Monday, 29 December 2014

Cairngorm National Park

At the start of November I fulfilled a desire I've had for a few years and went to stay in the Cairngorm National Park in the highlands of Scotland. The main reason I'd heard of the Cairngorms was because it's home to the UK's only reindeer heard - that's a good enough reason for me to want to go there!

I found our accommodation for the trip by using my tried and tested Google maps technique: go on google maps, find national park, find town within national park that is accessible by train from London, search all self-catering accommodation within this town. Simple! 

This time I was lucky enough to click upon Pine Bank Chalets in Aviemore which had a choice of self-catering log cabins. The one we stayed in was clean, spacious and most importantly very toasty warm.

Siberian larch cabin


We took the bus from town up to the ski lift, but rather than cheat and take the lift up Cairngorm itself we took a snowy path up Cairn Lochan:

snow in heather

White out!
On the way back to town later that day we stopped off at Loch Morlich which provided much more of a vista

Loch Morlich, cairngorm national park

On our second day we finally went to visit the reindeer with one of the park's reindeer herders. It was possibly the windiest experience of my life and even the reindeer were struggling to walk straight, but it was definitely worth being blasted in the face with airborne reindeer food 

reindeer

cairngorm reindeer

cairngorm reindeer

Because of the time of year we visited them in a paddock rather than trekking to them in the proper wild, but it was still a pretty magical experience, heads and shoulders above seeing a couple of sad reindeer at Santa's grotto in a garden center!

Not a particularly flattering photo but I think this captures my sheer delight after feeding the reindeer: