Or trying to remember what it takes to go skiing after 10 years
Finding an outdoor adventure, or skiing break, during the bitterly cold February school holidays was going to be a challenge this year but we decided, as it was much too cold for camping, to rent a cottage in the Cairngorms for a week instead. We knew the Scottish Highlands had had a bumper winter sports season the previous winter and although this year seemed more wind and rain than icy snow we thought the risk was worth it.
Bluefolds Cottage in Glenlivet was a last-minute change of venue as the first Tomintoul cottage we’d booked suffered a fire over the New Year. But it was fabulous, spacious and clean with a very friendly helpful owner. He even ferried us up to the cottage in his 4×4 as the farm track was under snow and ice when we arrived. Our little car would never have made it. One evening he even brought us some sledges and some of his own whisky collection to try. The cottage had the added bonus of a coal-fired burner which, even though it was bitterly cold outside kept the cottage cosy all the time. The farm below the cottage had some friendly sheepdogs who always came to say hello as we passed by. The closest shop was about 21 miles away in Granton-on-Spey.
We had optimistically booked skiing lessons at the Lecht, a small family-friendly ski and snowboard centre close by. Luckily, despite a few more snowstorms, the three days we enjoyed at the Lecht were sunny and actually warm. Once I’d managed to get my old ski boots on, having not skied for 10 years they’d gone a bit stiff, to say the least, we quickly remembered how to slide downhills. The route up to the ski resort could be hairy at times with no 4×4 but with a bit of skidding and sliding, we made it each day.
It was certainly chillier at the top of the ski lift and we soon found the best runs to try and avoid both the real beginners and to not get in the way of the experts. I think we’re in-betweeners. I was very glad of my new Trespass skiing jacket to keep me warm. Skiing in Scotland is a hit and miss business due to the inclement (love that word) weather. If the wind is too strong no lifts are open except the nursery slopes. So glad we gave it a go and had such an unexpected brilliant time, highly recommend the cottages at Bluefold if you want a quiet, in the middle-of-nowhere kind of getaway too.
I almost forgot to mention the AMAZING views.