The day I fed reindeer!
On our 9th day we had quite a long road ahead of us. We had to drive back Edinburgh from Inverness (about 230 miles). Our plan was to drop the car off at the airport and then take a bus to the city centre. We could have dropped off the car at another Europcar office in the centre of Edinburgh, but we didn’t want to deal with the traffic.
But the best part of the day was that, on our way to Edinburgh, we stopped at the Cairngorms. The Cairngorms are mountain range in the Highlands which, apart from having several ski resorts, also have the Cairngorms Reindeer Centre, which takes care of a herd of free range reindeer. The centre is quite close to Aviemore and the A9 road.
By paying £14 (£11 for children), you can join a group led by a guide that will drive a short way up the mountains and then walk for about 20-30 minutes to the area where the herd is. Once there, you can feed reindeer and pet them. Guides are very knowledgeable, to the point that they know the names and can easily recognise each individual reindeer.
It was an amazing experience, one of the highlights of our trip. Listening to the group guide tell us about reindeers was extremely interesting and the experience of feeding them was incredible.
If you don’t feel like walking up the mountain, it’s also possible to visit some of the reindeer in the paddock that is located next to the centre. In this case, the price is £3.50 for adults and £2.50 for children. However, I would only do this is if there is really no way you can take part in hill trip.
Afterwards we drove back to Aviemore and had lunch at La Taverna, an Italian restaurant which offers both buffet and menus. And then it was back on the road to Edinburgh.
Afternoon / Evening
We arrived in Edinburgh in the afternoon. We were staying at an Air B&B located at the lower end of the Royal Mile. We were very lucky, as the apartment was pretty big and very conveniently located. Our host, Anne, also has plenty of information on what to do and see.
Since we wanted to make the most of our time and had spent the day driving, we decided to go and join the Hidden & Haunted tour from Mercat Tours. In this tour you go below the streets in Edinburgh and visit the underground vaults, which were used by criminals for a while.
Our guide was a brilliant storyteller, which really made the visit extremely enjoyable and interesting. I don’t remember the details, but he explained all about the origins of the vaults, their uses and various crimes that took place there. I don’t have any pictures from our visit there, but I can recommend it 100%.
Summary and Recommendations
- Seeing and feeding the free range reindeer at the Cairngorms Reindeer Centre
- The Hidden & Haunted tour
- Having lunch at La Taverna in Aviemore