Top Winter Activities in the Cairngorms & Highlands of Scotland

Top Winter Activities in the Cairngorms & Highlands of Scotland

For those who love epic frozen landscapes and cold weather activities, the Highlands of East Scotland are a fantastic area to visit for winter breaks. Whether you wish to ski, walk or enjoy a brush with the wildlife, there are a surprising number of things to do right through the coldest months too. Better still, with visitor numbers lower, there are some excellent value offers and deals to be found. Here are just some of the amazing experiences that await the adventurous traveller:

Skiing in the Cairngorms

skiing Cairngorms Scotland
With stunning mountain scenery and reliable snowfall every year, could our nearest National Park be the best place to Ski in Scotland? Whether you are an experienced skier looking for an alternative or more affordable skiing destination, or indeed a complete beginner looking for ski lessons, this is the place!  

Cairngorm Mountain are one of the best companies to seek out should you want to hire the gear, or indeed book a ski lesson. Or alternatively, snow boarding tuition and starter sessions are also available, along with coaching for famililes and kids. If you are just starting out or don't want to travel with all the kit, ski equipment hire is also available:


Winter Mountain Biking

Fat biking snow scotland cairngorms
"Fat biking" with a special winter bike is awesome fun! (Image: Bothy Bikes Facebook)

Snow cycling in the Scottish winter? Have we lost the plot? Not at all. On the contrary winter cycling, aka “fat biking” is an absolute must try for the winter sports enthusiast! Utilising a specially modified bike with big, chubby tyres (hence the name), you are free to roam where other wheels won't manage. Bothy Bikes are probably your best bet for fat bike hire in the Cairngorms, with rentals at just £20 a day.


Winter walks and Snow Shoeing

snow shoes winter hiking cairngorms Scotland

Another great way to get about and experience some awesome winter scenery in the Highlands is to strap on a pair of snow shoes. Eskimo style footwear is more than just a novelty; they stop you sliding about and make progress across extreme winter terrain possible (and enjoyable!). Don't try strapping tennis rackets to your feet though; hire a pair and head out the right way with a hire company such as Lagganlia Snow Sports School, who are based in the Cairngorms and can kit you out with all the right equipment and advice.

Winter Wildlife Watching

red deer highlands scotland wildlife tours

Don't assume that all Scottish Wildlife hibernates during the colder months. On the contrary, you will find a variety of stunning creatures in their winter best, bravely going about their business. Red deer, red squirrels and grouse can all be spotted in the cold, while it is also this time of year you might see salmon making redds in river beds and preparing to lay eggs. See the Visit Cairngorms Site for a variety of locals who can provide key knowledge and guided wildlife tours:


Husky dog sledging in Scotland

husky dog slege experience Scotland UK
Joining a team of working sled dogs is a magical experience! (Image: Cairngorms Sleddog Centre

Have you ever wanted to race over an ice trail with a team of specially trained sled dogs? Well, unless you know a friendly eskimo, the Cairngorms is just about the only reliable place in the UK you can do this! The trips are authentic too, because these are not tourist-tastic hop-on husky dog rides but real training sessions for the dogs. Think Scott of the Antarctic, rather than Walt Disney. The snow is thick and the action is fast, hence under twelves are not allowed sadly. For full details, see

Winter Survival Skills and Courses

winter survival skills coaching scotland cairngorms
For the dedicated, higher adventures await (Image: Cairngorm Guides & Talisman Mountaineering).

Whether you are preparing for an epic challenge abroad, or simply want to experience a genuine adventure in the snow, guided treks in the Highlands are an exciting prospect. They are also not for the ill-prepared, however, as winter conditions and settings can be treacherous. Hence your best bet is a local guide or survival skills coach, who can take you on an enjoyable expedition while teaching those vital essential skills. Talisman Activities are worth a shout in this respect, who have qualified guides and can tailor an experience to your requirements and ability level. See

Winter breaks in Scotland and the Cairngorms

 Hotels cairngorms scotland

For the best in Scottish food and hospitality very near to Inverness and the Cairngorms National Park, Knockomie Inn offers the perfect winter retreat. Whether you join us for walks and wildlife, or the excitement of winter sports, why not combine your adventure with a little luxury? Our knowledgable staff will be only too happy to point you in the right direction when it comes to all the local activities and beauty spots, while you "chill" with us! See our current rooms and special offers pages for great value winter breaks and hotel deals in Scotland.