Conversations with fellow freshers around DRA during reading week were, like many conversations at the moment, mostly hypothetical. “We would have gone” or “we were planning to go” were common phrases. The main destination for many of these conversations was either Skye or Aviemore. Whilst Skye is more internationally renowned, Aviemore is arguably Scotland’s optimal outdoor resort. Even better than Skye, Aviemore can be (fairly) easily accessed by public transport via the Megabus from Dundee.
The lure of Aviemore is self-evident; not only is it naturally beautiful, but it truly is a year-round experience. From ski-season in the winter to hiking and mountain biking in the summer, it’s the perfect base for the outdoors enthusiast. The amount of natural pine forests also allows for less intense walks on the valley floor. Much like Braemar, a car is by no means essential as everything is accessible by bus, train, foot or bike!
Must do activity:
The ascent of Cairngorm is one which is considered by many mountaineers to be the most straightforward of any of the Scottish Munros. This is mostly because there is a car park just over halfway up which helps shrink the height of Cairngorm to little over that of Edinburgh’s Arthur’s seat. The prize of the ascent is clear – on a day with little cloud cover, the view south towards Loch Avon and as far north as Inverness and the Moray Firth. However, the view of Loch Morlich – a freshwater loch which is set in the centre of the Rothiemurchus forest – is remarkable and it serves as motivation the further up Cairngorm you get.
Most Instagram worthy spot:
The Green Loch (or An Lochan Uaine in Gaelic) is a remarkable spot. The lochan (small loch) is situated at the bottom of steep scree slope which creates a dramatic backdrop. The loch itself has been coloured an emerald shade of green as a result of the algae which lives in its water. It is easily accessible too from the Glenmore outdoor centre it is a simple 30-minute walk through the pine forest. At the lochan, there is a small beach which circles around 3 sides of the lochan as well as plenty of benches in the surrounding pine forests.
The UK’s only freely grazing reindeer herd is located a 10-minute drive from Aviemore. The 150 strong herd can be visited via a guided tour which transport willing tourists up the glen.
A weeklong trip! The amount of adventures that are possible to go on from Aviemore require a full week to take in. Along with the outdoors, there are many distilleries and local art shops and museums which allow rainy day activities. Also, ‘The Vault’ is Aviemore’s only club which serves as a very tame form of nightlife. Aside from that there are plenty of restaurants and bars in town!