Winter wonderland in the Highlands

By | Travel
The Cairngorms funicular railway on a winters day. Credit@highlandguide.alcaigcottages.co.uk

The Highlands of Scotland may be known as a place of natural beauty, a rugged landscape of mountains and lochs which play host to a variety of wildlife. In the summer, visitors attempt to walk the West Highland Way or climb to the peak of Ben Nevis. In the winter, the highlands transform from vivid green to white as the temperature plummets and snow begins to fall.

In Scotland, there may be many activities to enjoy over the winter period. In the larger cities such as Aberdeen and Glasgow, festive activities such as the Christmas markets attract tourists and locals alike. In the capital, Edinburgh hosts the world famous Hogmanay street party, which aims to be broadcasted across the globe. However, there are a variety of activities to enjoy over the winter season in Scotland which are far away from the crowds.

It is around this time of year which the highlands aims to turn into a winter playground for snow sports enthusiasts, winter climbers and lovers of the outdoors keen to join in on the snow fun. There are five ski resorts in Scotland to choose from, each with their own differentiating aspects from challenging ski runs to family sledging areas. These resorts may open up the opportunity to discover new hobbies and stay active in the wintertime.

Skier in Scottish kilt at Glencoe. Credit@tesswatson.flickr.com

Skier in Scottish kilt at Glencoe. Credit@tesswatson.flickr.com

The Glencoe mountain resort is located in the basin of the Meall a’ Bhuiridh and is around 2 hours and 45 minutes drive from Glasgow city centre. At this resort, skiers and snowboarders may enjoy the views and variety of runs available for all skill levels. Visit Scotland offers an interesting insight on Glencoe as having the United Kingdom’s steepest black run, appealing to the thrill-seeking skiers and snowboarders. On the run up to 2016, Glencoe aims to improve its facilities through the renovation of an existing chairlift and their café facilities, aiming to make it more appealing to visitors this season.

Nearby Glencoe is the Nevis ski range, a smaller skiing area which offers a wide range of winter activities including sledging, snowshoeing and snow biking. Alternatively, Glenshee Ski Centre in Aberdeenshire, is the largest in the United Kingdom with a staggering 36 runs across its mountains and valleys. Similar to Glencoe, Glenshee offers a diverse range of runs for all standards of skiers and snowboarders.

Visitors at the Glenshee Ski Centre. Credit@onthesnow.com

Visitors at the Glenshee Ski Centre. Credit@onthesnow.com

The Lecht ski centre is one of the smaller resorts out of the five in Scotland. It is situated in the east side of the Cairngorms and may be of particular appeal to beginners on the snow, as the majority of runs available are beginner to intermediate level. Close by to The Lecht is the most popular ski resort in Scotland; the Cairngorm mountain resort. At the Cairngorms resort, visitors may take in panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks by taking a train to the top of the mountain. Non-skiers may enjoy the beauty of the Cairngorms by visiting Scotland’s highest restaurant and spectate on the action from the viewing platform.

With more snow predicted to fall in the United Kingdom this year, the Scottish highlands offers an alternative for those looking to book their winter escape, as well as those who want to do something different this year. Whether it is a love of snowsports, mountaineering or a general appreciation for the outdoors, the highlands may appeal to all looking to have an energising experience during the winter chill.

The resorts seem to be well situated near accommodation and restaurants, catering well for tourists. Overall, what Scotland aims to be is a dynamic and rewarding destination that offers a unique experience for all visitors who may want to explore the outdoors in wintertime.

Which other countries attract tourists during their coldest times of the year?

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