In February, schools have a few days off so we decided to go skiing in Aviemore. This is my favourite place in Scotland and I am so glad we got visit again.
How We Got There
We rented a car from Kintyre Hire which is a car rental place in Campbeltown. Our cars aren’t great and we wanted one with good fuel consumption. In total we spent £60 on petrol and £160 on rental for 4 days.
Below you’ll see a map of our journey. It took us around 6 hours each way (including snack breaks).
Where We Stayed
We stayed in the Aviemore Youth Hostel which is about 5 mins walk from the centre of town. We’ve stayed here before and really liked the clean, cosy rooms and large lounge area. The only problem is the limited parking. When we arrived it was totally full because of an outdoor conference so we had to park over an entrance to a nature walk. Also, the woman behind the front desk was a bit abrupt with us. When someone decides to have a fag and shout instructions on how to park our car over and over again it kinda rubs me up the wrong way. Vince moved the car while I seethed.
Where We Ate
The food on this trip! I put on 2kg despite the exercise.
Day 1: We ate in Roo’s Leap on the first night because we had been here in November and though it was pretty nice. We decided to get two starters but in large sizes and it was a bit of a mistake. They were huge. Though they were nice enough to box them for us. We had chilli nachos and loaded potato skins. We had a couple of beers and some small juices (when they say small, they mean small).
Day 2: We went for breakfast in our favourite restaurant – Mountain Cafe. We both had bacon and berry pancakes and I think this is what heaven tastes like.
For lunch we had some sandwiches from Subway. I have never met anyone in the service industry as nice as the two guys in here. We had a voucher for a deal and I was worried that what I wanted wasn’t included but one of the guys just told me to get whatever I want and then he gave is the deal without taking our voucher so we could use it again. We sat outside in the sun and made some black bird friends.
For dinner we decided to try something new. We fancied some Chinese food but the reviews weren’t good so we walked up to La Taverna.
How have we never been to this place before! The Italian is family owned and has a great buzz. We didn’t reserve a table (I would recommend it because it’s busy) but they squeezed us in for an hour. They have a buffet but we decided to go for some small portions of pasta and some side orders. I had dough balls and mushroom spaghetti. Vince had sausage and tomato penne with garlic bread. The small portions were perfect for us. The restaurant felt authentic and reminded us of our holidays in Italy. I’d say this is the sort of place that Disney tries to emulate with their restaurants. We would absolutely go here again.
Day 3: We ate breakfast and lunch at the top of Cairngorm mountain. The cafeteria does pretty decent food but nothing special. We had rolls and sausage and shared a mac’n’cheese with chips. Standard cafeteria food.
For dinner we booked into The Skiing-Doo which is a restaurant we always go to in Aviemore. It was Valentine’s Day so we thought we’d be a little fancier than the burgers. I had Chicken Diane (which was so tasty but could have done with more sauce) and Vince had ribs which fell right off the bone.
After dinner we headed over to The Winking Owl for a drink. The selection of Cairngorm beers is great. A big group of lads came in so we finished our drinks and stopped in at The Cairngorm Hotel. We meant to only have one but there was a quiz on. 3 hours later, we didn’t win but it was great fun. The quizmaster is better than most.
Day 4: We had to go back to The Mountain Cafe for breakfast again. I had an all day breakfast and Vince had Berry and Bacon French Toast. We also got some savoury scones to go.
Unfortunately, lunch came in the form of McDonald’s chips in Fort William.
What We Did
We love to have a wander around the area when we visit. On the first day we drove down the back roads to Kingussie then we went over to Loch Morlich. We visited Rothiemurchus then went for a long walk in Glenmore Forest. Finally, we had a look in all the outdoor shops in Aviemore.
On our second full day in Aviemore, we went skiing in the Cairngorm ski area. We rented our equipment and booked our lift passes from the hire shop at the base of the lifts. Both our ski and snowboarding equipment cost the same, at £60 each for everything.
We arrived at 8am to beat the crowds. Once we had been suited and booted we hopped on the funicular railway. When we reached the top of the mountain it was blowing a gale. I was glad we had brought goggles and face scarves.
The runs were quite patchy and icy. I’ve been skiing since I was 12 but mostly in Europe. I know that I’ve probably been spoiled but it is serious hard work skiing in Scotland. The runs are narrow and even though they were marked as greens, if I had been a beginner, I would not have been able to handle them. I was too worried about hitting bare rock to go fast which made it difficult on my joints. In the end I had to abandon parallel turns through most parts and slow down via snow plow. This is fine when you’re a teenager, but my hips were screaming at me at times.
So here is when my day got pretty embarrassing. Towards 2pm the winds picked up and it became quite dangerous. 60mph gales came straight down the runs and I found it pretty hard to control myself. I stupidly decided to take off my skis and walk down a bit but soon got stuck in the winds. At this point I had a full blown panic attack and had to sit behind a fence until I could calm down (I’m afraid of heights and the winds just made me lose my head). Vince had carried on ahead because he thought I was in front of him. When I panic I get very over dramatic. “If you stay here, you’ll die and then they’ll use your body like a way-marker, like on Everest” I half jokingly told myself. So while I contemplated what my body would be called (there’s someone called “Green Boots” on Everest, you’ll have to be “Pink Jacket”) I managed to get myself up and continued on. About 2 minutes later a passing patroller found me, and decided to take me down on his skidoo. How embarrassing. Can I also say that I never would have actually called someone myself, since I know that they are for emergencies, but he did ask and I must have looked upset enough that he didn’t seem to mind.
Vince met me at the bottom and good-naturedly offered to drive and handed me his hip-flask. Never a dull moment with me around.
On the last day we wound our way back to Campbeltown via Fort William. The holiday was amazing and I’m so glad we have all this within Scotland. For anyone thinking about staying in Britain for a holiday, I would recommend The Cairngorms.