Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Development Of Those Majestic Cairngorm Mountains - Scotland's Great Skiing Destination

The United Kingdom has its share of national parks but nothing equals the Cairngorms in size and majesty. The Cairngorm National Park is the largest in all of Britain. It is an extensive mountain range with various ecosystems including tundra and pine forests. The mountain range has six of Scotland's tallest peaks, namely Ben Macdhui (1,309 metres), Braeriach (1,293 metres), Cairn Toul 91,293 metres), Sgor an Lochain Uaine (1,258 metres), and Cairn Gorm (1,245 metres). These peaks boasts of being listed in the top 20 highest mountains in the nation. Cairngorm Mountains is a sectional range of the Grampian Mountains found in central Scotland rising to 1,309 meters (4,295 ft) at Ben Macdhui.

The Cairngorm Mountains are known to be the coldest and highest in the United Kingdom. Forty million years before the most recent ice age that overcame the planet, the Cairngorms were formed. The highest peaks today started out as eroded hills. Today, one of its most prominent features is a massive upland plateau. The peaks are also known to have extremely cold climate and is thus sparsely inhabited. The snow patches in the mountains are very old, and some are known to have melted only five times in 100 years. But the snow patches have been slowly disappearing in the past years due to the warming of the planet.

The Caringorm Mountains has developed into a popular winter sports area. The very first commercial skiing activity in the Cairngorm Mountains was planned and offered to the public by a joint concession of businessmen and landowners in 1950. In 1956 this group decided to set up the "Cairngorm Sports Development Fund" with the goal of raising funds and be able to start their desired Ski Centre Project.

In December of 1961 the Cairngorm Chairlift was opened. Its opening paved the way for the rise of various tourist accommodations and après-ski in areas of Aviemore and Strathspey.

Due to the growing popularity of the place plans were set in place to build there had a ski tow in Ciste Mhearaidh and Marwuis' Well in the 70s but the plan did not materialize.

Up to and including this period of time the year of 1980 had proven to be the most fruitful period for Cairngorm Mountain. New visitors as well as the ones that had previously visited were returning and enjoying their winter holiday on and around the mountain.

In 1981 new plans were made for additional infrastructures in the area. However none of these plans materialized. Nevertheless the number of visitors kept on increasing winter after winter up to 1988.

CairnGorm Chairlift Company Ltd made their final expansion plans in 1991 which also did not materialize. In 1998 a three-stage development plan for Coire na Ciste was initiated. This new plan included changing all the chairs in the chairlifts and making them easier to use, especially for beginners. There were additional alterations to be made on the configurations in the West Wall Chair that would allow passenger downloading in that station.

This latest plan also included the conversion of the chairs to detachable grip and having Ptarmigan Top Station in operation. Sad to say these development plans never got completed, only the initial development was done. After all the previous development plans failed, no further plans have been made.

In 2001, the Ptarmigan Top Station and Funicular Railway were opened. The company responsible for their construction and operation changed their company name to CairnGorm Mountain Ltd. This company also introduced summer activities into the area. With the introduction of summer activities and the establishment of a new 'Sunset Dining' brought about alternative sources of income that helps to support the operations of their new snow sports.

The Scottish Parliament established two parks in 2002 and the Caringorms National Park in 2003. To the Scots the Cairngorms National Park, located in the northeast region of Scotland, is "Pàirc Nàiseanta a' Mhonaidh Ruaidh."

Cairngorms National Park is categorized as a category 5 park and is therefore a protected area. The total area of coverage of this park is about 1,748 square miles or 4,528 sq. km.

The Spey River and Dee River valleys encircle the high peaks and inhabited towns found in the immediate vicinity. A restoration project targeting the Spey River is currently in the works. The initiative seeks to "restore the river to a more natural state." This project is funded jointly by the government of Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Spey Fishery Board, and the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

Sadly, the Cairngorms area is now under threat due to human disturbance and erosion. The quality of the available water is also at risk. There are three ski resorts in the area and the popular winter ski sport is causing human encroachment in an otherwise pristine ecosystem. The developments being done in the area have come under fire from conservationists particularly because of its designation as a protected area.

Skiing is not the only sport practiced on the Cairngorm Mountain slopes. Tourists also visit the Cairngorm Mountains to participate in mountain climbing or to simply walk and explore the majestic beauty of its hills.

The Caringorm Mountains and its surrounding area is also rife for fly fishing and bird watching.

If you are looking for a new life adventure do consider visiting the great majestic Caringorm Mountains of the Scottish Highlands. You'll be so glad you did!

The Best Beginner Ski Schools in Europe for Your Family Skiing Holiday

Family skiing holidays are always special, especially if you are taking your children to the slopes for the first time. On top of the various things you need to consider such as hiring ski boots, skis and ski clothing at the resort so you can then change them if they don't fit properly, you need to do some research into the resort's ski schools to help your children learn the basics of skiing. To give you a helping hand we take a look at the best ski resorts and schools for beginners.

Les Arcs 2000, France

Les Arcs has a range of nursery slopes, 24 to be exact, which are on the doorstep of many ski chalets and hotels. The resort has a free beginner's lift and a variety of harder and longer blue runs down from Arc 2000 to Pré St Esprit for when your children progress towards the end of your holiday. The ski schools instructors are very friendly and are extremely professional.

Saas Fee, Switzerland

Dubbed by many as just about the perfect resort for families the Saas Fee resort is a popular destination for beginners. It has a traffic-free village centre, whilst much of the resort's accommodation lies at the foot of the slopes and therefore very close to all the ski lifts. Children who are beginners are very well catered for with special lift passes available and an array of blue runs for faster learners to test themselves. Ski training schools boast instructors who speak a variety of different languages and offer lessons designed for children to make the most of their holiday. There are both group and private lessons available to children and adults for all different abilities, whether you are a beginner or a more advanced skier. Some popular ski training schools at the resort include: ESKIMOS Ski and Snowboard school, Optimum Snowsports Saas-Fee and Swiss Ski and Snowboard School Saas-Fee. If the ski schools are not enough to tempt you, then the leisure centre, ice-grotto and tobogganing that are available should confirm that the Swiss resort is a family friendly one.

St Anton, Austria

The Austrian resort offers a great place for children to learn the art of skiing. In terms of getting your children to learn the basics of skiing, the resort offers children the chance to join the renowned Arlberg Ski School. The school offers over 300 ski and snowboarding instructors with most speaking English as well. Ski schools at the resort offer lessons for all levels of skier and snowboarder.