Escape to the Scottish Highlands this Winter
Published: Wed Dec 22
While Covid-19 continues to inhibit our social lives, you may find yourself in need of an escape. Whether that be away from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas and New Year festivities, or simply out of the confines of your own home, what better place to find a peaceful winter wonderland than right here in the Scottish Highlands? It’s time to wrap up warm, grab your camera, and explore Happy Tours' top picks for this winter’s ideal escape.
Explore the Cairngorms in Winter
If you’re seeking snow this winter, the Cairngorms are always a safe bet for finding it. Whether you’d like to try your hand at snowsports on one of the Cairngorms’ three ski resorts, or want to look out for wildlife at one of nine nature reserves, the Cairngorms offer a truly diverse landscape with opportunities for everyone. The 43 munros throughout the park provide an abundance of challenges for the experienced hill walkers and adventure seekers out there. The park is equally as suitable for beginners and families, with a variety of charming lowland routes interspersed between the hills. Whatever route or activity you decide to take on in the Cairngorms National Park this winter, be sure to plan ahead and dress for any conditions— the Highland weather has a tendency to surprise us with anything and everything!
Visit the Cairngorm Reindeer this Winter
In addition to the opportunities for snowsports, hillwalking, and wildlife within the Cairngorms National Park, one especially festive winter must-see is the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd. The winter conditions found in the Cairngorms make it one of the only habitable environments for Reindeer in the UK. Prior to the 1200s, Reindeer roamed all over Scotland until a combination of hunting and climate change rendered them extinct. Since 1952, when they were re-introduced to Scotland, the herd at the Cairngorm National Park have roamed freely and are the only herd of this kind in Scotland.
If you’re looking for an experience that will inspire festive spirit in the whole family, why not visit the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd where you can find out everything you need to know about Reindeer, and more. As well as getting a close look at these magnificent animals, you can stroke or even feed them. If you would like to see all the best that the Cairngorms has to offer, book a private tour with Happy Tours to personalise your itinerary and relax between stops in our comfortable 8-seater minibus.
Time for a Tipple?
Time spent out on the snowy peaks or down in the mossy valleys during winter can certainly work up one’s appetite for a rewarding tipple. Conveniently, the Cairngorms boasts its own brewery which can be toured for an insight into local business practice and the locally sourced ingredients. In fact, throughout the Cairngorms and surrounding Highland area, there are multiple award-winning small businesses putting local ingredients into their beverage products.
Both the Tomatin Distillery and the Kinrara Gin Distillery offer a warming taste of the Highlands which is especially welcome during cold Scottish winters. Happy Tours’ ‘Cairngorm Gin, Beer and Whisky Tour’ is an opportunity to immerse yourself in such flavours through taste-testing experiences against the backdrop of the scenic Scottish Highlands. Until this tour starts up in April 2022 however, you can arrange to visit these distilleries and the wider Cairngorm area with our private Highland tours for personalised winter sightseeing.
Explore Glen Shiel and the Five Sisters of Kintail
The dramatic, snow laden peaks and ridges of Glen Shiel are among the most picturesque winter landscapes in the Highlands. With a range of walks to suit different experience levels and time commitments, the Glen is an idyllic escape for a winter hike. Even taking a drive around the area offers some spectacular winter views of the various mountains lining the Glen. Furthermore, delving into the Glen’s rich history reveals links to the 1719 Jacobite Rising, during which the Battle of Glen Shiel took place with support from the Spanish Marines. Such history makes for an even more dramatic appreciation of the monumental winter landscape at Glen Shiel.
To find out more about Glen Shiel and its history, Happy Tours offer the popular ‘Isle of Skye Tour’, with stops at major attractions along the route to Skye. This tour, available year-round, stops at a few of the most iconic sights surrounding Glen Shiel, including the Five Sisters of Kintail, an interestingly named collection of mountains north-east of Glen Shiel’s main ridges. From Happy Tours’ route to the Isle of Skye, these 5 neighbouring pyramidal peaks can be seen towering over Loch Duich, likely reflecting their white snowy tips upon the water. Additionally, the tour stops at Eilean Donan Castle, another sight which when dusted in snow, transports you back in time. An attack by the Royal Navy during the Jacobite Rising brought the Castle to the ground, where it would remain destroyed for centuries until being rebuilt in the early 1900s. Let our expert tour guides paint the picture for you as you sit back and relax this winter on a scenic Highland excursion.
Urquhart Castle - Explore the History of the Highlands
One of the prime locations for viewing Loch Ness — and potentially spotting the Loch Ness Monster — is Urquhart Castle. Roughly a half-hour from Inverness by car, the historic site is an ideal stop for an informative and picturesque day trip. The castle’s fascinating history can be explored with a tour of its strategically placed thirteenth-century ruins. This includes access to a collection of artifacts and replicas which bring tales of the castle’s medieval battles to life. Additionally, make use of an audio guide to further inform your experience of the castle’s prison cell and great hall. From atop the castle’s Grant Tower, you’ll find magnificent views of the surrounding Highland landscape looking especially crisp and serene in winter.
For a chance to warm-up, step into Urquhart Castle’s café for hot drinks and a spot of lunch. Alternatively, venture into the nearby village of Drumnadrochit to further explore the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster. To view Urquhart Castle as part of a more extensive Highland tour, both our ‘Culloden Battlefield & Loch Ness Tour’ and our ‘Isle of Skye Tour’ offer great views of the Castle and more from along Loch Ness.
Book a Winter Tour
If any of the locations listed here appeal to you, book your winter escape with Happy Tours today. Whether you’d like to see Loch Ness and Highland Cows, or Glen Shiel and Reindeer, Happy Tours offer a range of tours covering an extensive list of popular Highland sights. To make your winter escape even more relaxing why not consider a personal tour? For more information or to book a tour, send us an email enquiry at email@example.com or contact “the man in the kilt” on +44(0)7828 154 683.