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Overnight Breaks

Overnight Breaks, Travel

Why We Need to Stop Saying “It’ll Go Without Me” When It Comes to Air Travel

“It’ll go without me” is a common excuse about air travel that needs to stop if we want to be part of the solution to our climate emergency.

I was in a cafe the other day, the kind of cafe where the tables are squashed together just a little too close to one another for comfort. I had come for peace and quiet, and as I took my seat at the only free table, I immediately regretted my choice of cafe. Two women were sat at the table next to me chatting quite loudly, and as I drank my cup of tea and scribbled some notes, I tried to tune out their chatter.

My ears pricked, however, when their conversation turned to holidays. One woman revealed to the other that she and her husband had booked a family holiday abroad, and whilst she was excited about the holiday, she had recently watched David Attenborough’s Climate Change: The Facts. and felt terrible guilt over the flights it would entail and the impact on the environment. Her friend, being the good friend, told her not to worry because that flight would go anyway, whether she was on the flight or not, and the act of her flying on this particular flight wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to the environment.

I bit my tongue because I’m not the kind of person that would butt into the conversation of strangers (though it seems I’m the type of person that would recount the conversation of strangers on the internet!), but I couldn’t help but wish we could stop spreading the false notion of “it’ll go without me” when it comes to transport, particularly air travel.

Profits, Not a Public Service

When it comes to air travel, you have to remember that flight operators are businesses – they don’t just exist to perform a public service – so money is everything. Flights and routes need to be profitable otherwise services get cut. So yes, in the short term that one flight probably will go without you, but in the long term the fewer people that choose to fly, the fewer flights and fewer runways are required, and the less profitable aviation becomes, meaning the “it’ll go without me” notion becomes a hollow excuse.

Of course, some air travel can be unavoidable. Work trips, trips to see family and friends abroad, or living on a small island with little alternative, can mean few alternatives to flying. However, 47% of Britons are willing to fly less because of climate change (ignore the doom and gloom right wing headline, 47% of Britons is HUGE). If almost half the country stopped flying for avoidable trips – e.g. to go on holiday abroad – the numbers of flights would be cut back drastically to reflect the downturn in demand.

Of course, it’s not just Brits that need to stop flying to be able to reduce flights, but no-fly campaigns are growing in Europe, and I would imagine will catch on more and more as interest and awareness in our climate emergency gathers momentum – particularly when one transatlantic flight can add as much to your carbon footprint as a typical year’s worth of driving (and that’s just one way).

Be Part of the Solution

So the “it’ll go without me” excuse doesn’t hold weight: like most environmental actions, while you won’t save the world on your own by not flying, you will certainly be part of the solution by not flying when you don’t need to.

If you want to really be part of the solution when it comes to air travel then consider the value of social proof. This survey on fast fashion, for example, showed that a staggering 90% of respondents would shop secondhand if their friends or family did so first. Therefore, it would hold if more of us holiday in the UK and talk to our friends and family about our holiday,s then the more people that will consider the value of holidaying without flying anywhere.

One of my Scottish friends took a holiday in the north of Scotland over Easter and shared the photos on Facebook. Two Scottish people commented that the photos of the trip had inspired them to holiday in Scotland, which on a micro-scale highlights the value of social proof:

And living in the UK, we really are spoiled for choice when it comes to beautiful spots to holiday in – there’s no shortage of places to go. From city breaks to beach holidays, to forests to mountains, we really do have it all.

It’ll Go Without Me Applies to Public Transport Too

The same “it’ll go without me” mentality when it comes to public transport is another one that needs to stop, because, like with airlines, if people don’t use their local bus and rail networks, they will cease to run too.

Whilst many bus routes are subsidised by local authorities, these routes still have to be profitable. When bus routes get cut, these cuts hit the poorest the most. The more we use public transport, the better for the environment and the better for those on lower incomes too, which is true sustainability.

Over to you: do you holiday in the UK? Have you cut back on your flying because of climate change? Would you cut back on your flying because of climate change? I’d love to hear!

Overnight Breaks, Travel

Things To Do In Aviemore

red squirrels aviemore

rothiemurchus

I’ve been going to Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands on holiday on a semi-regular basis since I was a little girl, and needless to say it’s one of my favourite parts of Scotland.  We were most recently there in late autumn last year, where we spent a week fitting in all of our favourite things to do in Aviemore, and it never disappoints.

I had actually started to put this post together after we got back but completely ran out of steam and the post has sat in my drafts folder since November.  Time to turn this ship around!  There are a ton of things to do in Aviemore, most of which are family friendly, so today I thought I’d (finally!) share some of my favourites.

Things To Do In Aviemore

The Mountain Cafe

Let’s kick this guide off starting with food, because what’s a holiday without knowing where the best places to eat are?!

Our all time favourite place to eat in Aviemore is the Mountain Cafe.  They are only open until 5pm or 5:30pm depending on the day (best to check their website before you visit), so it’s only good for breakfast or lunch, but my, the lunches are delicious.  As vegetarians we were really well catered for, with bountiful options (I went for a halloumi flatbread this time, which was delicious, but their veggie burgers are highly recommended!).  Meat eaters are also well catered for, as are vegans and those that are gluten intolerant.

It’s not just the lunches, and the cosy atmosphere that attract us to the Mountain Cafe.  The Mountain Cafe has one of the best selection of homemade cake I’ve ever seen – think 20 plus delicious cakes to choose from!  We are always too full from lunch to manage cake afterwards, but we always get some to takeaway to enjoy later!  Portion sizes are very generous too, and we always find a slice lasts two days (and from someone who loves cake then this is saying something!).  I’ve even been known to swing past the Mountain Cafe to grab some takeaway cake before boarding the train home to Edinburgh, ’tis that good.

Inshriach Nursery

Inshriach Nursery

Another favourite for tea and cake is the Potting Shed at Inshriach Nursery.  They, again, have an amazing selection of delicious homemade cake (my absolute favourite is the peanut cake!).  And while the cake would be a big enough draw in itself, the Potting Shed has an amazing viewing area that overlooks an array of squirrel and bird feeders.  It’s definitely one of life’s great pleasures, sitting eating your cake and observing the birds and red squirrels feeding.  We saw two red squirrels on our most recent trip there, which most impressed my daughter.

To burn off the cake, you can then have an amble around the nursery.  It sells a vast array of hardy alpine plants, and it’s always a joy to walk around this beautiful nursery.

Rothiemurchus Centre

Another Aviemore favourite is the Rothiemurchus Centre.  We always make a point of walking there and enjoying a steaming mug of hot chocolate and a slice of homemade cake in the cosy cafe, however the lunches do look very very good!  Whilst you’re there you can also visit the farm shop, and book any activities held on the Rothiemurchus Estate that take your fancy.  Quad biking anyone?

My daughter said she enjoyed the Rothiemurchus Centre most, out of all the things we did in Aviemore on this trip, which is quite the compliment!  I think it was the hot chocolate, cake selection and very friendly staff that swung it for her!

The Old Bridge Inn

We didn’t do any drinking on our last trip to Aviemore on account of me being pregnant, but somewhere we have thoroughly enjoyed in the past is the Old Bridge Inn.  It’s a really cosy bar, with a friendly laid back atmosphere.  We’ve spent many an evening in the past, meeting up with friends and having a few drinks in front of their log fire, and occasionally caught the odd live band.  They do serve food as well, but we’ve yet to give this a go!

I’ve also heard from friends in the area that the Cairngorm Hotel is good for a drink, and that the buffet at La Taverna is pretty good!  Next time we’re in Aviemore both are on our list!

Landmark Centre

Landmark Centre Carrbridge

We visited the Landmark Centre in Carrbridge (a few miles from Aviemore) this time around – a forest fun park.  I’d been a couple of times as a kid and had such fond memories of the place, but hadn’t been back in well over 25 years.  Visiting again as an adult did not disappoint.

It’s fantastic for families: there’s so much for kids to do, and for adults to enjoy too.  We all enjoyed the red squirrel trail (above) and my daughter loved all of the play parks, mazes and more.  We went off season where it was only £6.25 entry per adult (under four’s get in free), which was incredibly good value.  The rollercoaster, aerial assault course, and water ride were all closed, but my daughter wasn’t tall enough to go on those rides, and I wasn’t able to go on them either so the fact that they were closed made no difference to our trip (and saved us £11 each off high season prices).

Walk/Cycle

things to do in Aviemore

You’re really spoiled for choice when it comes to walking and cycling in and around Aviemore.  There are so many stunning walks and trails that it’s impossible for me to list them all here.

The very photogenic Loch An Eilein is very highly recommended for walking or cycling around.  This stunning Loch is about 4.5 miles in circumference, so makes for a good short walk/cycle.  I’ve walked it a few times, and mountain biked it and both were really enjoyable.  I am not a mountain biker by any stretch of the imagination (I’m an A to B cyclist, or a leisurely cyclist) but the trail is very gentle and ideal for beginners (or leisure cyclists like me!).  There are heaps of bike rental companies in and around Aviemore offering competitive prices on bike hire, either by the day or for longer periods of time so you don’t have to bring your own bike to enjoy the trails in and around Aviemore.

We’ve done a few walks in Glenmore, which offered stunning views, as well as around Loch Morlich and Loch Insh.  We’ve also done a few walks/cycles on the Old Logging Way.  Try the Walk Highlands website for other suggestions/routes.

Water Sports

Loch Insh Aviemore

Water sports are not my bag, but if they are yours then you’re spoiled for choice in Aviemore.  Try Loch Insh, where you can sail, kayak, canoe, and windsurf, and Loch Morlich, where you can do all of the above as well as mountain bike if you’ve had your fill of water!

Red Squirrel Spotting

red squirrels aviemore

You can’t go to Aviemore and not go red squirrel spotting.  Thankfully it’s not that hard to spot our native furry friends, but always a treat!  Spend any amount of time in any woodland in or around Aviemore and I promise you you’ll see a squirrel!  I’ve always found early morning or late afternoon best red squirrel spotting time.

Outside of Aviemore

Leakey's bookshop Inverness

If you find you’ve had your fill of Aviemore, the bright lights of Inverness aren’t far away.  When in the city I always make a point of heading straight to Leakey’s Bookshop – Scotland’s largest (and I’d say best) secondhand bookshop.  If you love old books, old maps and antique prints, then this is the place for you.  Situated in a converted church, this charming bookshop is stocked floor to ceiling with secondhand books.  A woodburner in the middle of the shop adds to the ambiance, and the upstairs cafe serving tea, cakes and lunches means you could easily spend the best part of a day in Leakey’s.

Of course, it goes without saying that Loch Ness isn’t far away either, and the charming Fort Augustus, but you don’t have to stray too far away from Aviemore to have a varied and fun packed holiday.  We’ll certainly be back soon,

Have you been to Aviemore?  What are your favourite things to do in Aviemore?