“Anyone who saw the 2012 James Bond thriller “Skyfall” walked away wishing they too could race through Scotland’s dramatic countryside and hide out in its misty Highlands.” So says US news channel CNN who has name checked Scotland as the number one destination in the world to visit this year!
So, with Christmas a distant memory, the first month of 2013 under our belts and the month of February in front of us; What’s On has decided to get cosy and check out the perfect places in the Park to castaway all thoughts of the modern world and hibernate with the family or a loved one. Grab a hot chocolate and a duvet and read on….and then visit www.visitcairngorms.com to book your perfect trip away from it all.
1) Stay in a Woodman’s Hut Eco Cabin
This rustic hideaway for two is a great place to enjoy a romantic getaway in the Cairngorms National Park this Valentine’s month (or at anytime of the year in fact!). Inspired by the 17th and 18th century woodcutters who lived in this area of Strathspey and worked the ancient Caledonian forest, the Woodman’s Hut is cosy and something completely different. It has magical feel about it – nestled amongst the ancient Caledonian pine trees and 100 acres of heather moor, the area is teaming with wildlife it is the perfect place to get away from it all. And where else would you collect water from a whisky barrel, boil it in a copper kettle from the fireside to provide hot water for the open-sky shower a couple of steps from the veranda? Need we say more?!
2) Experience a Wildlife Walk
Tomintoul and Glenlivet has some of the most remote and beautiful landscape in the British Isles. However, to experience it to the maximum find your self a guide and head out to spot some of the region’s local beasts and birds. Fresh snowfall creates an ideal way to track wildlife and Glenlivet Wildlife’s ‘Making Tracks’ guided walk is the best way to follow in nature’s footsteps. The guided walk will take you through Clash Woods where you will be able to follow tracks of hare and roe deer, see where they have been foraging overnight, and where they have been disturbed by hunting stoat. You will also be able to see the red squirrel trails appear and disappear at the foot of the Scots pines and spruce trees and look up to the canopy where they share their home with crossbill, siskin and woodpecker.
3) Stay in a former Hunting Lodge
Discover your inner Laird and book into Mar Lodge, a grand former hunting lodge in the heart of Royal Deeside (the part of the Park favoured by the Queen, Prince Charles and William and Kate). The Mar Lodge Estate occupies almost 7% of the Park of some of the most remote and scenic wild land in Scotland. It is recognised as one of the most important nature conservation landscapes in the British Isles; over 40% of the estate is covered by national and international nature conservation designations. The choice of regal apartments affords stunning views and a prestigious atmosphere no matter which one you choose to spend you time in.
4) Feed the Reindeer
After being reintroduced into Scotland in 1952, the 150 strong herd of Cairngorm Reindeer are still the only free ranging herd of reindeer in the UK and they roam freely throughout the Cairngorms Mountain range and the Glenlivet Estate. Each of the reindeer have their own name and the team at the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre can tell each one apart from the other by sight.
The perfect way to discover some of the area’s residents and see stunning landscapes, whilst being a short drive away from Aviemore, is on an unforgettable winter experience of a daily hill trips to visit these majestic creatures. The Cairngorm Reindeer Centre will take you and your family up on the mountainside, to meet and greet these incredibly friendly and endearing animals and feel their velvet soft noses as you hand feed them in the shadow of the UK’s highest mountain plateau.
5) Horse Riding
Even with snow on the ground, some of the local horse riding centres offer a range of treks and trips across the Cairngorms National Park. However, if you are looking for something a little different, then why not try a sleigh ride through the snowy landscape? Wrap up warm, sit back and relax as the Highland ponies take you on a journey through the stunning winter scenery of the Park – take some Turkish delight with you and you could even imagine you are exploring Narnia!
Alternatively, you can saddle up and explore the area on the back of your own horse. With nine horse riding centres around the Park you can explore every inch of the region on the back of one of the most majestic animals.
So, this year why not discover ways in which you can escape the rat race and discover a world away from anywhere you could ever imagine?
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