussie - Ruthven Barracks

Ruthven Barracks, however, ain't no castle rather the remarkably intact remains of a very early, 18th-century, erm, barracks.

Constructed under the instruction of General George Wade, he had been sent up to Scotland to sort out the succession of Jacobite Rebellions, which were, quite simply, getting on George I's nerves.

Various ding-dongs ensued ending up with the place set afire by a handful of home supporters following a disappointing home defeat at Culloden.

Near Kingussie - Ruthven Barracks

It can't have been much of a fire, the remnants are essentially the aftermath and Historic Environment Scotland™ will let you in and around for nowt.

Not wishing to skirt around the most important period in Scottish history, probably, that does appear to be what has just happened but there's an RSPB™ reserve nearby, remember?

Near Kingussie - From Ruthven Barracks

There's a hint of the terrain from the back of the barracks looking back at Kingussie, the floodplain of the River Spey, Scotland's fastest flowing and famed provider of salmon and whisky but no, not that kind of pickled herring.

What it is not, however, is a great provider of whistling wildlife with just a solitary duck and what's probably a pigeon, neither shown.

That, however, is down to the unseasonably cold and continuing spring of 2021 and the Insh Marshes RSPB™ Reserve is 10-kms2 of migrating waders and ospreys, when in season.

It's less than a mile from the barracks and also free to wander in and around, donations welcome, and they've even laid on a viewing platform for a closer look at that duck.

Meanwhile, back in Kingussie, things are only starting to reopen after stage whatever it was of you-know-what although, amazingly, the tribal rug importers, seriously, are still trading along there.

There's another 'gift' to the town up on the left, this one a clocktower from a random New Zealander and from where it's a short trot to Boa Vista Road.

The clue's in the name where there's more fine work from the Count de Serra Largo or Peter Alexander Cameron Hamish MacKenzie, remember him? It might just be an unpaved track with four turn-of-the-century cottages, not shown, but one thing's for sure...

They might have them, these days, but it was just a bit too early for the prodigal, Portuguese son to plumb in those flushing lavs.

That's why the good folk of Kingussie had to pretend to be grateful for a fountain.