The 2009 – 2010 Ski season in Scotland was one of the best and longest on record; if only the snow was always that reliable! The ski season up here usually runs from December to April, but it’s really dependent on the weather, so if you fancy travelling north for a ski break then its worth keeping your eye on weather trends this winter.
There are five ski centres in Scotland. Glencoe has the steepest runs and the Lecht has the gentlest. The Lecht is perhaps the most child friendly, nursery runs here are close to the car park, and can be reached without a using a lift. The Lecht also offers “snow tubing” and there’s lots of space to go sledging. If you’re looking for lots of facilities you can head for Nevis Range, Glenshee and Cairngorm, all of which have runs for all abilities, including nursery runs.
If you or your other half are golf mad then you’ll find some of the best golf courses in the world in Scotland, the home of golf. Ayrshire on the west coast has the Royal Old Course at Troon and the Championship Course at Turnberry. Heading further north you’ll find Carnoustie, St Andrews and Royal Dornoch. All these are very pricey but golf is everywhere in Scotland and wherever you stay you won’t be far from a good course!
This is more my kind of winter sport! Scotland is a great place to indulge in a bit of retail therapy. The Scots are a canny race and you won’t find the over-inflated prices we’re so used to in the south east up here. If you’re looking for something Scottish and stylish try the Anta factory shop in Fearn, near Tain in Ross-shire (www.anta.co.uk). Their pottery is based there and there’s also a tearoom. There are wonderful pottery and craft shops all over Scotland, with many remote highland villages producing unique and wonderful pieces, try www.craftscotland.org for information about crafts in the area you’re staying in. If you’re on the lookout for fabrics then Scotland is the home of cashmere and tweed and you can pick up some beautiful fabrics and wonderful knits whilst you’re up here!
Scotland has a great artistic tradition and you’ll find lots of art galleries selling affordable art. Glasgow and Edinburgh have loads of galleries, and both cities have world famous art schools, but it’s away from the main cities that the bargains are to be found. Kirkudbright in Dumfries and Galloway has been a haven for artists for over a century and has some lovely galleries.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record but I’m passionate about the beaches you’ll find right around Scotland. If you’re coming up here make sure you pack a woolly jumper and explore the fantastic coast with your little one, whatever the weather or the season. All of my favourite days in Scotland revolve around the beach. Give my children a bucket each to collect shells and stones and they are happy to entertain themselves for hours, and as long as I’ve got a flask of coffee I’m a happy mummy; there’s nothing like family fun for free!