We Bagged a Munro!

Aviemore Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 8 › view all entries
Chip ascending Cairngorm...this is early on as you can see the base where we parked.

The first venture on Monday was to walk down to the car rental place and pick up our rental vehicle….which turned into an arduous affair.  After much determination we succeeded in taking possession of our wheels and I re-acquainted myself with the misery of driving overseas.  The travel guides tell you that scoring an automatic transmission is difficult, but I am incredulous.  I have driven stick my entire life and reserved a manual to get a price break…but we wound up with an automatic anyway!  I have no problem driving on the left side of the road (but need to focus when exiting a rotary), but what chaps my butt is how every time I try to hit the turn signal I switch on the windshield wipers, lol!

 

Our first destination after scoring wheels was to visit Chip at the ‘Farr House’.

Cairngorm Mountain above the Funicular Station
  The Cabana’s had purchased the manor of the former lord overseeing this area and we were excited to witness the homestead.  Once outside Inverness, we were on a ‘single track’…more or less a single lane dirt road with a 55-mph speed limit!  You don’t want to sample many of these during your Scottish vacation…..

 

We were duly impressed once we arrived.  A grand estate with plentiful gardens and stone walls.  Weren’t we surprised when Chip escorted us to the “wing” of the estate where he was the sole resident!  Chip had taken a vacation day and we absconded to Aviemore, south of Inverness.  This is an area of significant elevation and a skiing attraction during winter months.

The rather grim visage of the final ascent for Cairngorm...
  The day’s goal was to “Bag a Munro” --- a Munro is any of the 284 peaks in Scotland exceeding 3,000-feet elevation --- it is considered a lifetime achievement to bag ‘em all.

 

Our target was Cairngorm Mountain, which Chip had previously ascended almost to the top via the ‘funicular’…a gravity driven railway tram.  We navigated southeast and stopped in the charming town of Aviemore for lunch before the attempted ascent.  Parked the car, but opposed to the US where the meter tracks your time…here the meter printed out a ticket displaying when your time was up…roughly the same, I guess.  We found a very hip eatery, Café Mambo, and sat down for lunch.

We bagged a Munro! It's windy up there....
  We kept hearing loud stamping noises overhead, soon followed by a waitress descending the stairs with someone’s order.  An innocent inquiry gained understanding that the kitchen was upstairs and heavy feet communicated a meal was ready!

 

After consumption, we made our way to the base of Cairngorm Mountain and proudly skirted the funicular entrance to embark upon a trail.  Kim & I were embracing the pursuit, though Chip had a bit too much lunch (he had ordered the ‘Scooby Snack’…an unbelievably huge sandwich) and lagged behind.  Since we had twenty+ years on him, his slow progress actually invigorated us old-timers, lol!

 

The trail was steep, but otherwise not difficult, and it was roughly two hours before we reached the funicular station.  Chip was wiped and opted to await us at the station, which had a gift shop, snack bar, etc., while we finished the assault along a clearly marked, rock strewn trail.

Despite how easy you would think it is to follow this man-made path to the top, the railings soon disappeared and when the heavy cloud cover blew in you had to pause!  We were undaunted however, and soon bagged our first Munro!  It was terribly windy atop the peak, and though the final destination was clearly marked by the biggest cairn I’ve ever witnessed it was a slow crawl.

As always, the descent was much easier and we rebounded to Aviemore for a tasty dinner at an Indian restaurant, the Royal Tandori.  Then much more rambling along the narrow Scottish roadways to return to Inverness for the night (with Chip smuggled into our room).

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Chip ascending Cairngorm...this is…
Chip ascending Cairngorm...this i…
Cairngorm Mountain above the Funic…
Cairngorm Mountain above the Funi…
The rather grim visage of the fina…
The rather grim visage of the fin…
We bagged a Munro!  Its windy up …
We bagged a Munro! It's windy up…
Aviemore
photo by: mr_brenden