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Scotland road trip in winter

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Singapore, Singapore
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Scotland road trip in winter

Hi there, I'm exploring a wintertime trip for my family of 5, youngest is 11 years old, around Scotland. Would there be activities such as whale watching, snowboarding, etc around that time, besides sightseeing (although I know the days are short there). ANother option was to go over to Norway for a couple of days. Is that feasible?

Bingley, United...
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for Edinburgh
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1. Re: Scotland road trip in winter

Wrong time of year for whales, goodness knows if they'll be enough snow for any snow related activities - or if there is you can reach it. Sightseeing is going to be limited as many out of town attractions will be closed for the winter.

In any case the weather may prevent you driving anywhere.

In short I wouldn't recommend travelling around Northern Scotland in winter as it's too unpredictable as to what is possible

The Stunning...
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for Scottish Highlands
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2. Re: Scotland road trip in winter

I don't agree at all (apart from the whales part).......the Highlands are still a great place to visit in the winter. Driving is also a lot easier than those living in the South seem to think it is ;-) One option for snow boarding is http://www.cairngormmountain.org/

Manchester, United...
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for The Hebrides
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3. Re: Scotland road trip in winter

Short days are a real issue - barely 7 hours daylight in December and January. Some tourist attractions will be closed. The weather will probably be wet and windy at times, but probably little snow at lower levels until January/February - but you can never tell! I wouldn't rule it out, but you need to think it through and make sure you know what you are in for.

The Stunning...
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for Scottish Highlands
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4. Re: Scotland road trip in winter

I posted a few snaps of a winter road trip on my flickr account if you want a nosey flickr.com/photos/…

Trondheim, Norway
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for Trondheim
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5. Re: Scotland road trip in winter

Driving is easy but as car tend not to have winter tyres traffic problems will arise during winter.

Norway is better suited for winter traffic (roads are extremely rarely closed due to snowfall) with pegged tyres and a more stabile winter climate.

But days are much, much shorter in Norway than in Scotland, distances are greater and facillities fewer. Norway needs much more than a few days. Whale Safari is available during winter months in Norway (http://www.whalesafari.no/), but getting there from Scotland is very time consuming (most flight times for a round trip from Aberdeen are around 24 hours, 2-4 stops each way and priced from £430).

So if you're in the UK at this time don't waste time going to/from Norway but enjoy Scotland in winter.

London, United...
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6. Re: Scotland road trip in winter

dayoutwiththekids.co.uk/things-to-do/aviemore

Aviemore is the centre for winter sports and would make a good centre for other activities too

Fife, United Kingdom
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for St. Andrews
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7. Re: Scotland road trip in winter

As hardygeranium says there is loads to do around the Aviemore area in winter (or at any time of the year)

http://visitcairngorms.com/

Also bear in mind that attractions in the cities remain open throughout the year so that's another option. Its not the cold that's the problem - its the damp and the dull days which can be miserable....HOWEVER sometimes we can have very cold, sunny weather when being outdoors and enjoying the crisp sunshine is a joy - its just impossible to predict what the weather will do so you can't really plan.

W x

Singapore, Singapore
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8. Re: Scotland road trip in winter

Thanks so much for your tips. Will definitely need to explore more.

The Stunning...
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9. Re: Scotland road trip in winter

"its just impossible to predict what the weather will do so you can't really plan. "

Sounds like our summer as well Woody haha ;-)

Edinburgh...
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10. Re: Scotland road trip in winter

You may get the impression that Scotland is gridlocked throughout winter. Not the case. Most roads are snow-free and remain open - most of the time. Being on the atlantic seaboard and with most roads at low altitude, snow doesn't usually last for long periods.

[However there are exceptions, obviously, if a big storm blows in as it did earlier this year, causing chaos with power lines and roads in the west]

Higher level routes may be more difficult to handle. Over the years I have skied and climbed a lot during the winter and only occasionally have I found difficulty in managing to get where I wanted to go. Roads near ski areas can accumulate snow for exactly the same reasons why the ski runs at the resorts manage to collect snow ... and sometimes the polics get nervous and close roads down. On the other hand the ski resorts have snowploughs and will try to keep their roads open.

You don't say when you are coming. Don't expect good boarding in November/December, though Aviemore sometimes has reasonable snow from Mid-December onwards.

The main ski season is Jan-March. Sometimes that continues into April, or later. SO Mar 2012 saw us with almost no snow, whereas Skiing extended into May in 2013.

This is all a long-winded way of saying the weather and snow conditions are unpredictable.

Aviemore is the highest level ski area and hence more likely to retain snow. But highest sometimes means high winds on the peaks. Glenshee is slightly lower but with a much more extensive ski area, and has less to do in the immediate vicinity.