It started on Burns Night 2019 – a family promise that we would definitely tour Scotland this year.
My husband was raised in England though is actually Scottish, our children are therefore half-Scottish and in the late 1800s my ancestors on my father’s side lived in Scotland too. We definitely felt the mountains calling.
In early spring, during the Easter break, we suddenly decided – lets do it! We found some last minute bookings and off we went, in our electric car (not knowing how reliable the chargers would be in the Highlands), with five children (including two sons with profound autism and our seven month old baby daughter), before we had time to convince ourselves otherwise.
Our first stop would be in Aviemore, in the Cairngorm National Park, where we had been able to get a booking 48 hours earlier at the Macdonald Highland Resort. To make sure the long day of travel still felt like a special holiday event, we chose to take the scenic route.
Do you know that child-like feeling when you are driving to the seaside and you get your first glimpse of the ocean? Suddenly we spotted our first snowy peak and it was just the same excited buzz from everyone in our car.
Living in the very centre of England, there are two things we really crave – a glimpse of ocean and snowfall. We wondered how close we might be able to get to the top of the mountains.
After the briefest tantalising glimpse of snow-capped summits, the route dipped downwards, and we journeyed alongside rivers, watching them wind their way through the valleys.
The sun even made a brief appearance before dusk fell, glinting off rushing waterfalls, swollen with the run off from melting ice and snow.
As the light started to fade, the road once again started to climb.
At a scenic viewing spot at the very highest point, we were able to park up and safely get out of the car for the briefest snowball fight … but the fog was descending, the temperature was steadily dropping and we needed to get moving.
Just before dark we arrived at Aviemore and were delighted to find the town lit up all the way down the main thoroughfare with twinkling white fairy lights. It seemed very welcoming to seven weary travellers who had spent a full day travelling North.