As temperatures hover around, or dip below zero our forest hideaway becomes a winter wonderland. Frost clings to the heather floor , the lochan freezes and the wildlife expects more from us to help them through the shorter days and starry magical nights.
Winter is a very special time to visit the Cairngorms, both for a festive break and a winter escape break.
We will do our best to make a Christmas holiday or New Year break a magical experience and look forward to welcoming all of our festive guests for a truly memorable break. We appreciate that Christmas is a family time and whilst we don’t want to intrude, we do invite Santa to stop by on Christmas Eve to wish you all Merry Christmas. A piper, in Highland dress, will accompany Santa playing a mixture of Christmas tunes and traditional Scottish music. The skirl of the pipes beneath the wind washed cathedral pines of our forest is a moving experience. “Highland Cathedral” is a regular request from guests. Before you arrive Sarah will have checked whether you would like a real Christmas tree in your lodge, which we are happy to decorate for you, or leave for you to do with your family and friends. We will help you source good local produce for your special Christmas meal, or if you would prefer to eat out in a country house hotel, we can help you pick the perfect one for you.
If you are staying for Hogmanay Sarah will happily arrange tickets to the local Hogmanay Ceilidh, where you can enjoy a truly Scottish Hogmanay! Goodness, we know how to party. And to ensure you can fully enjoy the festivities Sarah can organise a taxi to take you to and from the ceilidh if you wish.
It is well worth tearing yourself away from the roaring log burner to enjoy some of the many winter activities going on in the area.
If the weather has obliged and there is snow on the hills then head for the ski centres for some mountain adventures. We are only a short drive from Glenshee Ski and Snow board centre, the UK’s most extensive skiing and snowboarding facility. With 22 lifts and 36 runs it provides a great day out on the slopes whatever your standard of skiing or snowboarding. You can join a class, go private , hire an instructor or even do some race training! Alternatively we are also only a short drive from The Lecht which is situated in the heart of The Cairngorms National Park at the top of the pass between Tomintoul and Strathdon. This is an excellent centre for beginners and intermediates with 12 different lifts, including a 3 person chairlift and a magic carpet travelator, guaranteed to get novices going immediately.
Although most of our castles shut over the winter months we would really recommend a visit to the famous Dunnottar Castle. Open to the elements with a precipitous drop to the sea below it remains open in winter with shorter opening hours. If your dog is accompanying you on your holiday then they too can visit Dunnottar, just make sure they are on a lead.
Then there are our distilleries; our clean clear springs and moorland peat help to produce the perfect dram. The nearest distillery to Cairngorm Lodges is Royal Lochnagar Distillery which is situated on the south side of the River Dee near Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of our Royal family. The Royal name was bestowed on the distillery following a visit by Queen Victoria on the 12th of September 1848. At the end of this tour Queen Victoria enjoyed a dram of mature Lochnagar highland single malt scotch whisky, so you would be following in Royal footsteps! Whisky from the Highland region is known for a heavier and drier character with hints of nut, honey and heather. Various guided tours are available which we really recommend, they are extremely informative and offer a valuable insight into how our “water of life” is produced.
A number of our guests like to take a drive up to Aviemore where there are numerous activities on the go. A visit to the Highland Wildlife Park, open from 10am to 4pm from November to March, is an excellent day out. If you take your dog just bear in mind it will have to remain in the car. Loch Eilien and Loch Morlich are also popular destinations and are truly beautiful and well worth a visit. If you spot signs for grass sledging do stop and give it a go ….so much fun whatever your age!