I thought the pre-travel itinerary, check list and mini-vignettes (Emails, Wild Swimming video), etc. were very helpful to prepare me for the trip.
Caroline Hart was a top notch guide and leader. She did an excellent job accessing each day's needs (mostly weather) and was able to curate a wonderful week for our wilderness retreat. She helped meld the individual trip participants into a fantastic, connected group. We had wonderful shared experiences on and off the trails including lively dinner conversations! Wendy (chef) was also excellent. Her meals were great and this was a bit of a worry being a vegetarian. I appreciated all of the effort she put in to provide us tasty meals---ensuring all dietary needs were met--- including the effort she made to incorporate yummy foraged ingredients. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the swimming in the loch. So much so that I wish we had a second day of loch swimming. Alice (SwimWild) was very knowledgeable in wild swimming and made the entire experience not only fun but amazingly relaxing and therapeutic. Lastly, the Ballantean Lodge we stayed at was in a perfect location, charming and comfy. I enjoyed learning about the area and the lodge owners work to "rewild" Scotland.
Accommodation & Food
The Ballantean Lodge is beautiful and perfectly located for the activities we did during our wilderness retreat. I enjoyed meeting with Peter and Amanda to learn more about the lodge, local history and the amazing work being advanced to "rewild" Scotland.
Caroline is an excellent, experienced and very knowledgeable guide. She is also engaging, witty and an inclusive person. She curated each day of our retreat based on the weather which I can appreciate as being a challenge at times. She facilitated as much team bonding on the trails as off and ensured that all the participants felt valued and part of the group. This paid dividends early as it was not a day into the retreat that we had lively conversations in the lodge around meals. Lots of laughter and sharing personal experiences. Caroline's leadership style suited the group very well and help ensure that we had wonderful, shared experiences that I know I will remember for a long time.
The Bottom Line
The Women's Wilderness Retreat is an amazing experience. Everything from the activities to the food to the amazing guide felt perfectly curated. Cairngorms is a wonderful location to experience the beauty of the Highlands and to challenge yourself---hiking Cairn Gorm and wild swimming. I highly recommend Wilderness Scotland and hope to plan a future adventure.