Designated the Year of Natural Scotland*, Scotland’s great outdoors will have much to celebrate in 2013, with the Cairngorms National Park marking its 10th anniversary and the 175th anniversary of the birth of pioneering conservationist John Muir. With this in mind, Wilderness Scotland introduces an exciting collection of adventures to its programme of unparalleled wilderness experiences. Among the new trips are: a Scottish Sea Kayak Trail North journey along the Gaelic Coast – completing a special long distance trilogy; a circumnavigation of the Cairngorms; an action-packed Treasure Highlands trip for families; and a collection of wildlife breaks – a brand new focus for Wilderness Scotland.
From the remote Shetland Isles to the Cairngorms National Park, the Scottish Highlands and Islands provide an adventure playground that is as varied as it is beautiful. Choose from 40 plus small group adventures covering a raft of activities, including wilderness walking, sea kayaking, mountain biking, wildlife watching, open canoeing, sailing, ski touring, photography and family-friendly breaks. Suitable for all abilities the trips range from easy to challenging. Whichever guests opt for they can expect to uncover unspoilt scenery, a rich history, warm hospitality, and benefit from expert guiding. While for those who want extra freedom there are a selection of self-guided walking breaks, privately guided tours or the option to tailor-make a unique adventure.
A new area for Wilderness Scotland, this new series of wildlife breaks aims to combine wildlife watching with leisurely activity, taking guests to the best places for viewing wildlife when the chances of spotting species will be at their highest. Among the new trips are Walking and Wildlife in the Shetland Isles; an Outer Hebrides Wildlife Experience and Scotland’s Big 5:
Scotland’s Big 5: Get up close to wildlife in the beauty and authenticity of its natural environment. Visiting some of Scotland’s most celebrated wildlife havens including the Cairngorms, the Ardnamurchan Peninsula and the Isle of Mull, spot the Scottish icons including red deer, sea eagles, capercaillie, whales and red squirrels. Other wildlife highlights include taking a boat trip to spot dolphins; searching for Scotland’s largest birds of prey including golden eagles and ospreys; sea kayaking with seals; observing otters from a wildlife hide; and seeking out the elusive wildcat on an evening excursion. Price: £1,195 inc. 6 nights’ B&B accommodation and all meals. Departures: 4 May and 8 June.
Scottish Sea Kayak Trail North, The Gaelic Coast: This new North Trail completes the trilogy for Wilderness Scotland, having introduced the South Trail in 2012 and the Central in 2011. Kayaking along what is possibly the most beautiful coastline in the world, the new northern section is completely unmarked and undeveloped. An inspiring journey through stunning landscape, this route explores the Gaelic Coast. Paddle around the island-based castle of Eilean Donan, past the Isle of Skye and through the myriad of islands at Plockton (known for its seal colony). Further north, explore the bird sanctuary of Isle Martin and the wonderful Summer Isles, a fitting finale.Price: £895 inc. 5 nights’ B&B accommodation and most meals. Departures: 1 June, 6 July, 10 August and 14 Sept.
For those seeking an epic adventure, the South, Central and North journeys will run in succession in 2013, so those hoping to cover the long distance trail in its entirety can attempt the 19-day Trilogy, beginning on the Kintyre Peninsula at the southern tip of Scotland and finishing in the Northwest Highlands – a total of 180 miles as the crow flies.
West Coast Explorer: This new itinerary allows guests to experience a wide choice of day paddles, with a comfortable bed awaiting each night, as well as an overnight sea kayaking expedition with wild camping. With this level of flexibility, discover fabulous sea kayaking on Scotland’s west coast, with the freedom to explore locations such as Plockton, Kintail, Skye and Knoydart – the options are limitless. Price: £650 inc. 5 nights’ accommodation (hostel and wild camping) and most meals. Departures: 25 May, 22 June and 20 July.
Harris, Skye & Torridon: Combining Skye, the Outer Hebrides and the dramatic Highlands, this challenging but comfortable mountain biking journey covers 181kms of some of the most spectacular and unspoilt regions of Europe. From the classic Reinigeadal Loop on Harris to the magical cliff-top roller-coasters of the Duirinish Peninsula on Skye, mountain bikers will test their metal on some of best backcountry singletrack trails on the British Isles. The epic week ends with a fitting finale riding the Torridon Giants, where a challenging climb rewards riders with 10kms of simply breathtaking downhill. With the backdrop of incredible scenery, culture and island hospitality, this trip makes for an unforgettable riding experience. Price: £895 inc. 6 nights’ B&B accommodation, lunches and support vehicle. Departures: 15 June and 6 July.
Cairngorms National Park: Launched to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cairngorms National Park status, this new break completes a circumnavigation of the Park for a true appreciation of its magnificent wild landscapes. Beginning in the south of the Park, explore Royal Deeside, follow the ancient whisky smugglers’ trails (finishing at an iconic distillery for a private tour), hike beneath the steep slopes of famous Lochnagar and marvel at the stunning rock features of the Devil’s Punchbowl. Moving north to Speyside and visiting Blair Castle en route, enjoy low level hikes in Glen Feshie, one of the Cairngorms’ most beautiful, yet often overlooked valleys, and follow a trail through the scenic Abernethy Forest. Travel in September when the famous purple heather will be at its most vibrant. Price: £895 inc. 6 nights’ accommodation, all meals and distillery tour. Departures: 4 May, 29 June and 14 Sept.
Treasure Highlands: Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel, Treasure Island, was written in the Cairngorms and families can experience an adventure of their own on this action-packed break. Imagine desert islands, ruined castles, a treasure hunt and a host of activities from sea kayaking to mountain biking and learning bushcraft skills to visiting a real Highland Games. Stay on the coast at Arisaig and in the Cairngorms at Aviemore. Price:£875 per adult and £775 per child inc. 5 nights’ B&B accommodation and lunches. Departures: 30 July, 13 August and 21 August.
All prices are per person based on two sharing and include all transport to and from Inverness, full guiding, all scheduled activities, entry fees and equipment.
For more information on Wilderness Scotland Tel 01479 420 020 or visit