Winter snowmobiling holidays in Scotland

Written by michael remmert
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Winter snowmobiling holidays in Scotland
Snowmobiling adds fun to a winter vacation (snowmobile riding image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from Fotolia.com)

Snowmobiling is uncommon in Scotland; there are no organised tours or commercial rental operations for tourists. Very few snowmobiles are used at all, and if so, they are hardly ever driven for recreational purposes but for repair jobs by construction crews or, on extremely rare occasions, by law enforcement officers to reach locations that are difficult to get to otherwise. However, with a little ingenuity, it is possible to explore parts of the Scottish Highlands on a snowmobile.

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Finding a Snowmobile in Scotland

There are a few private snowmobile owners in Scotland´s Highlands, mostly in skiing resorts such as Glencoe or Nevis. They use their vehicles to reach remote structures on their properties, such as barns or feed storage bins after blizzards have dumped a lot of snow on the ground. Some of those owners are open to the idea of renting their snowmobiles to tourists and visitors, or even guiding them around the area, as there are no snowmobile trails in Scotland. In the industrial town of Aberdeen, on Scotland´s North Sea Coast, some heavy equipment supply companies have a few snowmobiles for rent, mostly for geologists needing to explore certain areas of the Highlands for mining projects. However, snowmobiles rented in Aberdeen would have to be pulled into the Highlands by trailer, since the Highlands Region is the only place in Scotland with sufficient snow cover.

Permits and Other Requirements

Anyone wishing to drive a snowmobile in Scotland must possess a valid Euro Class C driver´s license or its foreign equivalent. No special classes to learn how to operate a snowmobile are necessary. However, operating a motor vehicle of any kind is subject to a long list of local regulations and restrictions when off private property in Scotland. Mostly, snowmobiles can only be used on public roads. Emergency workers and law enforcement officers as well as people with a special purpose to operate a motor vehicle on public land off-roads, such as geologists exploring land for mining operations, are exempt from the restrictions after having obtained special permits from the local authorities.

Good Conditions for Snowmobiling in Scotland

Scotland´s climate conditions provide for ample snowfall between December and March in the Highlands Region, a mountainous area in the north of the country´s interior with elevations rising to 1,250 metres above sea level, about 4,100 feet. The coastal areas are mostly snow-free all year.

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