Guests are still enjoying a winter wonderland experience in the Cairngorms. The very deep snow shown in the last blog post may have disappeared from the garden, but there is still enough for snowsports higher into the mountains. For those who’d rather get away from the crowds on the lifts and main slopes, there is now an enthusiastic following for Back Country Skiing which comes into its own later in the season when the traditional ski slopes start losing their snow.
The longer range forecast also suggests there will also be fresh snow falls into March, maybe down to village level, perhaps inspiring further creativity, like that shown by our guests last week (although melted a wee bit by the time we photographed their sculptures!!).
Hearing some of the rhythm and music from the recent Mardi Gras festivals in New Orleans and Rio de Janiero reminded us that there are some big annual events in the Cairngorms which are well worth a visit and that we should definitely let folk know about. OK, granted, these are perhaps not at the scale of some of the carnivals around the world, but certainly equalled in terms of enthusiasm shown by the locals and visitors alike.
Of course, there is always a huge amount going on throughout the year in and around the Cairngorms National Park. To help guests gain up-to-the-minute information we signpost folk to the “What’s On” monthly guides and the Visit Cairngorms Events Calendar on our Location + Activities webpage.
But, in terms of larger events, we thought we should provide our regular guests, and the inquisitive who end up here, with some information on larger local annual festivals and events:
13th – 21st May 2023 Cairngorms BIG Nature Festival
The Cairngorms Nature Festival is a celebration of the fantastic natural heritage of the Cairngorms National Park this year the festival is growing into a whole 9 days of events, activities and celebrating nature!
12th – 14th May 2023 BikeMore – Aviemore Mountain Bike Festival
This website doesn’t yet have much information, but promoting great things on 2-wheels coming soon – adding a list of the weekend fun to our website over the coming weeks…..
2nd – 3rd September 2023 Ride Wild Festival (Mountain Biking), Glenmore Lodge
This website also features all the other fantastic mountain biking and other mountain skills courses on offer at this mountain centre of excellence, in addition to what’s on offer to mountain bikers for this festival focussing on bike skills.
Highland Shows + Games
Highland shows and games are a feature across Scotland, with many famous across the globe, like the Braemar Gathering – another Highland Games in the Cairngorms National Park! However, although close “as the crow flies” (over the Cairngorm summits) it is a long journey by other means. The National Park is a big area, and we have only mentioned local ones here:
12th August 2023 Abernethy Highland Games, Nethybridge
10th August 2023 Grantown Show, Grantown-on-Spey
If you sometimes go further afield on your holidays, this page has details of other events in the Cairngorms National Park.
As it is still very much hot drinks time of year in the Highlands of Scotland, and because one of the things we get asked most about, before people stay at the cottage, is the availability of coffee making facilities, let’s briefly talk coffee machines!
“Your Cottage” outlines the key features, facilities and appliances at the cottage, but we realise it doesn’t mention coffee makers. Of course, we can’t list everything on our website pages…..
I guess we’ve assumed that most folk would consider that there will definitely be some way of making “fresh” coffee and they don’t just have to rely on instant granules for their entire holiday! I know, “real” morning coffee is essential for me too any time of the year, so I’m not surprised some people just check before they set off!
Our previous guests will know there is a large cafetiere / French press in the cottage! They will also know that we don’t skimp on paying for more costly appliances (eg. dishwasher, induction hob, fridge/freezer A+++ etc) if they are higher quality, more durable, efficient and deliver carbon savings.
So, whilst we do very much appreciate all suggestions from our guests on how we could possibly improve guest experience (and we have certainly had many suggestions on various coffee machines available!), we provide the cafetiere machine as it is by far the best from many points of view in our specific location and circumstances:
- Social / community benefit: the local village shop stocks a range of good ground coffees including fairly-traded etc. Local businesses need supported and your money stays in the local economy – very important in the Highlands!
- Carbon footprint benefit: apart from boiling the kettle there is no additional energy required in this manual method + the glass and plunger has a low embedded energy / carbon footprint compared with some of the hi-tech electrical appliances.
- Other environmental benefit: grounds can be put into our on-site food waste composting and will fertilise plants in the garden and improve soil quality + no high energy intensity metal waste has to be returned to the manufacturer for re-engineering.
More generally, Ethical Consumer has undertaken a full sustainability analysis of coffee makers and manufacturers, and our choice is also consistent with this. Even if you have a preference for the taste of a certain brew when at home, we trust the cafetiere, filled with a good coffee blend, will satisfy, and even surprise, your coffee needs while you’re on holiday!
Biodiversity Blether – Our Wild Nature Natter!
As wildlife seems to creep into all our blogs, as it creeps into all the nooks and crannies of the Wild Garden (and, indeed, anywhere nature is just allowed to get on with it out in the wider world!), it seems like a fine idea to have a wee focus every time we get around to updating……
We’ve had a few features on Ospreys over the years, especially since Boat of Garten is the original “Osprey Village”, and you can occasionally see one floating by overhead… going fishing! Recently, though, one of our regular guests brought a current BBC podcast to our attention about the amazing annual migration of the Ospreys to sub-saharan Africa. Only 2 episodes in, but fascinating and inspiring stories and conservation efforts as they get followed all the way!
Timely Triffids – Spring is in the Air?
To things that definitely don’t need conservation effort to get on with their business…… Apart from the hardy “evergreens” that keep growing throughout the winter, I’ve often wondered what plant is the first off the mark in the garden at the most tenuous first sign of spring. Well, perhaps my query has been answered, as on the same day I took the photo of our guests snow sculptures above, albeit melting, I noticed the first leaves on the Honeysuckle plant that has taken root and is hitching a ride on this Silver Birch.
Smart strategy, I guess, hitch a lift upwards into more light on the fastest growing tree in the garden….. And get your leaves out and start growing before your host, so you don’t get shaded and can stay ahead of the game…… Who says plants aren’t intelligent? The battle for supremacy continues…..