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Birdwatching Explaining Scotland Suggested things to do Wildlife and nature

You’ve probably heard that the Funicular Railway on Cairngorm Mountain is closed for now and will probably remain closed for some time to come as there has been no hint of when it will be up and running again. Not to worry though, there are ways around it.

Really it shouldn’t impact on your stay in the Cairngorms at all, but you might need to postpone your plans for a wedding at the Ptarmigan restaurant.

ben macdui summit walk

Deep in the Cairngorms National park. What a view!

How will the ski season work without the funicular?

Cairngorm Mountain are still running a ski season. Season passes and tickets have been reduced as access to the slopes is more limited without the funicular uplift. Skiers need to be prepared for an 8 minute walk to the tow bars. For beginners there has been snow machine snow and magic carpets from the official start of the season in December.

Of course, the funicular is not necessary and never has been to access all the winter activities you could participate in. All winter walking and winter skills courses are running as normal and it is even approaching time for snow hole expeditions after the recent snow days.

Cairngorm Ski Area

How to access Cairngorm Mountain without the funicular?

The funicular is just a train. It has allowed people to get up near the top of Cairngorm i.e. to the Ptarmigan restaurant. However, there has always been a visitor management plan in place. The plan means that if you use the train to go up on the mountain, then you are restricted to the Ptarmigan centre at the top. You are not permitted to get out and explore the greater mountain area. The only way of accessing the mountain at all was to book a guided walk to the top.

This summer these options potantially won’t be open to you – but you can plan around ahead for that possibility. Here are some possible alternatives:

  1. Buy a walker’s map of the area (either the OS maps 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 or Harveys maps). We sell the Landranger OS Map (sheet 36) here at Fraoch Lodge. If you are a strong navigator, you can take yourself to the top of Cairngorm. You’ll start at the ski car park. There are many different routes you can take – some more interesting than others, but you can head get up to the summit in about 2 hours. However, the most direct is likely to be the least interesting and have the fewest number of wildlife spotting possibilities.
  2. Book a guided walk with the Cairngorm Ranger Service.
  3. Book a private guide.
  4. Join Scot Mountain Holidays on a guided walk to Cairngorm Summit and if you’re feeling really fit we’re also heading over to Ben Macdui on Sunday. This is the first time that we’re opening up the opportunity to join Andy to a wider audience. Pre-booking is essential and we’re offering transport from Aviemore so if you’ve come up by train, this might be your most convenient option to do a long hike on Cairngorm. There are only a few places available. Please enquire

Why access Cairngorm Mountain now the funicular isn’t running?

There are still many reasons to go to Cairngorm when you’re in the area. Just because there’s no train or restaurant at the top, doesn’t mean that there aren’t still compelling reasons to include it in your list of things to do.

family walks in the Cairngorms

A family day out on the summit of Cairngorm (with diversions to hunt for snow)

We look forward to seeing you out in the Cairngorms. Remember not having the train up is not necessarily a bad thing. Making your own way to the top will give you a far greater sense of achievement and well-being.

Family Advenutre Holidays Scotland

Family Adventure Holidays in the Cairngorms

Why come to the Cairngorms with your family?

A family adventure holiday in Scotland

It’s very easy to be complacent about your surroundings when you live permanently in a beautiful place. The scenery becomes mundane and the choice of things to do “boring” because they are options open to you every day. When visitors arrive, it’s different. They don’t have the option of postponing their activities to next week; next month or next year. They want to enjoy themselves now and see and do as much as they possibly can. Here in the Cairngorms you’re almost spoilt for choice no matter what age you/your kids are. The beauty of our natural environment here in the Cairngorms is perfect for a family adventure holiday.

The myths

“It’s always wet.”

“It’s so cold.”

pre-school_families_blog.jpgIt is a wee bit cooler here than in the balmy climate of London and the South Coast. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t have the snow in winter, the reindeer living here year round; nor the polar bears in the Highland Wildlife Park as well as the Amur Tigers. (Both the polar bears and the Amur Tigers are cold climate dwellers.) However, we also have a drier climate than the west coast of Scotland and Glasgow and also can be a lot drier than in the Midlands.

If Wimbledon had been played in our local tennis club this year, we wouldn’t have had the same rain delays as at the All England Club. In fact this year, despite the moans of gardeners in England, it looks as if our own garden is going to be the most productive it has been for a long time. Plums, apples, strawberries, red currants and raspberries are all coming along nicely ready for the prime summer holiday season. (Rhubarb has been a bumper crop and is already transformed into Rhubarb Crumble ice cream and Rhubarb and Vanilla jam.)

Part one: A Pre-School Family

There’s many a parent gets stuck after the birth of their child. The challenge of just surviving the day is too much to allow for anything else in their lives. The baby is the central focus of their lives and all previously enjoyed pass-times take a back seat. Unfortunately this can then give rise to a lot of resentment as time passes on and the new mother takes on the identity of “Mum” but feels that she is losing her own identity.

Everyone needs something to look forward to and as the old saying goes “a change is as good as a rest”. Perhaps a wee break from routine would re-energise the whole family.

family adventure holiday in Scotland

Enjoy the Strathspey steam railway during your visit.

Fortunately young children (pre-school and early primary school age) are for the most part a lot more adaptable than their parents give them credit for. The majority of them will still sleep when they are tired (even in the most unlikely of places). They’ll still eat when hungry and a new environment will be stimulating enough to entertain them. That’s them sorted. The trick then is to pick somewhere to take them which appeals to you as a parent but will not introduce more hassle to your life. So somewhere which is family friendly but not just in name.

Child friendly facilities at Fraoch Lodge

There are self-catering cottages which pride themselves on being family friendly because they offer the use of cots, high chairs etc. To my mind this is not enough to be a family friendly facility. At Fraoch Lodge we have a variety of books and toys for wee ones along with a large garden for them to explore complete with a sandpit, garden tools, a digging area, a toddler trampoline and a slide; complete with personal guide (if desired) in the shape of the resident child, Gregor.

We can also offer the whole family or just the parents a chance to eat “out” while in. In other words, we can cater for you while the kids sleep upstairs, so you won’t need a babysitter, but equally can relax with a glass of wine and not have to cook yourselves. Or alternatively we can cook for the kids first and yourselves later or cook for the whole family together.

Things to do with the wee ones in Boat of Garten

When you come to Boat of Garten you don’t even need to go far to entertain the kids:

Options in the area for a family adventure holiday

There are in fact almost more choices than you’ll have time to explore. We’re happy to help you plan your stay so you get the most out of your time here and don’t forget if you’d like to book a guide, we can help. Sometimes the way to get the most our of your trip is to book a day with a guide and then explore the rest of your visit on your own. That way you’ll be able to take advantage of the guide’s local knowledge to open your eyes about what you’re seeing – it’s not just a flower, but a particular kind of flower which may be unique to the area; it’s not just a rock, but a certain kind of rock transported by a glacier perhaps ….

A family adventure holiday or 2 to consider with a younger family:

Under Your Own Steam
Cairngorms Discovery
 Get off the Beaten Track
Private Guiding

Look out for Part 2 – a family adventure holiday with kids in primary school

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