Horse Riding in the Central Highlands of Scotland


The Cairngorms are located in the Central Highlands of Scotland with the national park attracting visitors from all over the world every year. The area boasts one of the highest mountain ranges in Britain, forests, moorland, rivers and lochs. The Cairngorms is a terrific place for horse riding and trekking with many centres providing hacks and treks to suit all ages and abilities of rider. Let's take a look at what we consider are two of the best of these riding centres in the Cairngorms in more detail.

Newtonmore Riding Centre, Newtonmore Inverness-shire

Newtonmore Riding Centre

Riding and trekking has been offered at Newtonmore since 1952, while this family run business has been breeding horses for decades. Some of the trails offered here were originally cattle trails, while pony trekking in the Cairngorms is said to have begun here. Newtonmore is one of eight centres in the Cairngorms that work as a group and offer riding all year round in all weathers.

The Cairngorms Riding for the Disabled is based at Newtonmore while they are also involved in Highland Pony Heritage related events. Newtonmore village is famous too as it was used as the backdrop for The Monarch of the Glen drama series. The village boasts great places to stay, along with other activities such as sailing, skiing and hill walking.

Newtonmore Pony Trekking Video

Riding and Hacking

Pony trekking and riding here is very popular due to the centres superb location and its great facilities. Rides begin at one hour long and range from two or three hours through to half a day or a full days riding. Riders who are beginners are advised to book a one and half hour session in order to receive some instruction plus the staff can also assess visitors riding skills too. Newtonmore welcomes riders who are new to the sport right through to experienced riders with treks involving walking or sometimes if the ground allows some trotting.

Those who wish to join in a hacking ride must be experienced riders who have a certain amount of ability. This is due to the fact that hacking here involves cantering with the rides concentrating on the riding rather than walking along taking in the breath-taking views. Riders who are more interested in the scenery are best advised to join a trek rather than a hack. Whether it's hacking or trekking you desire Newtonmore provide both therefore riders of all abilities can enjoy their favourite pastime with ease.

Those participating in rides may borrow a riding hat if necessary, while Newtonmore recommends riders come equipped with lightweight waterproof gear as the weather in Scotland can be very changeable. Saddle bags and backpacks may also be borrowed by riders joining a trek but riders must wear well-made waterproof riding boots. A high visibility top is always useful although should you forget to bring one Newtonmore can lend Hi-Vis tabards out.

Further Activities and Facilities

Newtonmore Riding Centre has recently refurbished its stables and offers a large floodlit outdoor ménage along with a smaller indoor arena. Due to the centres location trekking and trails are easily accessed, while on cooler days there is a hayloft area with Wi-Fi connection where riders can relax with a warm drink or merely chat to other riders. The covered yard is used for teaching how to care for horses and other horsey activities, while the round pen area is great for training horses.

Themed Rides

Newtonmore will arrange a themed ride if that’s what you have in mind. These rides are organised for groups and can be themed from an entirely amusement point of view or something more serious it's up to the group. Children's group rides are not only fun but educational too as the surrounding nature and wildlife feature heavily in the ride.

Stag and Hen Parties

Stag and hen parties or work parties are also welcomed at Newtonmore as are birthday celebrations too with parties arranged to suit children and adults alike. Kids will love the horsey activities and games, while they also get to ride a horse too, while adults can ride, have a barbecue or enjoy some other kind of celebration. Simply let staff know what it is you're after and they will endeavour to please.

Working Holidays

Working and Learning holidays can be booked at Newtonmore with activities such as carriage riding offered where visitors can view the countryside in the comfort of an open carriage. The carriages seat up to five persons and cost around £35.00 per hour. Carriage driving lessons are also catered for with drivers taking the reins of a four wheel marathon carriage.


Kids love learning to ride with many having dreamt of owning their own pony therefore booking riding lessons for would be riders is a great way to treat the kids while they gain social skills as a result too. A saddle club is run every weekend morning for the little ones except for the first Saturday and Sunday of the month when the Pony Club Rally is held.

Upcoming Events

Newtonmore hold many events all year through with a number of great events coming up over the Easter period. A Mini Stable Day will be held on April 2nd from 10am to 1pm. Kids will learn how to care for their pony as well as participating in a ride. There will also be a Full Day Trail Ride held from 10am to 4pm on Sunday April 7th. The route crosses the River Spey, under the A9 then passes Ballachroan and Strone. All this is for the reduced price of £80.00. Further half day trails costing £50.00, Mini Stable Days, Saddle Club and Pony Clubs will be held throughout April. Further details regarding all these and other events can be found at the Newtonmore Website.

Accommodation in Newtonmore

The Glen Hotel

Glen Hotel

The Glen Hotel is a family run Edwardian hotel located in Newtonmore not far from the riding centre. The hotel offers spectacular views from its rooms, while all rooms come complete with Sky TV, Wi-Fi, Egyptian cotton linens, hospitality tray and en-suite facilities. This superb hotel also offers evenings of live music and pub quizzes for guests to enjoy after a busy day in the saddle.

Glen Hotel Room

The Glen Hotel also features a fabulous bar that has been awarded CAMRA pub of the year on no less than five occasions, an a la carte restaurant, packed lunches, free parking and meeting and banqueting facilities. The hotel website features a range of packages plus those who book the hotel directly online will receive a 10% discount.

Eagle View Guest House

Eagle View

The Eagle View Guest House is admired for its peaceful location and amazing views by guests who stay here, while this lovely guest house is situated conveniently for those who wish to visit the Newtonmore Riding Centre. This superb guest house rates very well when it comes to reviews on both Trip Advisor and and once we take a look at the beautiful rooms and facilities offered here we can see why.

Eagle View Room

Eagle View offers delicious home cooked fare including a full Scottish breakfast and dinner, while their rooms are beautifully decorated offering superb comfort and relaxation. Room amenities include

  • Flat screen TV
  • DVD player
  • Hospitality tray
  • Hairdryer
  • En-suite facilities
  • Twin or double rooms

What better way to unwind than by spending the evening in front of a real log fire in the Eagle View Guest House lounge. Guests are welcomed by staff serving complimentary tea or coffee with a spot of home baking thrown in for good measure. Now that is a warm welcome and great service! Off road parking is also provided. Why not visit their website to take a look at the Eagle View's special offers and deals?

  • Newtonmore Riding Centre
  • Biallid Farm
  • Fort William Road
  • Newtonmore
  • Inverness shire
  • PH20 1BP
  • Tele 01540 670000

Glen Tanar Estate Aboyne Aberdeenshire

Glen Tanar Estate

The Glen Tanar Estate is situated in Royal Deeside within the Cairngorms National Park. Those who wish to combine a riding and trekking holiday with other activities while staying in amazing accommodation in the area will be more than pleased with what Glen Tanar has to offer.  Whether it is visiting the twenty five thousand acre estate to enjoy one of their many activities, including riding, or simply staying in one of their self-catering cottages for that well-earned break visitors will not be disappointed.

Riding and Hacking

Glen Tanar offers great riding treks and hacks for participants to enjoy, while the location riders will pass through is one of outstanding natural beauty meaning the scenery here is to die for too. Imagine riding along beautiful river banks, wooded areas and fabulous mountain trails while meeting some of the most amazing wildlife such as red squirrels and roe deer that inhabit this area.

There is a choice of rides to consider being either one hour long or two hours long. The one hour ride passes along the loch, through the woods then along the Tanar Water. The two hour ride crosses the river into woodland then goes up into the mountains where the best views will be found so don't forget your camera! These more sedate rides are great for those less experienced riders.

The centre also organises hacks, while these rides are not for the faint hearted and are for experienced riders only. Hacks pass over much more rugged terrain as riders would expect and offer great excitement for those willing to participate. Accompanying staff are well qualified, while horses and ponies here are well trained and offered according to a rider's ability.

Further Activities and Facilities


Private lessons are also offered at Glen Tanar, who also boast a covered arena, therefore lessons can be carried out even during inclement weather. Regular riders are offered a discount here but even casual riders simply visiting the area are offered reasonable rates at Glen Tanar.

Outdoor Pursuits

Glen Tanar Estate also offers a further range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy as well as riding. Once you have participated in the treks or hacks you may be interested in engaging in one of the following activities.

  • Salmon fishing on the River Dee where fishing is done on a catch release basis
  • Trout fishing on the loch, while Brown Trout must be released back into the loch if caught
  • Cycling and Mountain Biking
  • Walking the most amazing routes that Deeside has to offer
  • Deer Stalking
  • Corporate Events

Accommodation on Glen Tanar Estate

The Cottages

Glen Tanar Cottages

Now we know we can enjoy our riding and trekking at Glen Tanar but what type of accommodation is offered for those who also wish to stay on the estate? There are eight self-catering cottages to choose from sleeping from two person's right up to eleven meaning large groups or families are catered for here.

Glen Tanar Cottages Rooms

All the cottages are unique but all are well equipped and furnished to an extremely high standard. Imagine returning after a day's riding to relax in such ambient surroundings. Some cottage amenities include

  • Kitchen with Cooker, Fridge, Microwave, Washing Machine
  • Living Room TV, DVD, CD player
  • Bathroom
  • Garden Storage for Bikes
  • Gardens with Patio and Barbecue
  • Parking for Cars

Visitors can book their accommodation online at the website or over the phone if preferred. Simply decide which cottage interests you, fill in the dates required and you will be furnished with the dates available.

Struan Hall Near Glen Tanar Estate

Glen Tanar Struan Hall

Struan Hall is located in Aboyne not far from the Glen Tanar Estate therefore those who are unable to secure accommodation in the estate cottages may wish to consider this fabulous family run guest house as an alternative. The building itself looks very grand indeed, while the interior of the guest house is equally impressive. Twin, double or single rooms are available to book, while all rooms are spacious and offer en-suite facilities with the single room boasting a superb luxury bathroom.

Complimentary robes and toiletries are provided in the bathrooms, while Wi-Fi, iPod docking and digital TV's are also provided. All rooms are beautifully decorated with neutral colours that are also prevalent in the linens and accessories, while the complimentary hospitality tray features home baked biscuits for guests to enjoy.

Glen Tanar Struan Hall Room

Here at Struan a full Scottish breakfast is served daily or maybe you would prefer smoked salmon for breakfast? Guests who do will find no end of choices on the breakfast menu here plus special diets can be catered for. Simply let staff know what it is you require. Packed lunches are also offered at Struan for those who request them with homemade fare such as pates and breads among the treats included on the packed lunch menu.

  • Glen Tanar Estate
  • Brooks House
  • Glen Tanar
  • Aboyne
  • Aberdeenshire
  • AB34 5EU
  • Tele + 44 0 13398 86451

Tomintoul Riding Centre Banffshire

Tomintoul Riding Centre

Tomintoul Riding Centre is located in the Cairngorms National Park in the Central Highlands of Scotland. Established in 1992 the centre caters for riders of all abilities and ages meaning there is a horse and ride suitable for most visitors. Tomintoul Riding Centre is also approved by the Trekking and Riding Society of Scotland.

Riding and Hacking

Tomintoul offers fabulous riding holidays where visitors will spend between five and six hours a day in the saddle. The trails the centre chooses to follow are best suited to the more experienced rider as they trek over some fairly rough landscapes away from public highways. Riders will have the opportunity to engage in some cantering across amazing countryside in groups of up to eight people.

Riders who wish to sign up for these holidays will be required to demonstrate their riding skills as these rides are not suitable for novice riders. Riders need to be fit too as they will be in the saddle for most of the day plus this riding can be demanding both emotionally and physically to participants. Riding hats can be provided for those without, while bringing along some warm clothing and waterproofs is advised as the weather can turn inclement at times.

Further Activities and Facilities


One hour treks or half day treks are offered here at Tomintoul as well as all day rides. All these rides are accompanied by qualified staff that will ensure riders have an enjoyable but safe experience. Tomintoul provide friendly well trained horses for visitors to ride. Many ponies have a gentle nature that is well suited to beginners, while thoroughbred or Arabian origin horses are here for the more accomplished rider.


Six Day Trail Riding Holidays cost £900.00 and includes seven night's bed and breakfast plus evening meal and six days riding plus lunch, while bar drinks are not included in the price as well as transfers that can be arranged at extra cost. Family or group packages are offered at reduced cost.

  • A One Hour ride costs £28.00
  • A Half Day Ride costs £45.00
  • Full Day Trail Ride £75.00

Winter Loan of Horses

There is a choice of ten different horses that Tomintoul are willing to hire out over the winter months. Each horse or pony is described in detail at the Tomintoul website, while further details of prices and terms may be accessed by ringing the telephone number supplied.

Accommodation Near Tomintoul

Argyle Guest House Tomintoul

Argyle Guest House

Argyle Guest House is ideally located in Tomintoul for those who are visiting the riding centre. Built in 1891 accommodation here is excellent with Argyle offering twin rooms, double rooms, triple rooms and last but not least family rooms. Most of the rooms are en-suite with just two rooms sharing a bathroom on one floor. All rooms are tastefully decorated and modern plus feature TV's, hospitality trays, iron, ironing board, hair dryer and comfortable bedding and linens, while internet is available in all public areas of the guest house.

Breakfast at the Argyle is served every morning in the dining room with a great selection of home cooked food offered. Menu items include

  • Cereals
  • Continental Selection
  • Home Made Bread
  • Scottish Oats
  • Full Scottish Breakfast
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Veggie Options on Request

Booking online is facilitated at the Argyle website where all the room prices may also be viewed.

  • Tomintoul Riding Centre
  • St Bridget Farm
  • Ballindalloch
  • Tomintoul
  • Banffshire
  • AB37 9HS