Feeding Reindeer in Scotland


We were lucky enough to find out about a location to feed reindeer and walk amongst them while on our trip to Scotland in August.  The Cairngorm Reindeer roam through 600 acres of land just outside the town of Aviemore in Cairngorm National Park.  During the summer months (May – September), there are two opportunities during the day to be taken up the mountain to feed the reindeer in the open fields where the reindeer live.  We made our way from Inverness strictly for this experience and it was well worth it (although it was a little bit difficult to find). 

 Scotland - Reindeer Close up

Scotland - Reindeer 2

We made it for the 3:30 pm trip up and were lucky that this tour was led by the owner of the farm.  She was very knowledgeable and was able to fill us in on a great deal of information about the story of the reindeer ending up in Scotland (they are not native to Scotland).  She was so passionate about the reindeer that it was impossible not to catch her enthusiasm and love of these magnificent animals.

Scotland - Owner and her Reindeer

The Owner and her Reindeer.

Scotland - Getting up Close.

Getting up close look!

The funniest part of the entire experience happened when we were walking up through the reindeer field along a wooden pathway towards the location where we fed them.  As we were following this gentle path up the hill, some of the reindeer would join us walking on the wooden walkway.  There we were, a long line of people and reindeer making our way up to the feeding point.  One reindeer kept stopping holding up the line and the others kept bumping us to keep us moving!

Scotland - Reindeer Line-up

Follow the Leader

Scotland - Reindeer Line-up

Back log in the line-up!

There were only 8 people in the group we went with, which made our experience that much more intimate.  To stand there and have the reindeer eat right out of your hand was an amazing experience!!  We were amazed how friendly the reindeer were as we stood amongst them.  They would come and stand right next to you with the huge antlers brushing up against your cheek.  The experience was also not rushed as we had about 20 minutes of feeding time plus more at the end just to simply observe these gentle creatures.

 Scotland - Tracy Reindeer Feeding

Scotland - Evan Reindeer Feeding 1

We were surrounded by about 50 reindeer which included grown males (bulls), females (cows) and even some calves.  We were told that early in the summer there are some young calves that are in amongst the herd while you were feeding (that would be a fantastic thing to see), but the calves we saw were a little older (and larger). 


Scotland - Reindeer Everywhere

Reindeer Everywhere!

Scotland - Reindeer - Evan feeding

They love to EAT!

Scotland - Reindeer Calf

Reindeer Calf

One warning, the walk up is through a small wooded area by a creek.  If you go soon after a rain, there can be massive swarms of midges that attack like crazy!  Evan was bitten at least 50 times on his legs and hands in 30 minutes by these little bugs, because we did not even think about bug spray.  The midges were not out in the reindeer fields luckily, so we did not have to worry about them anywhere, except on the walk up.  But if you do decide to go, bring bug spray to be prepared for bugs (because it does rain sometimes in Scotland 😉 ). 

What is the strangest animal you have had an up close experience with?



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6 Responses to Feeding Reindeer in Scotland

  1. Oh guys, these reindeers look so cute and innocent. Aren’t they? Surrounded by 50 of them? I’m so jealous. The photos look lovely!
    Agness recently posted..Postcards from Koh Phangan, South-East ThailandMy Profile

    Agness November 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm Reply
    • Thanks Agness!

      It truly was such an amazing experience to be surrounded by some many of these cute, friendly animals! We hope that you do have the opportunity to experience it for yourselves some time.

      evan&tracy November 14, 2012 at 9:53 pm Reply
  2. They look gorgeous. I had no idea reindeer farms even existed. I heard someone say that their antlers regrow, but looking at your pictures they look pretty permanent to me. I will have to add this to my bucket list.
    Happy adventures,
    Cybele x

    Cybele @ BlahBlah Magazine December 5, 2012 at 3:01 am Reply
    • Thank you for your comment, Cybele. This was a beautiful herd with an amazing area to roam in the rugged Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland. It was amazing to see them on the hillside out in the open and not penned in to a small enclosure. 🙂 We were told while visiting that the reindeer do lose and then regrow their antlers every year and each year they are able to grow bigger and bigger antlers with more points. Some of the older males had quite an impressive set of antlers that they liked to show you up close!

      evan&tracy December 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm Reply
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