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Wilderness Walking – Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside

  • Hike on ancient whisky smugglers’ trails and visit Scotland’s first licensed whisky distillery.
  • Discover the majesty of the deep glens, clear rivers and wild lochs on expertly guided walks.
  • Enjoy the huge variety of wildlife to be found in the Cairngorms National Park.
  • 6 nights accommodation in comfortable small hotels
  • All meals during the trip (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • The services of an experienced and knowledgeable guide / driver throughout
  • All transport throughout the trip starting and finishing in Inverness
  • Entrance fees to a whisky distillery, Highland castle and wildlife reserve

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?

We spend our nights in welcoming and friendly country house hotels: the first three nights in Royal Deeside and the next three nights in Strathspey.

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.

Accommodation is in twin or double rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities.

Food is of paramount importance and our meals are prepared from the best 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.

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.

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 54

4 star 3

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Pamela Austin 10/10/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I called with questions and your office staff provided the answers I needed. I also appreciated the periodic emails as the trip date approached.
Trip Comments
The week-long walking holiday was beyond my expectations. Every aspect of the holiday was well-planned and well-executed. Even the weather cooperated and the other participants on the trip were perfect traveling companions!
Accommodation and Food
The accommodations in Aviemore and Newtonmore were outstanding. The hosts were congenial and very attentive. All breakfasts and packed lunches were filling and delicious. The Callater Lodge offered fresh baked sweets. Coig na Shee Lodge provided an excellent evening meal before our last day. The availability of laundry services at Coig na Shee was a welcome surprise.
Your Guide
Both Rosie and Al were experienced guides who competently led our outings. I felt confident in their abilities to handle any challenges we might face.
The Bottom Line
The walking tours provided by Wilderness Scotland suit my needs---reasonable distances and terrains to be walked each day with a qualified guide to ensure safety and to provide information on history, legends, weather, land use, and local flora and fauna. The accommodations provide comfortable spaces for relaxing, rooms with comfortable beds, en suite baths with plenty of hot water, and a variety of choices for breakfasts and packed lunches. The restaurants we visited for evening meals offered a good assortment of local food and drink in a cosy atmosphere. Castle visits and distillery tours complemented the walking experience. When the weather is consistently good and the walking companions are congenial and compatible, the result is pure bliss!

by Peter McEwen 09/10/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Great trip! ; leader had a diversified group and made it accessible & enjoyable for all.
Trip Comments
Great trip ! Leader had a diversified group and made it accessible & enjoyable for all!
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation vey good and representative of Scottish hospitality !
Your Guide
Our trip was quided & although there was an unavoidable change she was very knowledgeable, great with our diverse group and fun to be with!
The Bottom Line
Based on my experience I totally endorse Wilderness Scotland as a go to company

by Sara McEwen 08/10/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line
Excellent service, guides, accommodations, food, and lovely walks. It was the first time I have left the planning up to others and the result was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. Thanks to Rosie, Al, and the Wilderness Scotland staff.

by Anne Filson 06/10/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The several times I telephoned with questions, someone always answered and could give me exactly the answers I needed. Also, your equipment list and then trip reminder close in time to the trip were most helpful.
Trip Comments
Our group of seven hikers plus Rosie Mckenzie and then Al Goodridge were marvelously compatible. Both Rosie and Al assessed our hiking wishes and skills with tact!
Accommodation and Food
The food -- at the accommodations and at the restaurants chosen by Rosie and Al -- was the best (and I'm not gushing) I've had on any of my four previous hiking trips in the UK. Thank you for a generous food budget. It made for much satisfaction for the entire group.
Your Guide
Both Rosie Mckenzie and Al Goodridge (I hope I got his name correct) were founts of knowledge about the fauna and flora (and geology) of the Cairngorms. They were cheerful and organized and gave the sense that they could handle any emergency. Thanks to you for selecting them to substitute for Keith Miller.
The Bottom Line
I wish we had been able to climb right into the wild interior of the Cairngorms, but hiking into glens from north, east, south, and west was quite wonderful. Perhaps Wilderness Scotland could offer a pack horse supported expedition? (Loved the Glenlivit Distillery tour, too!)

by Francine Barclay 11/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I received very prompt responses to email and excellent service during phone call. Thanks!
Trip Comments
The Cairngorms Walking trip was far more than I could have imagined. James, our guide, is a gem! He knows how to assess abilities and offered encouragement throughout the trek. He has a wealth of knowledge of the area and shared great practical tips. Accommodations and dining were 5 star, as well.
Accommodation and Food
Both B&Bs were fab. Innkeepers top of the line. Breakfast, packed lunches were always delicious and well portioned. It was wonderful to order from menu at each restaurant. So many great choices and experiences.
Your Guide
As mentioned earlier, James is a gem. He is such a kind and gracious man, offering encouragement and great tips throughout the journey. He has such a vast amount of knowledge and presents information clearly and completely. James is entirely enthusiastic about sharing the wonders of the Highlands. He knows how to carefully read people and is entirely suited for proceeding at a pace in which he accommodates a group of walkers of varying abilities. James is a true blue, genuine , charismatic and entirely skilled guide. Stellar...the best!
The Bottom Line
Top notch experience. The journey of a lifetime. Choose a trip and do it with Wilderness Scotland!

by Barbara Dubitsky 06/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
We lived the walks, James our fabulous guide, the beautiful mountains, the great food, the fine B&Bs
Trip Comments
We hiked to the top of mountains, walked around the sides of two of them to what felt like getting into the inesides of them
Accommodation and Food
At the first B&B the owners obviously loved running is. They created an atmosphere that made us feel right at home. Their lunches had great variety and delicious. The second was very beautiful. The owner or not so friendly but where in five. Wife cooked us a fabulous dinner on the last night. All the restaurants were fine for one in a hotel. The last one was exceptional.
Your Guide
James was in amazing guide. He was exceptionally knowledgeable. He was able to create walks for us that allowed for the wide variety of skill level of the people on the trip. He understood how to support us to walk around the mountain in ways that I never thought i'd be able to do. He knew how to deal with all the people on the trip so that everyone got what they needed. On one day someone thought Ishe could not handle the day and was going to stay home. But he convinced her that she would be able to handle the walk. It allowed for all of us to stay together as a group and gave her the pleasure of that tech killer walk in the mountains. We would have a trip with James anytime.
The Bottom Line
Vacation have a lifetime. And we have by, canoed, and various other vacations this was The best. We never expected to see the mountains as we did we never expected to have such fabulous food we never expected to have such lovely B&Bs and we thank you James!

by Bruce Barrett 04/09/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Only thing that could be better was that the information sent to us, at some point close to our trip, had to be refreshed by your office. Not sure why that was, but we did end up getting it again:
Trip Comments
Fantastically beautiful!!
Accommodation and Food
The restaurants we are in were all great, but one - and that was more because of the waitstaff not due to the food. On our last night our host, Marion, at the B&B made dinner for all of us. She must be a professional chef! The food was some of the best I've had anywhere, and the presentation was beautiful. What a great way to end our stay there!
Your Guide
Our guide James was the absolute BEST imaginable. He took excellent care of everyone in our diverse group, and he knew the area like the back of his hand. I honestly can't imagine a better, more inspiring, enthusiastic guide. He was just excellent!!!
The Bottom Line
Couldn't have been better!

by Marc Thayer 09/08/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Maggie Hayes 07/08/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line
Outstanding in every way. A joy.

by Laurel Thayer 07/08/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
The B and B were absolutely wonderful, the hospitality, food, rooms, everything about them.
Your Guide
John Walker was exceptional. He was able to assess our abilities and tailor our walks to meet all of our needs and interests. I especially liked it when he offered choices. I couldn't have asked for a more personalized experience. He is very personable and an expert in his field.
The Bottom Line

Prices and Departures

103 people viewed this trip in the last week1 Booking in the last 72 hours

Book with confidence - we guaranteee our trips to run as soon as 2 people book.

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
19th May - 25th May 2018
£1,395
8 place(s) left
9th Jun - 15th Jun 2018
£1,395
5 place(s) left
21st Jul - 27th Jul 2018
£1,395
3 place(s) left
25th Aug - 31st Aug 2018
£1,395
4 place(s) left
22nd Sep - 28th Sep 2018
£1,395
7 place(s) left

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. (L, D)

Walk details: 6km, 100m ascent

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. (B, L, D)

Walk details: 12km, 200m ascent

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. (B, L, D)

Walk details: 17km, 200m ascent

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. (B, L, D)

Walk details: 9km, 100m ascent

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. (B, L, D)

Walk details: 12km, 250m ascent

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. (B, L, D)

Walk details: 8km, 100m ascent

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. (B, L)

Walk details: 8km, 200m ascent

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Prices and Departures

103 people viewed this trip in the last week1 Booking in the last 72 hours

Book with confidence - we guaranteee our trips to run as soon as 2 people book.

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
19th May - 25th May 2018
£1,395
8 place(s) left
9th Jun - 15th Jun 2018
£1,395
5 place(s) left
21st Jul - 27th Jul 2018
£1,395
3 place(s) left
25th Aug - 31st Aug 2018
£1,395
4 place(s) left
22nd Sep - 28th Sep 2018
£1,395
7 place(s) left

Price from: £1,395

Next trip: 19th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: Cairngorms and Central Highlands

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 3

57 review(s)

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
The walking tours provided by Wilderness Scotland suit my needs---reasonable distances and terrains to be walked each day with a qualified guide to ensure safety and to provide information on history, legends, weather, land use, and local flora and fauna. The accommodations provide comfortable spaces for relaxing, rooms with comfortable beds, en suite baths with plenty of hot water, and a variety of choices for breakfasts and packed lunches. The restaurants we visited for evening meals offered a good assortment of local food and drink in a cosy atmosphere. Castle visits and distillery tours complemented the walking experience. When the weather is consistently good and the walking companions are congenial and compatible, the result is pure bliss!

Pamela Austin
10/10/2017

5

Based on my experience I totally endorse Wilderness Scotland as a go to company

Peter McEwen
09/10/2017

5

Rated 4.9 out of 5 based on 57 review(s) of Wilderness Walking – Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside

5 star 54

4 star 3

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

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