Loch Insh Outdoor Centre

(Cairngorm Canoeing and Sailing School, Loch Insh Watersports)

A sizeable sports and leisure centre on the northeastern shore of Loch Insh in Upper Speyside, the Loch Insh Outdoor Centre provides includes facilities for watersports, winter sports, with accommodation for groups and families undertaking courses and on holiday. Opened as the Cairngorm Canoeing and Sailing School in 1969, on a beach bought from the Alvie & Insh Parish Church, the centre was founded by sports instructor Clive Freshwater (1939 - 2015) and his family. It was soon able to expand when the adjacent former village hall was purchased and converted into an accommodation block. Insh Hall remains, serving as the main accommodation hostel for groups of up to 100. Watersports include sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, with associated training courses. Freshwater had to fight local fishing interests to establish his right to take canoe groups along the Spey, a case which reached the House of Lords. A large stone and timber boat house, restaurant and bar was built next to the loch and, in 2005, HRH The Princess Royal opened the enlarged facility, now named Loch Insh Watersports. Thirteen timber chalets were added to the centre, which also includes a short dry ski-slope, archery facility and the Ptarmigan Dome, which serves as a meeting and function room. The centre now offers winter skiing and snowboarding courses in addition to water-based activities.

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