There’s nothing quite like the raw beauty of the Highland landscape wrapped in its winter cloak to refresh the spirit and put a spring in your step. Whether you’re interested in snowsport adventure at one of Scotland’s five fantastic ski centres, hill walking or simply unwinding in tranquil surroundings, the Highlands is perfect for a self-catering winter break.
Walking in the Highlands
Tomich Holiday Cottages is located near Glen Affric – often described as ‘the most beautiful Glen in Scotland’ and an idyllic area in which to walk. Glen Affric is one of the last pockets of ancient Caledonian Forest in Scotland and home to a variety of wildlife including rutting stags, soaring Golden Eagles (and Sea Eagles too if flying slightly off course!), pine marten, red squirrels, a vast array of dragonflies, crossbills and so on. With nothing between Glen Affric and the west coast of Scotland some 25 miles away, this is a vast playground to explore on foot or in the car (just a 5 minute drive away from Tomich). It is also a beautiful 90 minute bike ride from Tomich along pristine forest tracks.
As well as being a magnet for skiiers and snowboarders, the Fort William area is home to what has been called ‘one of the best short walks in Scotland‘. This wonderful walk, suggested by Mingarry Lodges, starts at the upper falls car park at the top of Glen Nevis, winds through the Nevis Gorge and leads to the impressive Steal Falls. A stunning walk, perhaps even more enjoyable in the quieter winter season.
In the Glenlivet area of the Cairngorms National Park, you could take a Mountain Hare Safari tour to the Ladder Hills see how Highland wildlife handles the Scottish winter. On this off road Land Rover tour, lasting around 3 and a half hours, you may spot Mountain Hare, Red Grouse, Roe Deer, Raven, Golden Eagle, Waxwing and Snow Bunting.
Easter Corrie, near Tomintoul – the highest village in the Highlands – suggests a walk up Ben Rinnes, near Dufftown, if you’re interested in winter wildlife. Mountain Hare and Ptarmigan, who change their coats each winter to pure white, can be seen from December to mid March on the hill.
What better time to take the family dog sledding than in winter? You can enjoy dog sledding all year round at the Cairngorm Sleddog Centre in Aviemore, the UK’s only daily working sleddog centre and one of five in Europe. As well as touring the Museum and Kennels you can join a sleddog trip or safari.
On the 28th and 29th January 2017 the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain will host the 34th Aviemore Sled Dog Rally, in conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland, with two-day timed trials in forest trails around Loch Morlich.