We aimed for Roy Bridge fifteen miles north east of Fort William. We based ourselves in Aite Cruinnichidh (the gathering place) close to the Monessie Gorge.
The run up to Roy Bridge was breath takingly beautiful.
The journey is always part of the holiday. Our run up to ÀITE CRUINNICHIDH, Roy Bridge, past Loch Lomond was beautiful. Glen Coe and the landscape around Ballahlulish was equally stunning. On our second day we visited the Nevis Range and used the Gondola, which we nicknamed Gorgonzola, to take us to the Snowgoose Restaurant. We tried a bit of skiing and a shot of snow boarding … in our dreams. However we did manage to dodge getting swept off our feet by returning skiers and flattened by snow boarders. Not bad for beginners eh.
Trip up Glen Roy from Roy Bridge
Gavin, our host at Àite Cruinnichidh, suggested a trip up Glen Roy and we followed the lead. We were not disappointed. Well known in geographic circles for the parallel roads this was an amazing glen. The road goes for at least eight miles before you cannot go further because of ‘Private’ signs. Shame! The only vehicle we saw beyond the view point near the foot of the glen was the Posties (postman’s) Van.
We enjoyed the winter colours of the brown bracken, the purple of silver birch awakening after winter and of waterfalls crashing down over rocks. The road was up, down, around and occasionally completely up in the air. We had no idea of where we would land after cresting the steep hills. My kind of road!
Four inches of snow in Roy Bridge
That night, whilst we relaxed in the small cosy lounge, we noticed a smidgen of snow landing outside. Not much and it stopped. Nicola called in to ask us if we had enjoyed our stay and she said. ‘Don’t worry. We will get you away in the morning’. I thought it a bit odd. We don’t look at newspapers, television or listen to the wireless when on holiday so we don’t follow weather forecasts. In the morning there was at least four inches of snow. Beautiful dry snow and the fairly steep drive up to the main road had been cleared before eight am!
Welcome to a wonderful winter wonder land. Trees look ten times better when covered in pristine snow. The greater landscape looks bolder and stronger clothed in snow. Our time at the hostel had come to an end and it was time to go.
We have good memories of our stay. Our rooms were cosy and the small lounge was comfortable and warm too. The warm pine wood lining of the hostel also added to the pleasant organic feel to the place. Aite Cruinnichidh is a good location to explore a wide area. Places like Aviemore, Fort William, Skye are within reach of the hostel for day tours. In winter you are only fifteen minutes from Nevis Range for skiing. Gavin sees the hostel as a good central base for visiting Skye and a wide area around.
The drive down the A9 was not as spectacular as our journey north, good but different. On the way home we travelled to Jack Drakes Alpine Nursery, Inschriach near Aviemore to visit the Potting Shed for scrumptious cake. Wildlife is on full view at the many bird and squirrel feeders close to the windows of the Potting Shed. We watched Red Squirrel, Woodpecker, Tree Creeper and a host of small birds which are so used to spectators that they appear to not see us. On one occasion a Sparrow Hawk did a fly through scattering all the birds and silencing the constant twitter for a while.
Altogether this was a memorable three day holiday! If you haven’t already done so try a winter break in a hostel. It is so different from a summer holiday and it is quieter too. My thanks to Gavin and Nicola for facilitating my visit.
Have a look at the hostels and bunkhouses around Roy Bridge if you fancy a winter break.