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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 guest houses
  • 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

Green graded walking holidays are suitable for active travellers who are reasonably fit and enjoy moderate hikes. We walk at a comfortable pace and you can expect to be out for 5-6 hours a day. The terrain will be mostly good paths and hill trails but these can still be muddy and rough in places. Some hikes may involve an ascent up to a max of approx 1,500 feet / 450m. Distances will be typically 8-10km but there may be the odd slightly longer day. Daily hike details are available in the itinerary.


We spend our nights in welcoming and friendly guest houses: three nights in Royal Deeside then three nights in Strathspey. Accommodation is in twin or double rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities. 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 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.

On this trip we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.


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 £225 is charged if a single room is available – please see booking form terms and conditions.

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Inverness Railway Station at 10.30am on Day 1 of your trip. You will be returned to Inverness station for 5.00pm on the last day. Alternatively, if you are heading South by train, we can arrange to drop you off at Aviemore station around 4.00pm.

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 guest house 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 Dates

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2019 Trip Dates

Trip Date
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11th May - 17th May 2019
5 place(s) left
8th Jun - 14th Jun 2019
8 place(s) left
20th Jul - 26th Jul 2019
8 place(s) left
24th Aug - 30th Aug 2019
7 place(s) left
21st Sep - 27th Sep 2019
8 place(s) left
5th Oct - 11th Oct 2019
5 place(s) left
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Trip Reviews

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Rated 4.96 out of 5 based on 73 review(s) of Wilderness Walking – Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside

5 star 70

4 star 3

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1 star 0

by Michelle Mowery 12/11/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Excellent trip. When we were researching outfitters for hiking in Scotland, two friends gave Wilderness Scotland high marks as well so it was clear to us which outfitter we should select. We were not disappointed.

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by Colin Macdonald 10/10/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

by Susan Lundahl 08/10/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

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by Theresa Hall 08/10/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

I have already recommended you to several people and I hope to take another trip with you as well.

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Price from: £1,525

Next trip: 11th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

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Region: Cairngorms and Central Highlands

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 3

73 review(s)

Trip Photos

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