A ‘post pandemic lockdown’ atmosphere was always one to be questioned. How will people react, what is the new normal, can I do what I normally do, are the public toilets open? As phase three arrived, it was time to head north and see some different sights.
Aviemore and the Cairngorms National Park, in all their beauty awaited. In normal times, July would be mobbed, but it was definitely low key and there was less traffic on the road. But, reassuringly for the local tourism and hospitality businesses, people were there and they were spending money.
To spend time outdoors, naturally social distancing, is without doubt going to become increasingly part of the new normal. What better place to emphasise this than the Cairngorms?
Home to five of the highest mountains in Scotland, 55 munros, the spectacular Loch Morlich, an area twice the size of the Lake District and larger than Luxembourg, a quarter of the rare and endangered species in the UK and three rivers (Dee, Don, Spey) offering some of the best salmon and trout fishing in the world, what more could you ask for?
I arrived with a worry about post-lockdown unpredictability. I arrived with a pre-conception that the Cairngorms would be full of day trippers, too many backpacks, lycra, telescopic walking poles and uncontrollable families. I was pleasantly surprised. It was terrific fun, healthy, spectacular and most importantly, welcoming. I felt comfortable there, I felt like I achieved every day, I felt like I relaxed after all that the four months before had provided.
There is no doubt we will return and a big thank you to the tourism and hospitality businesses throughout the Park, with special thanks to Loch Morlich Watersports who were a great example of the best Scottish hospitality has to offer.