Welcoming Winter Wellbeing!

We hope you enjoyed your summer as much as we did!  I know, it feels like a wee while ago now!

Even although we do enjoy doing these Blogs to update our much appreciated return guests on improvements we make, and all website guests on interesting things happening locally in the National Park and beyond, we always seem to start with an apology as to why it has been so long since the last one!  Honestly, this time we really do have a good excuse!!  Licensing, licensing, licensing! 

Licensing – So What Does It Mean?

You may have seen some reports in the media on the new Short-Term Let Licensing requirements, which apply to a number of types of tourist accommodation in Scotland, including self-catering.  Strathspey and Badenoch, the area Glencoldon Cottage is located, also had some additional requirements to comply with, including the need for Planning Permission……. so we have been a wee bit diverted over last few months!

However, we are very happy that the deadline has now passed and even happier that we have been issued with a provisional licence number (FS550348325).  So, we’re clearly more than hopeful that we will be issued with a full licence once Highland Council has worked through their backlog of applications. 

It is difficult to argue against most of the licensing requirements, as many of them are concerned with guest safety.  We believe we were already operating safely, but much of it is about formally evidencing and documenting what we are doing for fire safety, electrical safety, legionella safety, etc. 

But, what does it mean for our guests?  For those that have stayed before, you will have seen our fire safety equipment, instructions etc. previously, but you may now see a few more notices about the place!  For those that haven’t, you can be reassured that not only will your stay be enjoyable and memorable, as our reviews suggest, but you will also be as safe as possible!

Welcoming Winter Wellbeing!

Anyway, with all that, we’re now well through autumn, and winter is now also beginning to touch down!  Minus 11ºC the other night!   Still a very busy time for wildlife watching and wild garden action!  We do still have a few dates available for those who enjoy witnessing the amazing colours of this time of year (December dates now discounted!), and those who like a wee winter break, whilst also embracing the warmth and wellbeing of the cosy cottage! 

Although we would say so, of course, the days following wild winter weather (often spectacular to witness in its own right, if you’ve ever seen a real Highland blizzard!), when the Cairngorms area is a crisp, clear, sunny winter wonderland, can see the National Park, scenically, at its most awe inspiring!!  We always take advantage of that to boost our own winter wellbeing!

Strathspey and the Cairngorm area truly are all-year-round destinations whether there is enough snow on the mountain tops for snowsports or not!  As the often quoted explorer, Ranulph Fiennes, said: “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!”  We definitely understand what he meant……  Having the right gear on does mean you can still have a really enjoyable day out, even in the most icy of horizontal winter blasts, especially when you’ve got the comforting reassurance of a roaring fire to return home to! 

However, we also understand that not all of us are polar explorers either needing to challenge ourselves against extreme elements!  So, staying close to home, working on your winter wellbeing in front of a cosy log fire can be a very rewarding way to see out the storm in the Cairngorms too!!


Cycling Haven

Of course, one of the reasons the area holds its own as an all-year-round hotspot is the fantastic cycling on offer.  This has always been the case.  But, in recent years, this has now been supercharged (not just by the e-bike revolution!) by new routes, paths, and more joined up information to plan your cycle adventure!

NEW Local Routes Planning + Information

In the last few months Cairngorms business / recreation groups have launched digital products that will provide self-guided cycling routes for visitors to explore, with turn-by-turn instructions to minimise the impact on nature and highlight visitor experiences along the routes.  We will be promoting these excellent tools to our guests on our dedicated Cycle Haven page!

Get Inspired, Not Lost!

We have always promoted the mass of fantastic cycling information available at the VisitCairngorms – Cycling The Cairngorms page.  It has been recently upgraded and links to these digital tools. 

But, as a wee short cut, so you can rapidly get inspired – not lost, as suggested by Ride With GPS, jump straight to RidewithGPS page.  Your preferred route just gets uploaded to your device of choice!

Combine the fun of cycling with the fun of a festival! 

It had been our plan to highlight all the inspiring cycling events on in the cairngorms over the warmer months, but, sorry, as above, we got diverted from blogging by the licensing work we had to do.  But, it makes sense to let our regulars, many of whom are part of the cycling community, know of the variety that have been available this year, and rough dates, so they can perhaps plan ahead for a cycle adventure next year!  The websites for the 2023 events are still up, with some indicating that they will announce 2024 dates soon.

BikeMore – Bike Festival Aviemore
Mid May 2023

The Kingussie Bikeathon 30th Anniversary Special
Mid June 2023

Cairngorms Cycle Festival
End June 2023

Limitlass – A Mountain Bike Festival for Women, by Women
Mid August 2023

Ride Wild Festival
Start September 2023

Mid September 2023

Clearly, we also can’t talk about cycling in the Cairngorms National Park and around Boat of Garten village without mentioning (again!!) the great new resource available on the doorstep…… especially since I’ve now managed to take a better / half-decent photo of it!  The Woodland Wheels Pump Track is an amazing resource for the village!

Woodland Wheels at Boat of Garten

Biodiversity Blether – Our Wild Nature Natter!

As we are so late with this Blog, the Loch Garten Ospreys have been and gone!!  But, as these wonderful birds are so close to the heart of the “Osprey Village”, we should report that they had a successful year with 2 chicks raised!  All headed off towards Africa at the end of August, hopefully to be back in Spring – Au revoir!  Always fantastic news!  It’s great to reflect that there was once only 2 Ospreys in the whole of the UK, at Loch Garten, now the RSPB reckon there are 200-250 breeding pairs – a real conservation success story!

In the wild garden, as we continue to let nature take over, we have seen another spectacular year of growth!  And a rise in diversity too if the sightings of previously unseen species (in the garden that is; we’re not discovering new species….. yet!) is anything to go by!  One group of guests was fortunate enough to see an elusive Pine Marten in the garden.  We have definitely never seen them that close to the cottage before – fantastic!

If we get on to blogging a wee bit earlier next time (soon!), we’ll say much more about our wild garden plans for next year to do still more to boost “wilding” and biodiversity….. still plenty of interesting ways we can help nature!

And we definitely cannot have our nature natter without drawing everyone’s attention to the new “Responsible Enjoyment” initiative launched in the Cairngorms.  I know most of our guests know what to do to minimise their impact when out and about, but this has a local National Park theme and some comic angles on common issues from Ed Byrne!

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