Cross-country skiing in Scotland

It’s school holidays this week and so I took the day off work to take the kids on a family learn-to-cross-country-ski day at the Nordic Ski Centre in Huntly. I have been skiing a few times but never cross-country skiing and the children have never been on skis at all.

Cross-country skiing appealed to me because it’s slower and less scary. I am not a risk-taker and the kids have inherited my lack of a reckless gene – let’s call it the Grandma gene – and so I thought they’d be happier trying it out for the first time on the flat and it was definitely a wise move. Elizabeth was terrified of the tiny little hill they do have on the course at Huntly and ended up sliding down most of it on her bottom. Daniel spent much of his time getting tangled and falling over. Cross-country skis are longer than regular skis and so just turning around is quite tricky.




There were three families there and we were definitely the worst. Daniel had problems following instructions and I ended up explaining to the instructors that he’s autistic and on his own planet. Elizabeth was able to follow instructions but I’ve never seen anyone go so slowly on skis except for maybe me the first time I got on skis 🙂 It really wasn’t all that different to the first time they each tried ice-skating where they spent more time gripping the sides and sitting in the stands spectating than actually skating. I expect next time we try skiing they’ll get more out of it as it takes practice balancing and coordinating legs with arms and poles and most importantly, feeling confident.



Ben is away in Germany so he missed out unfortunately. We caught the train there because it was cheaper and faster than driving and I didn’t fancy driving on icy roads. I was very thankful of this decision when I saw the carpark at the ski centre:


It’s also a nice walk from the train station to the ski centre because it goes past Huntly Castle:IMG_4985.JPG




The train is always so pleasant. I love travelling by train. It’s only 50 minutes to Huntly from Aberdeen by train and the landscapes are so nice and there’s a trolley with tea and coffee if you fancy it. Google maps said it would be just over an hour by car to Huntly if there’s no traffic. This means it would probably take me two hours given that I have the Grandma gene. Here’s a pic from the train:


The Nordic Ski Centre has matting which can be skied on all year round. There are also extensive trails in the nearby Clashindarroch Forest. The people are so nice there and they also have a slope for tubing but the kids were so exhausted after skiing that they weren’t interested in that. We had a great day and I think we’ll all sleep well tonight 🙂

8 responses to “Cross-country skiing in Scotland”

  1. A lovely outing 🙂 And yeah, I’m sure your kids can begin to build muscle memory with a few more skiing lessons 🙂

    1. I think we’ll make several visits to the ski centre before trying it for real in Clashindarroch forest. We’ll probably get lost there!

  2. Nice photos as usual. I liked the castle, walkway to the ski center and Elizabeth’s dress. Glad you had fun.

    I am scared to ski as well. I have successfully managed to avoid family trip to places like Mt Maunganui. I need to find a new excuse for this winter 😀

    1. We went to Mt Ruapehu once and it was a bit of a disaster. If you’re interested you can read about it here:

      The views were nice though.

  3. They say it, Nordic skiing, is one of the best aerobic exercises so I’m sure you’ll sleep really well. I have a teenage gene sadly so given the option of hurtling down a slope and cross country stupidity wins every time.

    1. I’m not sure which is worse: a 6-year-old with the grandma gene or a retiree with the teenage gene. In any case, I’m pleased my kids have the grandma gene otherwise I’d probably have a heart attack 🙂

      1. Much as my long suffering spouse suffers from regularly. Plenty of time for them to change. I was nervous until I was 14…😀

  4. We used to use short skis with youngsters, made life a lot easier for them. I also love train journeys, have done a couple of Interail journeys round Europe as and older adult (when younger hitch hiking) and loved it. Better get my ski blog done as well.

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