Quad Bike Treks Aviemore
Aviemore is a popular tourist attraction in Scotland, with its marketing firmly fixed on outdoor activities with snowsports, walking, climbing, cycling, aerial adventure courses and kayaking being just a few on offer in the stunning surroundings of the Cairngorms National Park.
On our many visits to Aviemore, we have never really pushed the boat out with the outdoor activities, usually just leisurely walks in the woods around Loch Morlich, Loch An Eilein, or a visit to the Highland Wildlife Park or Highland Folk Museum. This time was different! We would try to be the cool outdoorsy types and have a go at Aviemore Quad Biking / Quad Treks!
Quad Bike Treks
After a quick Google search, the Quad Bike Treks at Rothiemurchus Estate Aviemore came up as the top result, I had checked out their photos on Instagram and it looked like a lot of fun. So we decided to book with them, it was about £100 for my wife and me (one bike each), for about an hour's session. We booked well in advance to ensure we managed to get a slot on the dates we wanted, it seems very popular and the bookings online seemed busy. The minimum age was 12 years old, so unfortunately all of our kids were too young to join us (luckily Granny and Granda were on hand for babysitting!).
So finally July came around, we were in Aviemore and the quad bike trek was our first planned activity. We were both a bit reticent, would it be dangerous? Would we get absolutely clarted in mud from head to toe?
Rothiemurchus Visitor Centre
The set meeting point was at the Rothiemurchus Visitor Centre near Aviemore, there is a dedicated shelter area for the quad treks customers (see pic). There are a good amount of car parking spaces here, and if you have booked a morning slot you will be more likely to get a space as the other parts of the centre don't open until 10 am. There is also overflow parking across the road.
After a short wait, our instructor arrived on time and asked us to take a short walk round to where the quad bikes were. Her name was Sarah and she was a really nice lady who took the time to have a wee chat with us as we were walking to the quads. She explained her family had run the quad bikes treks business with her family for more than 20 years, she asked where we were from and where we were staying, it was nice that she would go to that bother.
Quad Bikes Training Circuit
We arrived at a small circuit with all of the quad bikes in a 3x3 grid layout. Sarah gave us a short demonstration of how to operate the quad bikes. Thankfully they were fully automatic, so all that was needed to speed up was a small thumb lever, no gear changes and nothing complicated. Stopping was a simple affair with finger brakes similar to a normal bicycle.
Next up we were given hard helmets with open faces, I was instant told I would be large (I must have a big head) so I grabbed it and clipped on the chin strap. From there we were asked to sit on the quad bikes one by one and then proceeded to set off around the circuit to get a feel for the quad bike, how it handled, how it braked etc. After a few laps we lined up in rows of 2 to begin our quad bike trek!
To begin with our instructor Sarah would give us a heads up on what to expect ahead, any sharp bends/things to look out for. Off we set, it was exciting, I could already tell how fun it was going to be just by how the quad bike already felt going around the test circuit.
The quad bike treks follow a series of dirt tracks. The first leg of the trek took us past the estate's herd of Highland cows, there were actually highland cows on the track and you have to drive around them, they seemed completely non-plussed and must be used to quad bikes going past them. The website explains about the other local wildlife including wild deer and squirrels on the traditional highland estate, but to be honest you are zooming along so happy that you probably wouldn't notice them. I didn't even notice the surrounding mountain landscape that much I was having so much fun.
The fully trained professional guides led us over many different ground/tracks types, including fields, heather moorland, mud, water, and even driving directly upstreams. There are flat sections, hilly sections a really nice variety on the Rothiemurchus Estate.
Sarah the instructor stopped at various areas so you can get a photo or quick video, there are some particularly impressive view points on the Rothiemurchus Estate and as mentioned above, ideal for getting a picture of a highland cow. She even kindly offers to take a picture for you with your own camera or phone at various stages. We have a great video of my wife and me as we drove up a stream on the final part of the trek.
Tip - Stay at the back!
One great tip I would really recommend is trying to be the last person in your group, so when you are queuing to get a helmet etc, try and be the last one. You then get to be the last in the convoy on the trek so no one is behind you, you can hang back a little then speed up to catch up with the group. You also don't feel you are holding someone back behind you or scared of kicking up stones. It was absolutely brilliant being at the back.
What should I wear to go quad bike trekking?
To be honest, we were the least prepared in our group in terms of suitable outdoor clothing, others had full waterproofs/outdoor gear on, we just arrived in jeans and trainers. When we visited it was not raining but there were a few big puddles and muddy areas, however, we didn't get too messy, maybe just a little water and mud spray at the bottom of our trousers. If you took the puddles and water areas more slowly I think you could get through the whole trek unscathed. A pair of wellies would be all that's needed really.
Does it feel safe driving the quad bikes?
Yes, it felt very safe to us, there was no part of the trek that felt like it was dangerous or difficult. There is one mildly steep section but it doesn't feel like you would tip the bike or anything like that. The helmets you are given are of good quality and seem very robust.
Where can I get a bite to eat after?
The Rothiemurchus Visitor Centre where you began at the meeting point has a food outlet point called "The Barn" just at the carpark, the food is quite expensive but it is of good quality. I had the burger here loaded with extra onions and it was delicious.
I really didn't realise how much I would enjoy this experience - I had a huge smile on my face the whole time. My wife really enjoyed it too despite her initial reservations and she was glad she did it, we would both definitely do it again. Full marks to the staff at Highland Venture Ltd too, we would highly recommend booking with them... maybe we will try the 4x4 off-road driving next time! If you're looking for an inspiring outdoor adventure in the Cairngorm National Park, you can't go wrong with the quad bikes at Rothiemurchus.
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