Monday, 9 January 2012

Glenmore Lodge

I got to Glenmore Lodge on Friday, January 6th.

So, first of all, using public transportation can be problematic and expensive. I flew in to Iverness Airport on the 9:05 from Gatwick which arrived at about 10:30. I then took a taxi to Inverness rail station which cost ~£12 + tip. Then I discovered that the train to Aviemore only ran every 2 hours at that time so I had to wait 1 1/2 hours. So I took the 12:46 to Aviemore and arrived there about 1:30. There was a bit of a wait for a taxi and the cost to the lodge was also about £12 + tip.

Unfortunately, when I got to the lodge I discovered that check-in time is 5pm and that there is no food available until then either. The nearest place to eat is at the national forest visitor centre. I was a little miffed at having to walk 1/2 a mile down an isolated back country road to get food, especially when I saw a lodge van come down the road. It would have been nice if they had offered me a lift. Nonetheless, the food at the visitor centre was really good and I strongly recommend the rare beef sandwich with horseradish sauce.

Also next door to the visitor centre is the Reindeer House where you can  go on a visit to the UK's only herd of reindeer.

Anyway, having checked in I was somewhat surprised to discover that I would be sharing a room. I don't think there is an option to have a room alone - I certainly wasn't the only person to get surprised like that!

But at least the rooms in the south wing (where I was) have en suite bathrooms. The ones in the North Wing don't although I hear there are plans to change that and extend into another building as well. Most important is that although the room is basic, the bathroom was fresh and new with lots of hot water and fabulous water pressure. Just what you need after a hard day on the slopes.

Dinner the first night was in the pub upstairs. Over the course of the evening a group of us gravitated to the open gas fire and drank far too late. I would say that the average age was in their 40s which was surprising and that most of them were regular hill walkers, living in areas like snowdonia and the Peak District.

That night around 8pm the kit store opened and we queued up to borrow equipment that we would need the next day. I only borrowed a helmet and a rucksack. If needed, you could also borrow plastic boots, crampons, ice axe, waterproofs, maps, etc. Although they encouraged me to borrow their stuff I stuck with my own because I needed to make sure that the gear I have for Morocco will be up to the task. That way I will have a chance to get something different if needed.

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