Walk up, train down
Let’s be honest – hiking up a mountain can be a fairly exhausting experience. So the last thing you may want after walking to the summit may be to walk all the way down again.
Thankfully, the Walk Up, Train Down walking experience means you don’t have to. With this experience, visitors can enjoy the peace and fresh air of the mountain landscape and combine it with a ride on the funicular mountain railway. This is a popular plan for those with family who often find the younger members want to ride the train. The train ride at the end is a well used incentive for reluctant wee walking boots!
The idea is that you follow the self-guided footpath network to walk through the ski area on a range of clearly marked trails up to the Ptarmigan building. Here you can stop, pause for refreshment at the Ptarmigan Restaurant, perhaps pop into the Shop at the Top where you can buy a ticket for the train journey downhill or continue to the summit and back before entering the Ptarmigan for the funicular back down. Visitors planning to walk up and take the train back down are advised to check the last train time down before they set out on their walk. Train times do vary throughout the season and the last train down for the public is usually 4.30pm.
If you decide to take this popular route in the Highlands of Scotland, make sure you allow at least 90 minutes for the walk to the Ptarmigan; and then another 30 minutes each way if you plan to go to the summit to enjoy the spectacular views across Aviemore and beyond.
The walk is only advisable if you are relatively fit and do not suffer from any serious medical conditions. We suggest this walk is suitable for children aged 8 year and above; however, the footpath conditions are not suitable for buggies, strollers or wheelchairs. Dogs are welcome on all walks but they must be kept on a leash – and it will cost £1 to take a dog on the down train – they will have to travel in a separate compartment from other visitors and it is at the drivers discretion as to which train they will get down.
It’s best to take waterproofs and extra clothing because of the changeable weather, with walking boots or trail shoes required – a hat should also be carried. Take plenty to eat and carry water. Also bear in mind that the last train comes down at 4:30pm with tickets costing £7.50 for adults; £6.50 for seniors/students; £4.95 for juniors; £22.50 for a family with two adults and two juniors; and £15.50 for a family with one adult and two juniors.