In the lead up to our wedding we knew we couldn't afford a lavish honeymoon so I decided a trip to the Cairngorms to play with reindeer would be ideal, only to find out the reindeer herders take a holiday at exactly the time we would be going. I was devastated and, in bridezilla fashion, demanded Andrew found me a reindeer for my wedding day. Sadly, it just wasn't possible despite his best efforts to source one but in the end I got something just as cute as he announced he had adopted one for me during his wedding toast.
So with the reindeer herd now back open for business and my birthday as the excuse, we took the three hour drive up to the Cairngorms to meet them. Leaving after work on Friday, we headed up to Newtownmore where we had our hotel booked for the weekend giving us a welcome night's sleep and a cooked breakfast the next day before our Saturday reindeer adventures began.
The Cairngorm Reindeer are a free ranging, semi-wild herd who frequent the Cairngorm Mountain area, and in exchange for a daily feed, put up with excited visitors like me. Since there's no fences and a lot of free space to roam, this means they move every day but luckily a couple have been fitted with trackers to help herders from the Reindeer Centre find them each day. Due to the nature of the set up, there is no advanced booking for the Hill Trip walk out to find the reindeer which means you need to be there early to guarantee your space. So as excited as I was, I made sure we were first in the queue. The trip leaves at 11am with the Reindeer Centre based in Glenmore opening at 10am for tickets. So naturally we arrived for 9.45 and were awaiting outside the door.
|Out little ticket pack including our Hill Trip stickers|
Arriving early, we had plenty of time to appreciate the views before others from the reindeer party joined us. Despite being mid February, there was very little snow around in the Cairngorms due to a very unseasonable mild spell. But, while the temperature may have be unusually high, the wind was still icy cold and so we made sure we were wrapped up against the chill with plenty of layers.
|An unusual lack of snow over the Cairngorms|
As we came over a final hill to see the reindeer in the valley, I must admit I did make an excited squeak and I know Andrew was certainly beaming too as much as he tries to maintain he's not that into animals.
|Smiles all round at meeting the reindeer|
|Certainly not shy creatures|
|Perhaps I've found my calling as a reindeer whisperer|
|Mother and Calf on the Moor|
At the time of our visit the trip cost £14 per adult but there is also the option of meeting a couple of reindeer and looking though a small exhibit at the centre in Glenmore which costs only £3.50. We stopped in on the way back as this is also included in the Hill Trip ticket price and while not really comparable to seeing them out on the hills, the coach trip that were onsite seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves at the reindeer talk and got to hand feed the reindeer in the paddock.
|Hand Feeding at the Reindeer Center in Glenmore|