Wilderness Scotland: New Small Group Trips
Specialist operator Wilderness Scotland has introduced seven new small group trips to its programme for spring to autumn 2021, as the appeal of an adventure closer to home continues to rise.
The new trips include a superb addition to the operator’s women-only range, with a Wilderness Retreat in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. Also new are walking coast to coast in England, a short break to the Isle of Arran, a pioneering mountain bike route and a pair of sea kayaking trips to Mull and the Sound of Arisaig.
Wilderness Scotland offers over 60 small group tours and self-guided itineraries, as well as tailor-made private-travel options. They specialise in expert-led adventures covering a raft of activities, including wilderness walking, sea kayaking, cycling, mountain biking, wildlife watching, open canoeing, sailing and photography breaks.
Wilderness Scotland has introduced a new Wilderness Retreat to its programme of women-only trips. The goal of this programme is to encourage more women to adventure in the outdoors and create the kind of solidarity, ease and atmosphere that you perhaps wouldn’t find in a mixed group. The new Retreat is based in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, Britain’s largest and wildest, and throughout the week guests will make guided forays out into great outdoors, with the high-point, literally, being a climb to the summit of Cairn Gorm (1,245m). There are also morning yoga sessions led by a local instructor, navigation workshops and one day is spent wild swimming from the UK’s highest beach, with post-swim cakes and coffee by the loch-side to warm up. Guests will also visit Glen Feshie one of the Cairngorms’ most beautiful, and home to an innovative and ambitious rewilding project. Price: from £1,735pp sharing, including six nights’ full board accommodation, activities, guiding and transfers. Depart 24 April, 21 August or 16 October 2021.
An accessible adventure for all, this 12-day trip takes hikers from St Bee’s Head on the shores of the Irish Sea to Robin Hood’s Bay, criss-crossing three of northern England’s National Parks and covering 128 miles on foot. Beginning in the Lake District, guests will hike through Ennerdale Forest and Honister Pass, visit Wordsworth’s house in Grasmere and enjoy a steamship journey across Ullswater. Heading next into the Yorkshire Dales, there are stops in charming villages such as Gunnerside and Ravenstonedale and hikes through the rolling scenery of Swaledale. The third and final National Park is the North York Moors where, after hikes in the brilliantly-named Great Fryup and Blakely Ridge, the group arrives at the North Sea. Accommodation throughout is handpicked hotels and B&Bs. Price: from £3,495pp sharing, including 12 nights’ accommodation, all meals, guiding and transfers. Depart 30 May, 13 June, 1 August, 22 August and 5 September 2021.
Blessed with dramatic mountain peaks, gorgeous beaches and a wealth of cultural treasures, Arran is often referred to as ‘Scotland in miniature’ and it isn’t too hard to see why. On this new guided walking short break; Wilderness Scotland will guide hikers on a variety of routes, teaching them about the island’s rich history and culture whilst staying in characterful accommodation. Highlights include: a visit to King’s Cave, where Robert the Bruce is said to have encountered his spider; a remote route over the Saddle with dramatic mountains and tumbling waterfalls and where there is a chance to see red deer; a trip to Holy Isle with its spiritual heritage dating back to the 6th century; and climbing Goatfell, Arran’s highest point before afternoon tea at Brodick Castle. Price: from £1,095pp sharing, including four nights’ accommodation, all meals, guiding and transfers. Depart 27 March, 10 April and 24 April 2021.
On this new guided small group trip, cyclists will ascend the iconic Duke’s Pass which is part of the Three Lochs Forest, then roll through Perthshire which is Big Tree Country, before finishing in Braemar in the Cairngorms National Park – home to some of the finest remaining ancient Caledonian pine forests in Scotland. This unique trip, which visits both of Scotland’s National Parks, begins in Stirling before heading north into Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, with a thrilling descent to the village of Aberfoyle and a steamboat ride on Loch Katrine. Continuing north, and past the resting place of Rob Roy, guests will follow a superb traffic-free cycleway climbing to the Glen Ogle Viaduct. The following day is a sustained climb on the slopes of Schehallion – the mountain that was the subject of an 18C experiment to ‘weigh the world’, something that led on to Contour lines. The last full day of cycling takes guests into the Cairngorms, up and over the Cairnwell Pass – the highest public road in the UK, before descending to Braemar for a drink at the Fife Arms. Price: from £1,935pp sharing, including six nights’ accommodation, all meals, guiding and transfers. Depart1 May, 26 June and 4 September 2021.
This is a pioneering mountain biking route across the Highlands, taking riders through some of the most magnificent scenery in Europe. Starting on Scotland’s west coast, the small group will follow trails through the iconic mountain regions of Glencoe, the Monadhliath and the Cairngorms. Highlights en route include: an overnight stay in one of the most special places in the Highlands – the remote Loch Ossian hut perched on an amazing loch, deep in the wilderness; lesser-known singletracks along the banks of the Spey; and the ancient Ballochbuie Forest where wild stags roam free and are frequently seen down by the river. The guides will share not only some of the country’s classic trails but also lesser-known gems, not found in any mountain bike guide book. Price: from £1,795pp sharing, including six nights’ accommodation, all meals, guiding and transfers. Depart 18 September 2021.
The Isle of Mull is one of the UK’s richest wildlife destinations and this new kayaking trip gives the chance to paddle alongside porpoises and basking sharks, while eagles glide above. Highlights of the trip include the Sound of Iona, Erraid Island – west Scotland’s sunniest spot, and the golden sands of Uisken Beach. Halfway through the trip, paddlers enjoy a rest day and an included sailing trip to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles for more wildlife spotting and the otherworldly basalt columns of Fingal’s Cave. Price: from £1,395pp sharing, including five nights’ accommodation, all meals, guiding, sailing excursion and transfers. Depart 1 May or 4 September 2021.
This great-value sea kayaking trip (see main photo) is perfect for paddlers with some experience looking to take their next adventurous step. The trip is expedition-style with guests wild camping on the shoreline after each day’s paddle. As they explore the waters in the Sound of Arisaig on Scotland’s west coast, guests will paddle along the Ardnish Peninsula, discover more about the area’s link to the Jacobite rebellion in Loch Nan Uamh, and glide up beside the seal colonies of South Morar. Price: from £935pp sharing, including six nights’ accommodation, all meals, guiding and transfers. Depart 29 May or 31 July 2021.
For more information on Wilderness Scotland call 01479 420020 or visit wildernessscotland.com.