70th Anniversary Celebration: Saturday 8th / Sunday 9th October 2022

Update: 4/10/22

Booking information and last minute updates!

Much of the weekend’s activities will be free of charge and will require no booking, but some things DO need to be booked beforehand. Places for these are LIMITED and first come, first served, so please do so as soon as you can! To book in, you will need to either phone or email us (contact details at the top of the page) – unfortunately we can’t provide online booking on this occasion (too complicated!). We appreciate you’ve already indicated that you wish to attend the weekend – but this booking stage is important now so we have exact numbers for the activities which have limited capacity.

As usual in these times, if you do have symptoms of COVID / a positive test result at the time of the weekend, please don’t attend and please also drop us a message to let us know you need to cancel so we can release your tickets to others.

General info

The forecast is currently looking fairly questionable, and likely to be cold, wet and very windy at some point of the weekend at least – summer is a distant memory here now. Bring your waterproofs (inc overtrousers if possible) and lots of warm clothes, including hats and gloves too. Dry socks also recommended! There’s nothing worse than being slightly chilly or damp all day… If you are going to take part in a Hill Trip/Open Hill on the Saturday or visit the farm on the Sunday – wellies/hiking boots are ESSENTIAL!  (Not just for your own comfort but for safety too, we can’t let you take part in a Hill Trip without the right footwear – they must have a good tread/grip on the bottom).

Another good idea is to bring binoculars! Some of the reindeer on the hill here at Cairngorm may be visible only in the distance, and you’ll get a better look at some of the shyer animals at the farm, such as the fallow deer, if you have binoculars.

We know you’ll all be keen to see your adopted reindeer and we will attempt to have as many reindeer in the ‘correct’ location to see their adopters. We hope you understand that we’ll do our best but it won’t be possible in every case!  This year the weekend is right in the middle of the rutting season, so bulls and most females will only be visible in the distance/over a fence, and some females will still be out free-ranging on the mountains and not visible at all. Our ‘Christmas reindeer’ should all be visible, either here at Cairngorm or at the farm. You’re very welcome to get in touch in the last few days before the weekend to check where ‘your’ reindeer is.

Something else to be aware of – especially if you have visited us in the past – is that we have now stopped allowing people to stroke/pat or touch the reindeer. This change happened during the first lockdown, and the reindeer were so much more relaxed around visitors that it has become a permanent rule – we are very aware that it might be disappointing not to be allowed to touch them if you have done so in the past, but the reindeer’s comfort and welfare is our priority.

We’d love to hear some of your favourite memories from the past 70 years of reindeer in Scotland – whether you first met the herd this year or back in the 50s! Do you have copies of photos you can bring and share? Or the story of a treasured encounter? Have a think and bring anything along with you when you visit. We’ll have a pin board for people to pin up pics (write your name/address on the back if you want them returned!).

Saturday 8th October – Reindeer House, Glenmore

Open from 8.30am – 5pm

Guided Hill Trips to meet and feed the herd up on the hill at 9am and 11am. This is the recommended option for those who have not visited the herd up on the mountains before. Learn all about the herd from the herders, have a chance to feed a reindeer by hand; plus loads of excellent photo opportunities! Tickets need to be booked in advance.

From 1pm – 3pm (ish) we will have an ‘Open Hill’ where you can walk up in your own time to the enclosure on the mountain. This is aimed at those who have been multiple times before and just want to see the reindeer without listening to too much talk about the biology of reindeer as a species, our history etc, so instead a herder will meet you at the gate for the obligatory health and safety info, and other herders will be present to chat and introduce you to the reindeer. Tickets need to be booked in advance.

Please make sure to ‘check in’ in the Centre (at least 20 minutes before the 9am/11am Trips) to let us know you’ve arrived and to collect your parking ticket – even if you’ve been heaps of times before and are going on the Open Hill afternoon session. One Hill Trip/Open Hill ticket is free per adoption – there will be the usual charge for extra people: £20 for adults, £17.50 for concessions and £15 for children.

Throughout the day:

The Paddocks and Exhibition at the Centre will be open all day. A small group of reindeer to view, plus our exhibition to browse. Learn all about the history of our herd, and about reindeer as a species. Kids (and adults!) can make their own antlers and complete a fun quiz.

Walk to Utsi’s hut in Glenmore Forest. Built by Mikel Utsi who reintroduced the reindeer to Scotland, the hut is made of the crates that carried the original consignment of reindeer on the boat in 1952. The walk is about 1 hour each way through beautiful Caledonian Pine Forest – pick up a map from the Centre.

Sleigh-pulling training sessions throughout the day at the Centre, no set times (yet) but they will be quite regular – probably the first being around 10am. This will show you how we train our male ‘Christmas Reindeer’ to harness for Christmas parades.

Try your hand at some Lassoing practice – although not with a real reindeer!

Silent auction for TV star Holy Moley’s 2021 antler. She only grows one antler annually so that makes it twice as rare as those belonging to other reindeer!

Guess the weight of Sunny, the reindeer calf we are hand-rearing, for a wee donation with a chance of winning a prize!

Our shop will be open all day for a spot of retail therapy! Many of our products are handmade locally and we have a range of all sorts, from decorations to fridge magnets to books to soft toys. Not forgetting our two excellent 2023 calendars which will both be available – one calendar featuring lovely reindeer, and one (charity) calendar featuring lovely reindeer and lovely reindeer herders – wearing somewhat less than normal (the herders, not the reindeer)…

Our very special (limited edition) gin, produced by Cairngorm Gin and made using lichen as one of the botanical ingredients, will be available for sale too. Try a wee sip, plus some other exciting tipples!

Early evening talk at Glenmore Lodge by Tilly Smith at 5.30pm and 6.30pm. Hot drinks/biscuits will be available from 5pm – 7pm. Glenmore Lodge unfortunately isn’t serving meals at the moment and the bar is closed.  There is a limited amount of parking at the Lodge, so if as many people as possible can park near the Reindeer Centre in Glenmore and walk along (around ½ mile) or car share that would really help. There is a path following the road so no need to walk on the road itself – but bring a torch! Tickets need to be booked in advance.

While no food is available at the Reindeer Centre, there are two cafes in Glenmore within 300 metres, plus we will have basic facilities for hot drinks at the Centre on the day (if you have a reusable takeaway cup, do bring it along!). The Pine Marten Bar in Glenmore is offering a 10% discount on Saturday (on food, coffee and cake) if you let them know you’re attending the Adopter’s Weekend! They serve food throughout the day.

Sunday 9th October – Balcorrach Farm

Open from 10am – 5pm. Wellies/walking boots needed!

All activities free of charge, small fee for refreshments (or bring a picnic) but we would like to know numbers of attendees in advance.

Self-guided walking tours throughout the day to meet the farm inhabitants. As well as seeing the ‘other half’ of the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd there are also Belted Galloway cattle, Soay sheep, Iron Age pigs, Red Deer and Fallow Deer and much more! For those with limited mobility we will endeavour to take you up to see the animals in the buggy (similar to a quad bike!)– please let us know in advance that you’ll require this.

There will be Reindeer Herders around the farm all day to introduce you to the reindeer, and information boards alongside the other animals.

BBQ from 1pm onwards using produce from the farm. We will also have a veggie soup option, tea and coffee. You’re also welcome to bring a picnic. As with Saturday, we will have basic facilities for hot drinks too (so again, if you have a reusable takeaway cup, bring it along!).

Try your hand at some Lassoing practice – although not with a real reindeer!

Meat produced at the farm will be available to buy – bring a freezer bag! Don’t worry, we don’t cull any of our reindeer for meat. We’ll also have a small selection of our shop stock available for those who can’t make it along to the Reindeer Centre on the Saturday. We don’t have a card machine here, so please bring cash for purchases!

Locally made wood turned products to buy, plus we’ll hopefully have a small selection of shop stock from the Reindeer Centre available.

The Silent auction and Guess the weight stuff from the Saturday will be brought over to the farm, so that anyone attending Sunday only doesn’t miss out on these.

Please note that the Reindeer Centre itself will be closed from 11am onwards on Sunday 9th October (after the Hill Trip departs) so all of us herders can scoot over to help at the farm.

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