We happened to be in the Highlands for a short family trip. We had planned to do some rock climbing at our hotel. Unfortunately, the chaps that ran this activity told us that due to the bumper ski season they were swamped with their ski school and there was nobody to run the climbing wall. So, with the sun shining and nothing better to do we decided to go and see what all the fuss was about. A short time later we were at the Cairngorm Ski Resort and decided to take a ride up the funicular (which for those who aren’t in the know is from the Latin meaning “rope”).
So as the name suggests, this is a train on a rope (although these days it’s a metal cable) which pulls the train carriage up the hill and is counter-balanced by the other carriage going down hill. It took about 6 minutes to climb the 460 metres from the car park to the Ptarmigan restaurant and the view from up there was beautiful. Unfortunately, they don’t have such a thing as single-ride-up-and-back-down-ticket and we had to pay for a full day pass (£13.50 per adult). Thankfully kids 5 years older and under go for free. However, once we were up the hill everyone wanted drinks and snacks. Talk about a captive audience. It wasn’t cheap. Having said all that, it’s not the sort of thing we are going to be doing regularly so it was worth it to show the wee man the view and the skiers. Hopefully, he’ll want to pick up a board one day.
Time – 6 minutes each way plus as much time as you want to spend at the top
Equipment – nil
Cost – £13.50 per adult. Kids 5 and under are free.
Difficulty – Low but if you have poor mobility, walking about on the snow at the top might be a bit precarious.
Partner annoyance factor – Zero (unless they are afraid of heights, dislike splendid vistas or are allergic to snow).
Family – Completely family friendly. We went up with a 5 year old and a 5 month old. However, I don’t think the baby got much out of it except a red nose.
Rewards – moderate. The restaurant at the top is the only place to really sit and take in the views. The prices are ludicrous (almost £2 for a can of juice) and on a nice day the place is packed with skiers. Might be a better idea to go in the summer time (although it’ll probably be packed with mountain bikers instead). Either way, it’s still a night trip to a beautiful part of Scotland and we’ll have plenty of photos to look at in years to come.