I’ve been taking part in January Joy this month, a blogging challenge started by Rebecca of Florence Finds. I’m still to blog about a post that ‘captures the memories’ but I think by the time I get the resources and sit down to create this project, it will be February! So you’ll have to wait a couple of extra days for that.
This weekend has seen my little brother visiting my home ‘hood of Essex. On Thursday we enjoyed a snowy walk around the woods at the back of our garden and watched a good couple of episodes of The Office (US version – we love that show!)
Friday is Mr B’s day off work, so we knew that this would our prime opportunity to get out and about to experience the Highland winter wonderland we have at the moment!
We had a couple of choices of activities, but settled on driving down the A9 to the Cairngorms Railway (around 50 minutes drive from Inverness) to get some good views and take a trip up on the funicular railway, to a height of over 3500ft followed by a quick photo stop at Loch Morlich and then lunch in Aviemore.
The drive to Cairngorm Mountain was so pretty – we had a clear drive down the A9 with no showers and blue skies for most of the way, with time to enjoy the snowscapes around us.
The Cairngorms are famous for the wide range of activities that can take place. Watersports, biking and hiking to name but a few. However in winter, skiiers and snowboarders take to the slopes, and there’s been a great fall of snow this season.
However, none of us are into snowsports, so we settled for the gentle ascent of the mountain by the funicular railway.
At the top, there is a restaurant where we slurped our hot drinks (which also acted as good handwarmers), a visitors shop, and of course access to the mountain (although for those not engaging in snowsports or guided walks, you are limited to taking photos just outside of the station exit). There’s also a viewing terrace, though we didn’t stay out there for too long, what with it being -5 (-16 with the windchill) and with not too much visibility, though Mr B and my brother did decide to start the briefest of snowball fights!
I managed to get a few quick snaps of the slopes from the station exit:
Not to mention a nice little photo opportunity before we jumped back on the funicular to head back down, and a postbox to empty your postcards into!
It was a good thing to do, obviously it would have been good to have had more visibility, but we would definitely go back to walk up on a clear day to see the views. Here’s what we could see at the top of the viewing terrace (not much!)
The views were much better as we descended down closer to sea level.
On our way to lunch we stopped at Loch Morlich for some quick photos:
By this time we were heading for a late lunch and our favourite (although we haven’t tried many places in Aviemore) is the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore. It’s above a Mountain sports shop and it’s very popular, with queues often winding down the stairs. Fortunately for us, we arrived at the end of the lunch rush so didn’t wait long for a table.
After a quick peruse of the menu, I went for a soup and sandwich combo, Mr B opted for a panini and salad, and my brother went for the institutional Mountain Cafe burger.
All dishes received glowing reports – with my brother rating the slaw with his burge very highly, and Mr B noting the delicious extra mature cheddar in the panini and the variety of good stuff in the salad. My soup was delicious, full of onion in a meaty stock which made a good accompaniment to my sandwich containing lime and coriander chicken.
We didn’t have room for pudding.. to eat in – so of course we took some to go. The cake counter at the Mountain Cafe is quite something to behold, with too many choices (the picture below shows about half of the selection on offer!) including many choices for those with allergies/intolerances.
I went for a slice (a very hefty slice!) of hummingbird cake, Mr B chose chocolate and beetroot cake, and my brother opted for a classic chocolate brownie. Service as usual was good and attentive, yet unhurried and relaxed.