Today I am suggesting something that is a lot of fun for you folks looking to have an active type of family holiday. Look we know that when you come to Cairngorm National Park or even if you are staying closer to Aviemore that you may want to do all the “action” type of activities that they have in this area. But I want to suggest to you that for a fun and really close family break that a mountain biking holiday where you stay at our epic, Kirkstone Lodge with its sauna, hot tub and enough room for six people and then take some rides round the Cairngorm National Park.
Anyway this is something that I have done with my eldest, brother and my nephew and something I cannot want to get my youngest in on as well when he is a wee bit older. So here are a few things I want to share with you so that you can see how much fun a weekend away like this is and also offer a few pieces of advice for you.
Guided Mountain Biking
If you are new to this or perhaps you are just a little bit unsure, you may, rather than just getting out there on your own, especially if you have younger kids. You may actually want to go on a Guided mountain biking tour. This is a lot of fun and you will be safe in the knowledge that you won’t get lost, go somewhere that you cannot handle and even miss out on some cool trails. This guided mountain bike tour was what I booked the first time I went mountain biking with my son and nephew. And while now that I have been on most of the trails in the Cairngorm National Park I would not go on a tour like this. I still would recommend all first time to the area type of folks to look into this. Even if you did this on one day and then went off on your own the next day.
Make no mistake about this while they can cater to “beginners” this is still a fun and exciting way to spend an hour or two and it will certainly pump you up to get back out there, take on some of the more famous and tougher routes and I think best of all it will give you just a wee bit more confidence as well.
My Favourite Trails, Routes And Paths
I like to call them routes, my brother prefers trails and my other half says she does not care! Anyway I want to share with you a few of the routes that we had a lot of fun on.
As well as having possibly one of the most awesome names I have ever heard, Laggan Wolftrax offers just a ton of great routes to go on and really go wild! What I loved about riding here was that there is about 20 miles (not all one route of course!) with many different routes for you to go on. There are some more laid back and scenic ones to go on for a nice, relaxing type of ride. Or if you have some thrill seeking kids with you then you can bet they will want to go on one of the more bumpy and hard core routes that is going to have you checking your underpants when you are done!
Lecht Activity Centre
Lecht Activity Centre is more well known for being one of the most fun skiing places in the highlands, but you know what happens in the summer months? Well the snow melts and this place becomes a great place to get on your bike and have an awesome day! You take a chair lift up and then you have a choice of different trials to take on. There are trails for beginners which are ideal to just get your bearings and build up your confidence. There are some pretty crazy ones as well with all kinds of jumps and obstacles to get in your way. This is a very fun day out and one thing I want to mention is that they do offer bike hire here. So if you are staying at our Kirkstone Lodge which is near Aviemore and the Cairngorm National Park and want to just try out some epic, mountain biking action then this is a great way to “wet your feet”
The Old Logging Way
This is something of a new route for people to check out. It was made in 2008 and the idea behind The Old Logging Way was to have a more safe and awesome route linking, Aviemore and Glenmore. This is not a very difficult route to take on, but it is very picturesque and my son wanted to get off the bike constantly to “explore” pretty much everything that we went past. “hey look at that rock, let’s check it out” or a “look at that water!” was the kind of thing we heard the whole ride! Still it was a lot of fun and I think if you have younger kids that this would be a route that would be suitable for them as well.
A Few “Words Of Wisdom” About A Cairngorm Mountain Biking Break!
That first mountain biking trip I took with my brother and our boys was very well planned and prepared for…… I wish I could take the credit, but the truth was my Mrs went above and beyond to make sure we were prepared for anything…… there could have been a zombie apocalypse and I think we would have been ok! Anyway I want to share with you a few things that you simply must bring with you during a mountain biking break.
You Must Wear A Helmet & Safety Gear
This should go without saying, but I saw far too many kids without helmets for my liking! Even the best rider can hit a random rock and come off their bike. It is better to air on the side of caution. Also kids freaking hate wearing a bike helmet. So before you set off make sure that their helmet has been adjusted so that it is not falling off or so that it is not too tight. Trust me they will not want to wear it and if it is not comfortable it can make for a lot of complaining! Also while not “essential” I think making sure the kids have knee and elbow pads on is always a good idea. Just make sure you get some with Spider-Man or some other character on them and they will be more willing to wear them!
First Aid Kid Is Essential
Yes I know it is boring and there will be people reading this going “when I was a kid I did not wear a helmet” but some of these tracks are pretty wild and even the best of us can come off our bikes. So be sure to have a basic first aid kit with you with plasters, spray and all that other good stuff so you can treat the cuts and scrapes you may get….. do not be scared, look at these as badges of honour! You can get some very compact first aid kits that will strap to your bike and not cause you any inconvenience at all.
Puncture Repair Kit!!!!
Yeah I know this may sound insulting, but for the love of god do not forget the puncture repair kit! I have so far been on three different mountain biking breaks and we have yet to need the puncture repair kit, but you better believe I could go on ten more and I will have it each and every time. You can get these in pound shops all over the country so there is no excuse! Also be sure to have a pump with you most bikes have a place to hold a pump……. So use it!
Snacks & Drinks
Once we went out for a morning bike ride and were gone over five hours! Good thing my brother and I had a backpack each with some drinks and a few snacks as well. I am not talking about packing a whole picnic, but mountain biking is very thirsty work, especially if it is a sunny day so if anything else make sure you have water to keep you all hydrated. And pack a few easy to carry snacks to keep the kids happy.