An ancient district at the heart of the Highlands, including the upper reaches of the River Spey between the Monadhliath Mountains to the west and the Cairngorm Mountains to the East. That part of the Spey valley formerly controlled by the Clan Chattan, the area was also a centre of power for the Comyns and then the Stewarts, of whom the most famous was Alexander Stewart (1343 - 1405), known as the 'Wolf of Badenoch'. Local families also included with the district include the Grants, Gordons, Macintoshes and Macphersons. The 'capital' of Badenoch is Kingussie which lies 3 miles (5 km) northeast of Newtonmore.
The name retained a formal usage in the Badenoch and Strathspey District Council until local government reorganisation in 1995.