One of our main reasons for our camping trip last weekend (read more about the camping part here) was to go on the Strathspey Railway and the Cairngorm Funicular (post to come later this week). We had promised O a funicular trip when we couldn’t find one when on holiday in Italy in June (the guidebook mentioned it, but it turned out just to be a chairlift) and as the steam trains leave from Aviemore we thought we should make a day of that too.
Unfortunately our chosen day for the train ride was raining heavily. But still, we packed some lunches and set off to Aviemore to catch the train.
The Strathspey Railway Company was set up in 1971 to buy areas of the railway and start trains running along the old route. Currently the trains run between Aviemore and Broomhill, although tracks are being re-lain to extend the railway to Grantown as it was in the past.
We bought our tickets for a 90 minute round trip, adult tickets are £11.25 (under 5’s are free). If you pay a little bit more then you can have a dining experience, private compartment or afternoon tea. Maybe another day!
Our train looked very grand and you can imagine people in the past standing on the platform in the rain, waiting for the train to arrive in their tweeds and long dresses.
We watched the woodland and fields pass by, A excitedly pointing out the sheep and cows and O ‘reading’ the information leaflet.
We stopped to take on more water at Boat of Garten and then moved on to Broomhill station where a lot of the passengers got off. However, as it was raining and a mile and a bit walk to Nethy Bridge we stayed put. When we arrived back in Boat of Garten the rain had stopped and we disembarked to go for a wander around and have our lunch. Of course, as soon as we got off the train the rain started pelting down again!
Fortunately we found a lovely little gallery and coffee shop where we had a cake and drink. The boys had fun looking around the gallery, I didn’t get a chance to have a proper look at the art, but I did see a good number of painting that I liked in my brief ‘walk’ around the building!
The rain had eased off a bit and we headed back outside to search for the woodland walks I had read about. Sure enough a bit further up the road from the gallery there were signposts for the walks in the woodland. We wandered past pretty Scot’s Pines and some very lichen’y’ birches, taking a route back toward the station to catch the train back to Aviemore.
The train arrived right on time, we heard the whistle well before we saw the steam puffing over the trees.
A 15 minute journey back to Aviemore and it was already late afternoon.
This was a lovely relaxing day, even if it was raining. I definitely recommend the trip to anyone else who is passing through the Aviemore area.
Have you been on a steam train recently?