My favourite road is the a9 just as you pass Dunkeld – the trees make you think that you’re entering a different country, the scenery changes. It’s the best feeling, knowing that you’re going on holiday. Our choice just to holiday in Britain – mostly Scotland – until the kids are older was the best decision and we’re starting to find amazing places that we hadn’t spent any time in and they’re so close to our us. I’m saying the road changes at Dunkeld, but keep driving about 45 minutes and then the road changes all over again, the Cairngorm mountains come into your view and it makes it hard to believe that you’re still in Scotland, but easy to believe why we were voted the most beautiful country.
The only reason that Scotland lets us down, is the weather, but Aviemore’s weather is quite different from the lower lands. It doesn’t rain, it snows – perfect for skiing, and in summer although it rains sometimes, it keeps its cool for walkers. It really is an all year round place. I feel like I keep going to places that I could live, but that’s a good thing. We were crunching figures, looking at maps, wondering – could we move here?! Seeing so many lodges in the mountains really does make you dream.
We actually stayed inside Aviemore, just on the outskirts, at the end of a beautiful culdesac, high up and overlooking the Cairngorms. The house was fantastic, we stayed here. Unbelievably it’s got me thinking for our future house to be a new build if you can design it like this one, which is the complete opposite of what we’ve always dreamed of. Our old cottage that we’ll start again from scratch. Perhaps this is not the way to go. This house had 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and another cinema room off the living room for the kids, it was perfect; although the thing that made it most perfect was the fact that it had a hot tub. I’m not much of a spa goer and a don’t pamper myself much, but I went outside, in the snow and got in this hot tub, our friend brought me a gin and tonic, and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so relaxed.
This relaxation stopped quickly, remembering the kids and the next plan we had to make, but luckily Aviemore has so much to do round about it there wasn’t any stress. Sledging on Cairngorm was fantastic, the kids loved it, although my eldest was a bit scared so I took over her sledge, it then became an adults sledging party when the kids stood watching and making snowballs to throw for the dogs. After, to get warmed up we just came back to the house then took the dogs for a walk round about; there are so many gorgeous places to walk.
The Highland safari park was fantastic for the children, although this time we came to the ticket office and the attendant spotted the dogs – no dogs. No dogs even in the cars with you going back to the cars to let them out. Cross contamination or some reason. Understandable. So that was me, I jumped at the chance to take the dogs for a walk with no buggy and without dragging an unhappy child. Bliss. Animals are so relaxing. It’s a shame we couldn’t have left them in the house, the lab would have been fine, but unfortunately our stressed out rescue is untrustworthy in anything other than our car floor. She knows it, she’s comfortable, she understands we’re coming back; anywhere else, she freaks.
With children it’s good to have a small plan, but if you don’t do something big everyday it’s not a problem, especially since there were 3 playing off each other and tiring each other out, staying up late. Aviemore helped us with that, the forests and the lochs around were amazing. Free stuff for when you just need them to run around and tire themselves out. Loch An Eilein was the most beautiful place for the adults with a gorgeous ruined castle in the middle of the Loch– what a view. The loch, the small castle, a forest, then the Cairngorms. It was awesome. The kids were entertained and the dogs were entertained running in and out of the water, just what you need, unfortunately you don’t need the kids to follow the dogs, but of course that’s what happens, in the freezing weather, what better a thing can you do when you don’t have towels.
We’re already planning our return trip. The Cairngorms have stolen my heart.