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London -> Aviemore

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Has anybody ever taken the sleeper on a Thursday / Friday night from London up to Aviemore and back on Sunday night?

And, given that sleeper train tickets don’t seem to change in price if you book further out, does anybody have experience of booking last minute:
- Do the trains fill up?
- Does accommodation in Aviemore fill up?

Finally, and forgive me - I am a Scottish skiing newbie - are there other places I could get off and stay the night. Mrs D and I are happy to go touring, but given we will have gone by train we wouldn’t have a car.

You can see I’m just trying to still work it out so any advice much appreciated!

Thanks!

Max
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
A fabulous option if you're touring is https://www.corrour.co.uk/station-house/signal-box-accommodation/
(though to book the accommodation in advance you wouldn't be sure of the snow cover)

We did this several years ago, and put skis on on the station platform & skinned up to overnight at BenAlder bothy as the station was booked. Alternatively there's a youth hostel 1 mile away at Loch Ossian

However the weekenders were heading south on Sunday so we were able to stay at the signal-box on Sun night and have another day in the hills on Mon before catching the train back Mon evening.

It's a request stop so you have to warn the guard to stop on the way up, and flag the train down on the way back (make sure you have a torch if it's dark Toofy Grin )
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@MaxiD, some years ago a group of sHs took the Friday night sleeper up from London to Aviemore meeting up with other sHs like myself who had got there by other means. However I don't know if you're aware but at the moment the Cairngorm funicular is still out of action, so uplift at Cairngorm is confined to drag lifts.

I believe there's also a sleeper service from London up to Fort William (I think the carriages split at Glasgow for either the Aviemore route to Inverness or the route to Fort William). From Ft. William there's the Nevis Range ski area nearby, I see that there's a local bus service from Ft William. There's also the Glencoe ski area a bit further away from Ft William, again I think there is a bus service.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
As @Alastair Pink says, Fort William has the nearby Aonach Mor ski area (also called Nervis Range), which has good steep back bowls, including exciting off piste (especially if the Braveheart lift is working - otherwise a short skin is needed to get out). And about 20 minutes drive south is the smaller but very nice Glencoe ski area, which includes the famous, short but 45 degree "Flypaper" run. I imagine there is a bus there too, or is there?


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Sun 25-09-22 10:04; edited 1 time in total
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:
I don't know if you're aware but at the moment the Cairngorm funicular is still out of action, so uplift at Cairngorm is confined to drag lifts
The train is scheduled to be fixed in time for this winter. However, given the shocking slow progress to date and ridiculous sums of money chucked at it, regular Cairngorm visitors won't be holding their breath.

£21m spent by May 2022. No doubt it's gone up a bit since then.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/20114627.sturgeon-challenged-repairs-bill-led-officials-considering-cairngorm-mountain-resort-closure/

It's all such a shame as, when conditions are good, Cairngorm is a great ski area.

On a cautionary note MaxiD, it's a bit of a lottery to book ahead for skiing in Scotland. It just can't be guaranteed, like it can in the Alps. While you may get total snow cover and fantastic weather, Cairngorm does miss a fair few ski days by being stormbound. High winds are generally the issue affecting uplift in winter (though drifting snow can block the access road too). The UK's highest wind speed (of about 200mph Shocked ) was recorded at Cairngorm summit.

We've learned from bitter ski touring experience that winds of 30mph are just about bearable - though direction is key. Gusts of 55mph once were enough to blow us over...Scary!! Skullie
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Quote:
I imagine there is a bus there too, or is there?
I believe the express coach to Glasgow stops on request at Glencoe ski area - so assume it must be bookable.

Glencoe is 35-45 mins from Fort William by car.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Scottish Citylink drops off and picks up at the Glencoe road end, it is about a 15 minute walk from there to the cafe and Access Chairlift. Citylink has live tracking on this route on the website.

The winter timetable is: https://www.citylink.co.uk/media/ruvl1is0/glasgow-uig25sept.pdf .

If you were traveling from the South, it would not make sense to go to Fort William and return South on Citylink to reach Glencoe! The sleeper stops at Crianlarich around 7.45am, and the station is pretty close to the Crianlarich Hotel (which in the past used to pick people up from the station, not sure if they still do). The Citylink bus is due to stop at the hotel at 8.18am on the winter timetable.

On a different tact, another option for those that drive, but do not want to drive all the way from wherever they are coming from is Enterprise Car Club. Casual users over 22 can join for a £20 annual fee, and there are cars available to hire in Aviemore, Fort William, Inverness, Stirling and Glasgow. These can be booked in advance with hourly or daily rates, and you just use the app to access the vehicle so nearly all can be accessed 24/7. There is only petrol and diesel cars in Inverness, Aviemore and Fort William, but there are a number of Nissan Leaf's available in Stirling and central Glasgow which attract a much low milage rate. You've then got more flexibility of where to go, depending on weather / snow etc.

The sleeper cabins do change in price, but they are much better value for 2 people than a solo person. The seated sleeper can be got for £55 each way from London if you can sleep anywhere. Caledonian Sleeper trains also operate to Glasgow Central and Edinburgh, as well as Highland stations. Also there is the direct LNER Highland Chieftain to/from Inverness/London that calls at Aviemore.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
snowball wrote:
...(especially if the Braveheart lift is working - otherwise a short skin is needed to get out)...


Sadly the Braveheart Chairlifts Carriers are lying dumped in a twisted mangled heap at the far end of the Nevis Range Carpark having been airlifted off the mountain in a tangled batch. Mad
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@haggishunter, tragic. Why?
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
mountainaddict wrote:

Glencoe is 35-45 mins from Fort William by car.
OK, perhaps 35 minutes. I was confusing with the time from Ballachulish where I have sometimes stayed.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Sun 25-09-22 13:07; edited 1 time in total
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowball wrote:
@haggishunter, tragic. Why?


Does the phrase HIE account managed business mean anything to you? Skullie
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Ah, OK. I admit I had to look up HIE.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Quote:
Sadly the Braveheart Chairlifts Carriers are lying dumped in a twisted mangled heap at the far end of the Nevis Range Carpark having been airlifted off the mountain in a tangled batch
Horrendous news that - in fact very Cairngorm-esque. And presumably not with a view to repairing the lift...Crying or Very sad
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks everybody!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I just sent Nevis an email saying how tragic the news was and asking (mock naively) if they were planning a replacement.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@snowball, Very Happy excellent. It does feel they are going a bit Cairngorm. Never skied there but go to MTB trails; it seems the blue "downhill" (which is rubbish) they just wanted to get open as quickly as possible last autumn so they could claim they had the longest blue run in the UK and get families piled up the gondola all summer. Disappointing as the other lift accessed trails and XC trails are generally great.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
haggishunter wrote:
snowball wrote:
...(especially if the Braveheart lift is working - otherwise a short skin is needed to get out)...


Sadly the Braveheart Chairlifts Carriers are lying dumped in a twisted mangled heap at the far end of the Nevis Range Carpark having been airlifted off the mountain in a tangled batch. Mad


I posted a question about what was happening to the Braveheart lift on Nevis Range's FB page and mentioned the chairlift carriers dumped at the far end of the Nevis Range carpark you mentioned, and today have received this reply:

"the chairs are not from Braveheart and are snow damaged chairs from else where on the hill. These chairs are getting re-purposed for our Hub Development"

So if they're not from the Braveheart chairlift and the ones you saw were 2 person chairs then they must be from the Great Glen chairlift? Not quite sure what the Hub Development they're referring to is (unless it's the new hotel, restaurant etc that they're building at the base)? If so how do you repurpose a damaged chair, unless they intend just making outside seats from them? Madeye-Smiley
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Yeah they aren't off the Braveheart, and the lift itself is intact as I was under it on Saturday. They are reusing these spare chairs as seats etc at the upgraded hub.
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