High Above Aviemore, Half Way Up the Cairngorm Mountain There is a Railway Station
If you fancy a cuppa why not take a train to 4000ft above sea level? Take the B 970 out of Aviemore and drive on past Loch Morlich, go up hill, up and up to about 2000 feet to the Cairngorn Ski Centre and you're half way there. From the Centre you take a breathtaking trip on the Funicular Railway to the summit of the 6th highest mountain in the UK. Buy a coffee, pop out to the viewing platform and if like me you get a clear day you can sip a latte and stare at the far distant silhouette of the Black Isle.
There are two bars, Ptarmigan Restaurant and Bar and the Cas Bar providing everything from snacks to a full menu of appetising food. OK, that's that out of the way, what about the Funicular?
The departure station at the Ski Centre has an excellent collection of large scale wood carvings. The dragon fly was my favourite and is was surprising to see the train waiting for passengers sitting at a rather jaunty angle.
All aboard and oft we jolly well whoosed up the mount. The train runs on a raised track high above ground to keep clear of the snow in winter and even then it has been buried by drifts 30 feet thick! You never travel on the level and the angle on board gives some giddy sights.
This view from the front of the carriage is not for folk who suffer from vertigo, oddly enough I am a serious sufferer I'd get dizzy in platform shoes but for some reason I enjoy a window seat on a plane and the view, the experience going up the mountain and especially exiting the tunnel on the way down is just like flying. Then there is the view with the Ski Centre some 1,500 feet below and out across the cloud shrouded Loch Morlich, wow.
The panorama from the viewing platform must be unrivalled anywhere in the UK. Just below the distant clouds a thin sliver of the Moray Firth with the Black Isle on the horizon. To quote the Who, "I can see for miles and miles and miles!" 30 miles or so, I loved it. The viewing platform affords a 180 degree view south to Drummochter west across the Monadhliath Mountains and north to the Morayshire coast. I have never seen so much of Scotland with my feet still firmly planted on Terra Firma.