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Wilderness Walking – Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside

  • Discover the majesty of the deep glens, clear rivers and wild lochs on expertly guided walks each day as we explore a National Park named as one of the 50 Great Places on Earth by National Geographic
  • Hike on ancient whisky smugglers trails and visit Scotland’s first licensed distillery
  • Experience genuine Highland hospitality at the end of each day, as we stay in Strathspey and Royal Deeside

Green Graded Walking Holidays

Our Green grade walking trips involve straight forward hiking, following generally good trails with no major ascents.

These walks are pretty leisurely and will last for around 5 hours each day. The terrain underfoot will usually be on paths or hill trails, which may still be muddy or rough in places. The daily walks are mainly glen and coastal hikes, with some ascents of low level hills, up to around 1,500 feet / 450m high. So to help you decide if you are fit enough for this trip, ask yourself:

Can you comfortably hike for 6 miles (10km), including some ascent, with rough ground in places? Have you done this recently?

Keith Miller

11th Jun - 17th Jun 2016

Keith Miller
Hugely experienced and passionate naturalist. Keith has been guiding for many years.
no image

27th Aug - 2nd Sep 2016

Alasdair Cain
Hiking in the Cairngorms National Park is a special experience, as we explore a region named by National Geographic as one of the 50 Must Visit Places on Earth. From the majesty of Royal Deeside (where the Queen has her Scottish residence at Balmoral Castle) to Strathspey, where the high plateau rises above the charming […]
Craig_McDonald

24th Sep - 30th Sep 2016

Craig McDonald
Craig's love of history and discovering the footsteps of his clan is what has drawn to his ancestral homelands.

We spend our nights in welcoming and friendly country house hotels: the first 3 nights in Royal Deeside and the next 3 nights in Strathspey. Accommodation is in twin or double rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities.

Both accommodations are owner-managed and our hosts enjoy the great outdoors almost as much as we do! A warm welcome is assured, and you can choose to spend the evenings in the lounge next to the wood-burning-stove or in one of the village’s local pubs.

Food is of paramount importance and our meals are prepared from the best of local produce. We’ll enjoy wonderful home-cooked meals each evening, with good, healthy portions. Naturally, vegetarians and other dietary requirements are willingly catered for – simply let us know at the time of booking.

 

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

There is no single person supplement charged to solo travellers however, you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you require a single room please request this at the time of booking and we will check availability for you. A single room supplement of £150 is charged if a single room is available – please see booking form terms and conditions.

 

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide in the centre of Inverness Railway Station at 1000 on Day 1 of your trip. We aim to return by 1700 on the last day. For full details on how to get to Inverness, please see our website: Travel to Scotland.

Customer Kudos

Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.

Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

That's why we read each of our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

5 star 25

4 star 3

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Fiona Leatt-Hayter 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Great, professional website. Always kept very well informed
Trip Comments
I was confident I would really enjoy the trip, but it was just amazing - great group, amazing tour guide, welcoming and friendly hosts at accommodation and fabulous, varied walking. To top it off, every day done in glorious sunshine. I will definitely be back!
Accommodation and Food
Ian at Moorside in Braemar was great, as was tHe accommodation and food. Dougie in Newtonmore was fantastic and very friendly. The room here wasn't as good, with the bathroom quite mouldy and dirty and no wifi in room, which is quite important with so many clients coming from overseas. This meant I spent quite a bit of time sitting in the main room in a comfy chair - dougie was often there and so friendly and welcoming
Your Guide
As had been indicated from previous reviews, Kirsty was excellent - and indeed she was. So incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, welcoming and took us on amazing and varied walks. What an asset she is to Wilderness Scotland.
The Bottom Line
I have already recommended Wilderness Scotland to other people. The entire experience was fabulous. Keep up the great work, Wilderness Scotland.

by Nina Taunton 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Everything perfect, nothing could be better
Trip Comments
Varied, well thought out itinerary in the most beautiful surroundings.
Accommodation and Food
Our hosts in both places were very friendly, accommodating and helpful
Your Guide
Kirsty is way beyond excellent. In addition to all her attributes, she conjured up Scotland's only week of summer for us. She is in a category of her own.
The Bottom Line
I've just said it all!

by Destiny McCune 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Jane was very helpful and friendly and answered my question promptly.
Trip Comments
Every day was a new highlight so I cannot choose just one. It was a joy to be walking the Highlands seeing all the crystal clear waters and the beauty of the natural surroundings.
Accommodation and Food
At the Craigerne House Hotel in Newtonmore my shower needed a new curtain as the one hanging at it was moldy on the bottom. And the bathroom had mold in spots. Otherwise the accommodation was fine. And Dougie and his wife were extremely hospitable.
Your Guide
Kirsty was a joy. Her knowledge of the area is excellent and she offers it with the passion and enthusiasm she feels for it. Her care in ensuring each traveler's enjoyment was evident in the level of personal attention she gave to all of us. We had many laughs along the way because of Kirsty's lighthearted, positive spirit.
The Bottom Line
The walking trip that Wilderness Scotland provided me through Cairngorm National Park in the Highlands was excellent. I truly loved every minute of it. With Kirsty's guidance it was a new adventure every day at a comfortable pace that created an atmosphere of camaraderie amongst all in our group and that resulted in what I'm sure will be lifelong friendships.

by Steven Markey 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Rachel was very helpful over the phone and all communications regarding our trip were timely and informative.
Trip Comments
As well as having been blessed with magnificent weather throughout our tour, we were blessed with a most wonderful guide whose company we already miss. Kirsty was a pure delight and her enthusiasm and knowledge made us fall in love with Scotland in general and the Cairngorms in particular. It is quite an expense for us to travel from the US so we can't come back as often as we would like but she has already inspired us to come back for a tour of the Orkney Islands with Wilderness Scotland.
Accommodation and Food
This is a mixed rating. The food at our first accomodation in Braemar was outstanding as well as the hospitality. In both cases the accomodations were adequate but average - certainly not award winning. Food at the second location Newtonmore was very average. Both hosts were quite nice though and we particularly enjoyed Ian at Moorfields House.
Your Guide
Kirsty delighted us always, pointing our interesting sights and telling stories. She is the best.
The Bottom Line
Our experience showed us that Wilderness Scotland is a very professional organization with high standards for customer satisfaction. I have already and will continue to recommend them to anyone seeking adventure off the beaten path and an intimate experience of the beauty that Scotland has to offer.

by Claudia Markey 05/10/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
I went on this trip with my husband Steve Markey. Our guide was Kirsty. She was amazing and payed special attention to each one in the group. If you want to hear a detailed, glowing response to your question, please look at my husband's questionaire. Kirsty will understand.....:)
Accommodation and Food
Very good in Morefield Hotel. Food was excellent. Good to average in Newtonmore. The room needed updating and the duct tape in the shower was dfferent....The restaurants that Kirsty took is to where excellent.
Your Guide
Kirsty was our guide. She is just the best. Personal attention to detail, her amazing knowledge and people skills were excellent. She even made a rush candle for all the October birthday people in our group. :) She has a great sense of humour and tells a great story. Just loved her to bits!
The Bottom Line
An amazing trip, Extremely well organized, wonderful new-found and like minded friends. Memories to last a life time. Well done Kirsty and Wilderness Scottland.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Thank you for your comments, we are delighted that you had an amazing trip and will pass on your comments to Kirsty. We hope to welcome you back to the Highlands soon.

by Susann Mathews 28/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
David was very friendly and reassuring both on the phone and by email. I really appreciate the fact that you have a number we can call easily from the U.S.
Trip Comments
Our guide Malcolm was a really great guide and teacher. I write this as someone who has been teaching pre-service teachers not only the math but how to teach. One of the big goals I model by example is for them to listen to the students and respond to where they are. Malcolm did exactly that. he planned each day's hike based upon what we all needed at the time, making each challenging yet attainable and fun. Having only seven participants in our hiking group made it even more fun.
Accommodation and Food
The food was delicious, and the accommodations were quiet, clean, and comfortable. Furthermore, the proprietors were delightful.
Your Guide
Please share with Malcolm what I wrote earlier in the survey.
The Bottom Line
The trip was beautiful and challenging yet fun. I couldn't recommend Wilderness Scotland more highly.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Thank you for your comments which I will ensure are passed on to your guide Malcolm. We hope to welcome you back to the Highlands soon.

by Inga Ebert 27/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Had a problem because the trip was graded easy - and I want to walk much more than we did. My own fault but it was the only trip I could combine with my main trip.
Accommodation and Food
Guest house very good, friendly and helpful staff, rooms good, food fine - couldn't be better.
Your Guide
The guide tried to provide good service for all of us - I was the outsider so it was harder to find things I liked. Besides the guide had a preference for tea and cakes where I would have liked a pub and a pint - now and them.
The Bottom Line
Wilderness Scotland is super!

by Richard Mercer 23/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
David Russell answered many questions and was very helpful when my flight was cancelled.
Trip Comments
It would be hard to imagine a better guide than Malcolm. The hikes he chose were challenging but within the grasp of our entire group aged 50+. He also mixed in dining and shopping options that were very enjoyable.
Accommodation and Food
I certainly don't have any complaints in these areas. I preferred the accommodations in Braemar to those in Newtonmore, but the latter may have been the best choice available. We got to visit a great tea and cake spot *twice*!
Your Guide
Previous comments covered this topic.
The Bottom Line
I'm very glad I went on this tour even though I really shouldn't have been away that week! Give my best to Malcolm and the office staff.

by Susan Barnes 22/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Few glitches along the way but very nice hosts and hostesses. Hot water a problem but I'm sure we're just spoiled. wifi glitchy but to be expected. Overall a good experience. Food was very good without exception.
Your Guide
Malcolm was great. Did a great job of keeping us going and out of the weather. Appreciate his efforts.
The Bottom Line
Overall a great experience and a good value.

by Peter Whincup 21/09/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Prompt response to queries re method of payment. All necessary information was provided in sufficient detail
Trip Comments
Hospitality at the two BB's and overall scenery.
Accommodation and Food
Hospitality exceeded expectations. Food met expectations
Your Guide
Very professional guide
The Bottom Line
Exceeded expectations.

Prices and Departures

68 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
21st May - 27th May 2016
£1,195
4 place(s) left
11th Jun - 17th Jun 2016
£1,195
Places available
23rd Jul - 29th Jul 2016
£1,195
4 place(s) left
27th Aug - 2nd Sep 2016
£1,195
5 place(s) left
24th Sep - 30th Sep 2016
£1,195
Places available

Trip Details

Hiking in the Cairngorms National Park is a special experience, as we explore a region named by National Geographic as one of the 50 Must Visit Places on Earth.

From the majesty of Royal Deeside (where the Queen has her Scottish residence at Balmoral Castle) to Strathspey, where the high plateau rises above the charming villages, flanked by some of Scotland’s oldest forests, Cairngorm National Park delights at every turn.

On this walking holiday, we enjoy some of the best easy hikes in the Cairngorms National Park as we explore Strathspey, Royal Deeside and Highland Perthshire on a two-centre circumnavigation of Scotland’s largest National Park. There is a huge variety of possible hikes to choose from but wherever we venture, we’ll enjoy the fantastic scenery, sense of wilderness and rich history and heritage.

As well as savouring its wilderness, we’ll discover its heritage as we visit a whisky distillery, a 13th century Highland Castle and a wildlife reserve on this memorable walking holiday.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Hiking the Whisky Smugglers Trails

From Inverness, a short transfer south-east takes us to eastern Strathspey, Scotland’s most famous whisky-making region. We’ll enjoy a short walk, following the ancient trails once used by whisky smugglers, keen to avoid the law! We finish up at one of Scotland’s most iconic distilleries, where we enjoy a private tour (with samples!) before transferring south into Royal Deeside and our guest house accommodation.

Day 2 – Hiking Royal Deeside: The Shadow of Lochnagar

This superb circular hike explores Glen Muick, which lies in the shadow of the famous peak of Lochnagar. It takes us through ancient pine forest, past one of Queen Victoria’s hunting lodges and beneath towering cliffs as we circumnavigate beautiful Loch Muick.It’s also a great spot for spotting wildlife – look out for red deer and golden eagles!Overnight Royal Deeside.

Day 3 – The Cuckoo Glen and the Devil’s Punchbowl

This circular hike is one of the best in Royal Deeside. We follow a good trail north to the edge of the Cairngorm plateau, where some of the highest peaks in Scotland rise from the deep glens. The wilderness is striking and the beauty is all around. The rivers are a real highlight with the striking rock features of the Linn of Dee and the Devil’s Punchbowl most notable. Overnight Royal Deeside.

Day 4 – Highland Perthshire and Strathspey

We transfer west into Highland Perthshire, where we make our way to a 13th century castle for a hike on its vast estate. We enjoy a level route through a beautiful forest in a steep-sided glen. We finish back at the castle, with time for a tour of its interior and perhaps the gardens too. A short transfer north takes us into Strathspey and our base for the next 3 nights, a small hotel in a sleepy Cairngorm village.

Day 5 – Into Glen Feshie

Despite being considered by many to be the most beautiful of all the Cairngorm valleys, Glen Feshie is overlooked by many hikers, meaning that a walk here is one which has a real wilderness feel. Our circular route follows the banks of the bubbling River Feshie, through ancient pines to an old mountain hut. The route offers great wildlife-spotting potential with red deer golden eagles and even the rare capercaillie being found in the glen.

Day 6 – Abernethy Forest and Wildlife Reserve

The Abernethy Forest is thought by many to be the most beautiful in Scotland, with beautiful lochs surrounded by ancient Scots Pine trees and framed by views of the high mountains. We’ll enjoy a circular walk, perhaps taking in a section of the Speyside Way long distance trail, and finishing at a wildlife reserve where we’ll hope to see red squirrels and many bird species including, in the early part of the summer, the osprey.

Day 7 – Hike in Cairngorms National Park

There are so many great walks in the Cairngorms that we like to keep the itinerary flexible and decide which hike to take in on the day. One option is a hike close to our hotel, a favourite of the locals. It ventures into the eastern edge of the Monadh Liath mountains on a circular route to Loch Gynack. It’s a wild and beautiful place, so an apt location to end our trip. After the hike, we complete our circumnavigation of the Cairngorms National Park by transferring north back to Inverness for the trip end.

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Prices and Departures

68 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
21st May - 27th May 2016
£1,195
4 place(s) left
11th Jun - 17th Jun 2016
£1,195
Places available
23rd Jul - 29th Jul 2016
£1,195
4 place(s) left
27th Aug - 2nd Sep 2016
£1,195
5 place(s) left
24th Sep - 30th Sep 2016
£1,195
Places available

Price from: £1,195

Next trip: 21st May

Duration: 6 night(s)

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Location: Cairngorms and Central Highlands

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 3

28 review(s)

Trip Photos

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Customer Kudos
I have already recommended Wilderness Scotland to other people. The entire experience was fabulous. Keep up the great work, Wilderness Scotland.

Fiona Leatt-Hayter
05/10/2015

5

I've just said it all!

Nina Taunton
05/10/2015

5

Rated 4.9 out of 5 based on 28 review(s) of Wilderness Walking – Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside

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