Wilderness Scotland continues to excel in getting off-the-beaten track with an extended range of guided small group adventures for 2020. Among the new trips introduced are: a mountain bike tour of the Cairngorms National Park; a photography break to Islay guided by Colin Prior; a cycling exploration of the Scottish Borders; and Wilderness Scotland’s first wholly English trip, to Northumberland and the Lake District.
Wilderness Scotland has over 40 small group, expert-led adventures covering a raft of activities, including wilderness walking, sea kayaking, cycling, mountain biking, wildlife watching, open canoeing, sailing and photography breaks, as well as some tailor-made and self-guided itineraries.
NEW FOR 2020
Wildlife – Scotland: Big Picture Rewilding Retreat
Rewilding in Scotland is part of a growing worldwide movement that seeks to bring about the large-scale restoration of ecosystems on land and at sea. There are many exciting rewilding initiatives underway in the Scottish Highlands that will see large areas of forest, peatland and wetland restored and revitalised. These are the places where sea eagles soar, pine martens forage and beavers shape forest and loch, and where one day lynx might stalk their prey again. Based out of a gorgeous lodge in Glen Feshie, guests will be taken to these sites in the company of an expert guide, walking through the landscapes and chatting to local rangers and conservationists. Price: from £1,325pp sharing, including 6 nights’ accommodation, all meals, transfers and guiding. Depart 31 October 2020.
Road Cycling – Tour of the Scottish Borders
Too often overlooked for the rugged allure of the Highlands further north, Scotland’s Borders offer some of the best road cycling in the country. The area’s quiet country lanes, quaint, historical villages and beautiful rolling scenery are all showcased on this new guided trip. Highlights include a coastal route along the Berwick Coast past the soaring cliffs of St Abbs Head Nature Reserve, a foray into England and the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and a loop along the River Tweed before tackling the famous Wall of Talla, a steep 20% gradient that offers breathtaking views, literally. The area’s history is revealed, too, by visits to Rosslyn Chapel, with its Holy Grail links, Traquair House, Scotland’s oldest home inhabited by the same family since 1491, and Abbotsford – the historic home of Sir Walter Scott. On the final day, there’s an included boat trip to Bass Rock to see one of the largest gannet colonies in Scotland. Price: from £1,895pp sharing, including 6 nights’ accommodation, all meals, support van, transfers and guiding. Depart 23 May or 8 August 2020.
Mountain Biking – Tour of the Cairngorms National Park
A vast and wild landscape, the Cairngorms National Park is a playground for the mountain biker, with thrilling descents and challenging ascents. Guests will cover over 200km of trails on this new guided trip, taking in its dramatic glens and lochs, as they circle the Park. The circuit begins from Aviemore with a journey through the Braes of Abernethy and a stony ascent to the Ryvoan bothy, before passing abandoned crofts en route to Tomintoul – the highest village in the Highlands. The route then gets wilder as it follows Loch Builg and the River Gairn to Ballater and, the next day, enters the Royal Estate of Balmoral. Highlights also include riding a remote suspension bridge over the Falls of Tarf; an epic section of singletrack beside Loch Dun; and the beautiful Caledonian forest of Rothiemurchus. Price: from £1,735pp sharing, including 6 nights’ accommodation, all meals, support van, transfers and guiding. Depart 20 June or 1 August 2020.
Wilderness Walking – Northumberland and The Lake District
On this new trip, the first offered by Wilderness Scotland wholly south of the border, guests will explore both Northumberland and the Lake District, visiting historic sites and enjoying guided walks. The holiday begins with a hike along Hadrian’s Wall, stopping at the ancient fort of Vindolanda, before transferring to Bamburgh on the coast. From here, there are visits to Lindisfarne and walks along St Oswald’s Way and into the moorland of Northumberland National Park too. Crossing the country to the Lake District, guests settle into a Victorian hotel in Buttermere, one of the Lakes’ quieter valleys surrounded by fells and high peaks and offering walks for all abilities. Highlights include climbing Cat Bells, one of Wainwright’s favourite hills, and Aira Force, a thundering waterfall in the hills above Ullswater. Price: from £1,735pp sharing, including 6 nights’ accommodation, all meals, transfers and guiding. Depart 16 May or 5 September 2020.
Photography – Islay
On Islay, islanders follow ‘lleach time’, a relaxed rhythm of life in sync with the pace of the land and the sea. It is a rhythm that guests will follow too on this new photography holiday, led by Colin Prior, one of the UK’s leading outdoor photographers. The days are spent chasing the light across the landscape, from early mornings at the white sand beaches of Machir Bay to the quartzite summit of Beinn Mhor. There are also visits to local bird reserves to capture on camera species including golden eagle, peregrine falcon and hen harrier. Each evening, Colin will offer individual feedback on photographers’ images and tutorials to help them improve. The holiday is based in the conservation village of Port Charlotte, staying in a hotel recommended by the Michelin Guide Price: from £2,100pp sharing, including 5 nights’ accommodation, all meals, photography tuition, transfers and guiding. Depart 21 April 2020.