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Falling Down Water...
Aviemore Skiing (Scotland)
Member Name: lamorna
Aviemore Skiing (Scotland)
Date: 08/11/00, updated on 08/11/00 (376 review reads)
Advantages: Everthing to do...so much to see
Disadvantages: May be no snow for skiers!
“You’re not going are you?” asked my incredulous daughter.
“Have you told him?” queried my disbelieving Dad.
“Are you mad?” demanded my down to earth Mother.
I was three months into a ‘weekend only’ romance with new man. He lived in London and I was in Dorset. Our Friday night to Monday morning relationship was going passionately well, when he suggested a week’s holiday together in Aviemore, the ski resort set against the backdrop of the Cairngorms in Scotland in February. I had casually agreed, but my heart was beating and my stomach churned at the thought. Spending a whole week together in a Hotel for the first time, was enough of a ‘make or break’ in a new relationship, but Skiing?
I have no hand to eye coordination. None. I dance as if I’m Dyslexic! As a very pigeon toed child, I was sent to Streatham Ice Rink every Saturday morning with my white leather skating boots and little skirt based on the misplaced theory that I’d retrain my pointy-inward toes outwards and overcome my disability. I spent many hours horizontally challenged on cold wet ice with people stepping over me...
I’m more of a Bar Queen than an Ice Queen. My entire wardrobe is geared to indoor pursuits, rather than the outward bound.
Our arrival in Aviemore was made all the more memorable as the engine of our MGB GT had ignited on the M5 just outside Birmingham, and being fully paid up AA members, with a full choice of services, including ‘Get you Home’ or to ‘Your Destination’ plus an overnight hotel accommodation in Carlisle ( Where on having a quiet drink at the Bar,we became involved in a fight between the Best Man and the Groom at a Wedding Party) plus the car repaired, we chose, rather adventurously for me ‘Your Destination’
Hence two lovers, in the cabin with a series of AA men, and a forlorn, broken MG securely fi
xed, it’s destination Inverness, to the huge trailer, drove majestically up the gravelled driveway with a herd of Aberdeen Angus grazing peacefully, to the ten roomed, privately owned Cairngorm Guest House in Aviemore.
The rather grand small hotel was very luxurious, with full Highland Breakfast, an evening menu cooked by our hosts and served in a romantic intimate dining room using delicious fresh local produce, and I already knew I would be quite happy to remain in that womb –like, ultra comfortable hotel room for the whole week, but this was not to be.
The first morning greeted us with clear blue skies, with views and colours from our bedroom window that seemed so foreign to my Southern eye. Russets, Pine trees, heathers, streams, hills and the distant impressive view of the snow capped Cairngorms. The Aberdeen Angus still grazing in the grounds, but one element was missing. There was no snow to be seen. I hate snow. I always have hated snow. I went to Aviemore because I was in love, and love is blind. I mistakenly thought the lack of visible snow would be my reprieve from what I already knew was going to be a totally disastrous and embarrassing happening.
The first morning my man suggests we go skiing!The resort had dry ski slopes! Horrors!
I had borrowed a smart; up to the minute black and purple all in one ski suit from a friend, which put me in mind of the Michelin Man when I looked in the mirror. With no wheels of our own we took a taxi the short distance to the Aviemore Ski Centre, where for £10.00 per half an hour, expert tuition was given.
First stop was the Ski-Hire Shop. Height and weight (I lied about the weight!)are taken into account and I was issued with a pair of very rigid ski boots and a set of extremely long and unwieldy skis. I’m not an engineer. I’m not mechanically minded, but watching others, I got the general idea. Rigid boots first, then strap on the skis. I got the rigid
boots on, hating the fact they fiercely cut into the back of my knees, stood up, and immediately fell over sideways with my feet still firmly fixed to the ground in these extremely heavy, ugly, cumbersome, evil boots. My man straightened me up, already looking concerned!
I was feeling sick. I secured the skis and slowly trudged my way up the path at the side of the webbed, rubber dry-ski slope. We stood in the queue of twenty people. I was sixth in line. Before me were three year olds who whizzed down the slope in seconds at their first ever attempt.My turn and the charming, pretty, slight young female instructress told me not to lean backwards, but forwards, not to keep my legs stiff but relaxed and to keep my feet pointing straight in front, she doesn't know about my disability. I was off, leaning backwards and legs like concrete blocks and toes attracted to each other like magnets. I collapsed, my legs twisted, skis hopelessly tangled in the webbing. She had to call for help to disentangle me. Two young handsome male colleagues appeared and carried me off to a bench. People respectfully hid their faces from me to conceal the tears of laughter. My man was mortified at my exhibition. The only injury was to my pride and dignity. It had been worse than anticipated.
My man took me to a bar, where I began to drown my humiliation in Malt Whisky. The three young ski instructors were there and approached me, offering a full refund, or a free hour of one-to-one tuition. I declined gratefully. I don't like being pityed!
The next morning my man suggests hiring mountain bikes from the Mountain Bike Hire-Centre in Aviemore. My heart sinks further.
We are issued with robust bikes, maps, a first-aid kit and a bike repair kit. I’m not happy. We got lost straight away, and never saw our group again. We cycled through magical places, Pine wood forests, rough paths, streams, gentle hills and I fell of three times. New man didn’
;t notice I’d disappeared until he'd cycled a further half a mile each time, and I could tell he was losing patience as he had to cycle back to get me upright again. Was this the end of what could have been something so wonderful? It nearly was, because putting it delicately, the rough terrain and a very hard, uncomfortable, penetrating bicycle seat had made me very’ saddle sore’.
The next morning my man suggests Clay Pigeon Shooting. My heart is past sinking by now! My family were so right! I am mad! I should really come clean and admit my failings..
I hate guns; balloons bursting and the sound of Champagne corks popping make me jump out of my skin. We are issued with guns. The charming mature male instructor teaches me how to hold the gun, aim and fire and try to hit this moving target, that looked nothing like a pigeon, as it soars through the cold February skies. I can’t believe it! A miracle happens. It’s something I’m good at. I’m a good shot. I hit 4/5 every time, beating my man hands down. Now his male pride is wounded.
The next morning my man suggests I go shopping in the excellent selection of traditional shops in Aviemore and that he goes fishing in the River Spey! Yes, this is more like it. I bought him a T/Shirt saying ‘Things get Hard in Aviemore’ which amused me, and he hired fishing rods and enjoyed his male pursuits.
The next morning my man suggests a tour of the Dalwhinnie Distillery, the highest situated in Scotland. This is getting better and better. We tasted Malts of every kind, even Malt called Breakfast Malt, just like tea. I didn't fall over.
Every evening we strolled into Aviemore, found a bar, had a giggle at the ‘Winking Owl’ which we renamed, relaxed with a drink, discovered live music, and either back to the Cairngorm Guest House for a superb meal, or ate in the wide variety of Restaurants in Aviemore from Italian to a
Aviemore doesn’t need to offer snow to ensure a great holiday. Skiing is just a small part of what the area has to recommend. There are so many attractions, many activities including outstanding Golf Courses, Water Sports and facilities and activities for families and children. I can tell you no more than to visit the Official Aviemore Website.
The Aviemore website:
Is beautifully laid out, and a delight to navigate. It will take you on a virtual tour, list Places to Stay, including The Cairngorm, where we stayed, (the memory still with me) Eating places, Shopping, What to do and See, What’s on, Community, Business, Getting there, Guest Book, all with stunning photographs of Aviemore and surroundings scenery and locations. The range of Places to Stay, extends from Camping to Five Star Hotels, with plenty in-between.Brochures and bookings can all be done online directly from the website.
The holiday in Aviemore ended for us with a taxi to Inverness and a slow, scenic drive back South in the MG with it's new reconditioned engine. It was a tad more comfortable than the AA man’s cabin. We stopped at Loch Ness for a visit to the very well presented Museum and a last touch of Scottish hospitality for lunch, and a stop over in Carlisle in a mysterious old house with stuffed animals everywhere and venison for dinner, then home in time for a drink in our local, full of the stories we had to tell.
New man and me? We made it! Aviemore was a turning point in our affair, turning it into a relationship, and now we’re long-term partners…unless he takes me skiing again!
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