Wild Scottish Highland Retreat

Saturday 11th May – Friday 17th May 2024

Number of Travellers: 8
Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights

Overview

This itinerary promises a tranquil wilderness escape nestled in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Based in the Cairngorms National Park, the UK’s largest, the area boasts a diverse landscape of heather-covered mountains, ancient forests, and pristine lochs. Here, your serene woodland retreat eagerly awaits. With a focus on light activities, cultural immersion, and discovering nature, together we’ll explore this captivating terrain. This journey involves deep connections with the natural world, delving into the region’s rich history, and discovering innovative ways of sustainable living. Amidst this natural haven, you’ll have ample time to relish the tranquility or engage in additional sessions led by the Dare to Detour team. The Cairngorms National Park isn’t just a mere destination; it’s an immersive experience that awakens your senses, rejuvenates your soul, and leaves an indelible mark on your memory.

 

 

Start / Finish – Edinburgh / Edinburgh 

Edinburgh is easily accessible, connected by regular flights from various cities in the UK and Europe, as well-as some direct flights from the US. It is also on the UK mainline rail network, with the sleeper train being an attractive option for the journey to/from destinations in the south of the UK. The airport is approximately 30 minutes from the city center and is connected by tram, bus and taxi.

 

Highlights

  • Experience tranquility in the heart of the Scottish Highlands
  • Refresh and revitalize within the peaceful serenity of a woodland hideaway
  • Hike in the stunning Cairngorm National Park
  • Enjoy the warmth of good company and true Highland hospitality

Day by Day

Day 1 - Saturday 11th May - Edinburgh and the journey north into the Highlands

Whether you’re jetting into Scotland’s capital this morning or have enjoyed some time exploring the city, today you meet your Dare to Detour team and fellow travellers, to begin this wellness-focused journey. Travelling by private transfer, there is plenty to see travelling north, over the iconic Queensferry Crossing bridge, which offers striking views of the Firth of Forth. Pause in the picturesque, riverside village of Dunkeld. It’s an ideal spot to stretch your legs, take a walk by the river or soaking in the peaceful atmosphere, have some lunch at one of the many independent eateries. Arriving in the Cairngorms National Park, at 4.30pm, your local guide will be there to greet you at your stunning, woodland retreat. After checking in, take a moment to unwind and settle into your surroundings, embracing the tranquil ambiance. This evening, prepare for a delightful dinner and the eagerly anticipated welcome briefing.

 

Meet point – Starbucks : land side – Edinburgh airport at 11am

Transfer time – Edinburgh to the Cairngorms National Park, (excl. stops) approx 3 hours

Overnight: Glen Feshie | Ballintean Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2 - Sunday 12th May - Hike the Cairngorms National Park

After breakfast, head out for a short but spectacular walk. The Uath Lochans, known locally as the Paw Print Lochans, are a hive of biodiversity. Raised boardwalks wind through reedy marshlands. Look out for a glimpse of the occasional frog and the glittering wings of dragonflies as they dart over the wetlands. Climbing a short way to Farleitter Crag, this small hill offers incredible elevated views of the water, forest and surrounding Cairngorm Mountains. This afternoon offers something a little different, forest bathing. No swimsuits required as we are not actually swimming but ‘bathing’ in the awesome goodness that trees release into the atmosphere; reaping the benefits from magic little things called ‘phytoncides’ and receiving mental calmness from the fractal patterns, vibrant shades of green and calming blues around us – what better place to do this than in the Cairngorms National Park.

Overnight: Glen Feshie | Ballintean Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 8 km / 5 miles | 186 m / 610 ft elevation gain | Approx: 2 hrs

Day 3 - Monday 13th May - A story of re-wilding in Glen Feshie

This morning we take a short guided walk to explore, Glen Feshie, a glen often overlooked by hikers even though it is one of the most beautiful. This area is also very special for implementing the concept of restoring ecosystems with minimal human intervention. This ambitious and innovative concept, is known as ‘re-wilding’. We will observe nature’s processes, learn about conservation in the area and connect with the wilderness, and although a long term project, spanning generations, you will see for yourself how the work that has already transformed the local landscape, flora and fauna. Following lunch, immerse yourself in a celebration of Highland culture and community through a story telling, performance-based session. This experience combines traditional and contemporary elements, offering a vibrant display of the region’s rich heritage and modern influences. For dinner tonight is at a beloved local pub in Aviemore. Here, we share stories of the day’s adventures and indulge in culinary delights crafted from fresh local produce.

Overnight: Glen Feshie | Ballintean Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 5 km / 3 miles | 150 m / 492 ft elevation gain | Approx: 2 hrs

Day 4 - Tuesday 14th May - Wild swim in a local loch and a taste of true Scotland

After breakfast, we take the plunge! The national park boasts numerous pristine locations suitable for wild swimming, and the activity is well known to provide physical benefits such as improved cardiovascular health and mental advantages, like stress reduction and enhanced mood. It helps foster a deeper connection with nature, promotes relaxation, and can create a sense of community among enthusiasts. Quick shower to warm up and a bite to eat, the afternoon offers a chance to sample one of Scotland’s finest drinks, whisky. Nestled amidst the majestic Scottish Highlands, Dalwhinnie Distillery stands as a beacon of craftsmanship and tradition. Perched at an impressive altitude of 1,164 feet, it is the highest distillery in the UK and draws its inspiration from the rugged beauty of its surroundings. Established in 1897, this venerable establishment has weathered the test of time, crafting exquisite single malt Scotch whiskies that embody the essence of the Highlands. After the exhilarating challenge of wild swimming, followed by a dram or two, we gather for dinner back at the lodge, recounting the fun filled day’s experiences.

Overnight: Glen Feshie | Ballintean Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 9 km / 6 miles | 110 m / 361 ft elevation gain | Approx: 3 hrs

Day 5 - Wednesday 15th May - Discovering an innovative approach to farming

Embark on a serene guided adventure delving into wooded paths and trails to uncover ancient ruins, learn about plants and trees. Steeped in folklore, encounter various creatures, and discover hidden gems and untold stories woven through the landscape. Whether you desire insights into Strathspey’s beauty, want captivating stories for sharing, or wish to learn about foraging in a safe setting, this morning’s fun, unconventional hike, is sure not to disappoint. In the afternoon, we visit a small farm run by two remarkable women. Lynbreck Croft stands as a testament to the viability of regenerative farming in upland landscapes. This innovative approach not only produces food sustainably but also aids in ecosystem recovery and supports biodiversity. The croft’s achievements serve as an inspiring example of how agriculture can coexist harmoniously with nature while fostering a healthier environment for both wildlife and humans. Afterwards we return to the lodge, for our evening meals and to relax and unwind.

Overnight: Glen Feshie | Ballintean Mountain Lodge
Walk Details: 6 km / 4 miles | 150 m / 492 ft elevation gain | Approx: 3 hrs

Day 6 - Thursday 16th May - A summit hike

Our goal for today is to conquer one of the Cairngorms’ finest summits – Creag a Chalamain. Our journey begins as we traverse the moors, on the lookout for the local reindeer herd frequently spotted in this region. Drawing near a rocky chasm, we take a narrow trail that winds its way up towards Creag a Chalamain. Upon reaching the summit, the breathtaking views encompass three of the six highest peaks in the UK. Our descent retraces our footsteps. The Cairngorms National Park is renowned for its rich diversity of bird species, especially its impressive array of birds of prey. The diverse habitats within the park, from mountainous terrains to forests and wetlands, provide an ideal environment for these birds to thrive. After the hike, immerse in a hands-on experience which allows for a unique opportunity to interact with and fly a selection of these birds, providing an unforgettable and immersive encounter with these magnificent creatures. Then, if time allows, a quick drink in a local pub before returning to the accommodation, for our farewell dinner and last evening in this stunning setting.

Overnight: Glen Feshie | Ballintean Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 20 km / 13 miles | 350 m / 1,148 ft elevation gain | Approx: 7 hrs

Day 7 - Friday 17th May - Bid farewell to the Highlands

Regrettably, it’s time to say goodbye to the tranquil forests, scenic glens, and the serene woodland retreat nestled within the Cairngorms National Park. The grandeur of the Scottish Highlands has been truly exceptional. Following a fulfilling breakfast, your local guide will depart before you embark on the return journey south to Edinburgh via private transfer, signalling the end of your Scotland adventure and the continuation of your travels ahead.

Overnight: Depart
Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More

The prices above include the following:

  • 6 nights accommodation as described in the itinerary, based on twin share rooms
  • Breakfast D2 – D7
  • Lunch & Dinner D2 – D6
  • The services of qualified and experienced guide throughout the trip
  • Guide expenses for all guides throughout the trip
  • Day 2 – Forest Bathing experience
  • Day 3 – Re-wilding walk & a private music and story telling session
  • Day 4 – Wild swim outdoor experience
  • Day 4 – Distillery tour
  • Day 5 – Story telling walk & private tour and visit, Lynbreck croft
  • Day 6 – Private falconry session
  • Day 6 – Piper at farewell dinner
  • All gratuities (covering hotel staff, restaurant staff, local guides but not lead guides)
  • All transfers throughout
Exclusions Read More
  • Lunch on Day 1
  • Drinks including soft drinks*
  • Logs for fire pit
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Drinks with meals
  • Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Gratuities for the local guide

*drinks can be purchased at a local supermarket

Arrival & Departure Read More

Your guide will meet you at Starbucks - land side, Edinburgh airport at 11:00 am on the first day of your trip.

You will be returned to Edinburgh Airport at 1:00 pm on the final day of your trip.

Pricing Read More

Pricing:

  • 6 guests £3,150pp
  • 7 guests £3,000
  • 8 guests £2,850pp

The recommended group size would be a maximum of 8 travelers per departure, including the Dare to Detour staff team. For ease of pricing, Dare To Detour staff would be charged at the same rate as your guests.

 

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