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A family holiday at the Altnaharra – A teenager’s view

Fishing on Loch Naver

I’m a 17 year old girl and have been visiting Altnaharra Hotel with my family every year since it reopened. We go at Easter which I really love because it’s actually quite warm but you don’t get the midges! On my first visit in 2010 I wasn’t expecting much but I really was pleasantly surprised!

It’s usually quite an active holiday for us; we often go on walks in some amazingly beautiful places, which isn’t hard in an area like the Highlands. The chef at the hotel packs a lunch for us so we can make a day of it. We also cycle using the hotel’s mountain bikes, although there are a lot of hills so you need some energy!

I also tried fishing for the first time in Altnaharra when my dad took my sister and me out on Loch Naver in a boat. Our hopes were high to catch a huge salmon but when my line tugged I was so excited it didn’t matter what it was. As it turned out my sister and I caught 12 brown trout that day, the larger of which we took back to the hotel and the chef cooked it for our dinner. It was the best brown trout we’ve ever eaten!

The best thing I’ve ever done on my holidays in Scotland is horse-riding on the beach which the hotel arranged for us. We drove up to Bettyhill where there are stables and anyone can have a go. I have hardly ridden in my life but I was pretty eager to jump on. My horse was well suited because she was quite old so she wasn’t going too fast and it really was great fun. There were much sportier horses for regular riders, and maybe I can try one of those next year.

And even when the weather’s not so good there are still things for us to do. At the hotel there is a games room in the log cabin where we play table tennis, table football and snooker which is great because we have tournaments and we’re all pretty competitive so the rematches can go on for hours…

Obviously, being in the Highlands, you feel very secluded but I only realised the extent of that on a crystal clear night when I looked up at the stars. It was absolutely incredible, the entire sky was completely showered in them which was the most amazing sight and really let you know just how far away you are from cities further south, it’s a great feeling! I saw the Milkyway for the first time but not the Northern lights – although I gather they can be seen by those lucky enough to get their timing right, which one day I hope will be me!

So, from a less-than-convinced teenage girl three years ago on my very first visit, I’m now a regular. Our trips to The Altnaharra are part of our annual calendar and the whole family really look forward to them… including me!