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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
  • 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?

Accommodation

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 Room 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 1030 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 37

4 star 3

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Sharon Newman 11/10/2016

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
We did not always get a timely response to enquiries.
Trip Comments
The walks chosen were varied and ideally suited to our various abilities.
Accommodation and Food
The stay in Braemar was almost too good, while that in Newtonmore had a few niggling disappointments.
Your Guide
Craig was an excellent guide. He noted our abilities and made astute suggestions for future possible trips.
The Bottom Line
This was our fourth trip with Wilderness Scotland and hopefully not our last. I recommend you to anyone with the slightest chance of travelling to Scotland.

by Carol Sisson 21/09/2016

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
excellent but mixed ability group meant slightly slower walking
Accommodation and Food
one b& B excellent - the other below average
Your Guide
excellent guide, but clients need to know about roughness of terrain
The Bottom Line
great way to explore wilderness areas

by Sally McKee 05/09/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
All fine. I had adequate info prior to trip.
Trip Comments
I saw landscape I would never have seen if I had come on my own . Our guide, Nick, took me places that were completely unexpected. Our group clicked as well as it did in part because we felt we were his team, and he showed us stunning mountains, rivers, valleys, vistas, and waterfalls.
Accommodation and Food
The first place we stayed was excellent. I'd go back to stay at Callanter Lodge on my own. Julian and Katie run a superb inn. The food, the whisky, the beds, and the care were far beyond what I expected.

Cairngerne, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. Minimally equipped (paper towels as serviettes, no basic bathroom things like soap, to name just two problems). Hosts were friendly, but food very much subpar.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Thanks very much for your feedback; we’ll follow up with the accommodation regarding this.
Your Guide
I'm sure this is a common reaction to him, but I have to admit I really fell for our guide, Nick -- literally and figuratively! His intelligence, experience, his quiet insistence that we all were capable of performing at a higher level than we thought, his gentleness and his strength, and his even temper and leadership These qualities and endorphins made me ready to follow him off a cliff by Day 3. I wonder if I would have been more likely to quit if it hadn't been for Nick. This trip was the hardest thing I've ever accomplished and I couldn't and probably wouldn't have done it without him.
The Bottom Line
Once again, Wilderness Scotland provided me with an unforgettable and sublime experience. I saw vistas I would never have seen. I communed with people and nature to a degree that was completely satisfying. Great company, great guides (look for Nick or Kirsty), working hard in a stunning landscape.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

It sounds like you had an amazing trip overall. Hopefully we can welcome you back to the Highlands again soon!

by Victor Loftiss 05/09/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The office staff was very helpful and considerate.
Trip Comments
Our leader, Nick Williams, made the trip a lot of fun. He was always aware of what each participant was doing and frequently checked on our well-being without being intrusive. We saw incredibly beautiful scenery that could not have been experienced fully otherwise.
Accommodation and Food
The Callater Lodge in Braemar was amazing; we felt like we were in the lap of luxury without it being the least bit stuffy, (the Lodge and the owners were amazing). The second place we stayed, (Dougie's lodge), was nice and Dougie was very friendly, but it was not nearly anything like the Callater.
Your Guide
Nick Williams is a very interesting person and an incredible guide. We were fortunate to have had him as our leader and Wilderness Scotland is blessed to have him working with them.
The Bottom Line
This is a way to experience the beauty of the Cairngorms in a very unique way that I don't think any other tour could even approach.

by Gordon MacRae 01/08/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
There were so many beautiful walks and views that it was hard to pick just one.
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation and food in Braemar were superlative. Accommodations in Newtonmore satisfactory but food less so: their lunches in particular were disappointing.
Your Guide
Ben was superlative. He read the group perfectly and matched our walks accordingly. Always cheerful and encouraging. Sought feed back and was open to change. He was also part botanist, geologist, and historian.
The Bottom Line
Never to be forgotten! We will miss both the company and the walks.

by Stephanie Mohr 01/08/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Loved Callater Lodge in Braemar - simply perfect (Hosts, rooms, bathrooms, food, packed lunches) - it was difficult for The Newtonmore Accomodation to really compete with that afterwards... ;) - Dinner experiences were good, one of them really amazing (Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore)
Your Guide
Ben was wondeful, very committed, friendly, sharing is knowledge and love of Scotland and always trying to accomodate different needs and requirements in our group.
The Bottom Line
Perfect! Looking forward to my next trip with Wilderness Scotland!

by Gordon MacRae 01/08/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
We made our arrangements through a travel agent, and all went very smoothly. Communication was clear and direct. I have a gluten allergy and never had to worry because you folks took good care to inform everyone.
Trip Comments
Hard to select just one. I liked the combination of daily walks, usually ending by 4:00 at the latest, followed by a bit of sightseeing and local history.
Accommodation and Food
Excellent for Braemar - Julian and Katie went out of their way to provide for us. We were always greeted by fresh baking at the end of the day. Lunches were excellent and we could order from a short menu. Our second accommodation paled a bit in comparison, especially the sandwiches for lunch. The hosts were lovely though.
Your Guide
We all loved Ben. Ability-wise, we were a diverse group, but somehow he made everything work. We were happy walkers throughout, thanks to him. His love of the Scottish outdoors and his interest in continuing to learn stand out for me.
The Bottom Line
I highly recommend this experience. Our travel agent wants our feedback on the trip, and it will definitely go on her list of places to recommend to travellers.

by Nuria Puig Brandes 29/06/2016

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

3Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
The B&B in Breamer was excellent but the one in Newtonmore needs some renovation.
Your Guide
Our guide was excellent. He learned us a lot of things, found the best walks despite de bad weather and adapted the walks to our rhythm and interests.
The Bottom Line

by Christine Favre-Bulle 21/06/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I had some difficulties to open your sent documents and to pay; so I called to your customer service and I was very well answered and helped. I also appreciated the friendly style of your answers by e-mail!
Trip Comments
I had been waiting for this trip since the beginning of the year. I'm going through a rather stressing period of my life and I put great hope in a time off which would help me to refill my resources. Being in this wonderfull nature, walking, enjoying a whole week where I had not to worry but just to appreciate and to laugh about the weather with my companions...all this made it a over all successful trip.
Accommodation and Food
We started with a perfect B&B, so it was hard for the second to be compared to the first!
Your Guide
This was my first guided trip and I'm amazed how comfortable this is and how great the profit. I discovered and learned so much about your country, its faune and flore, history and economy. But also about navigation and the right equipement and the right behavior in nature. Marc was very generous in sharing his knowledge and rich experience. Thank you so much!
The Bottom Line
I would make one suggestion: change the meeting point for this trip to Aviemore or Newtonmore which can be reached by train from Edimbourg. This would spare maybe one or two extra nights in Inverness and allow to finish the trip in this perfect B&B in Braemar!

by Michael Kenntenich 20/06/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
All was perfect, especially the first E-Mail contacts made me aware of how friendly and professional the WS staff works.
Trip Comments
We had a small group and Mark Cox took the opportunity to shape the walking tours perfectly to meet our expectations and wishes. He did a wonderful job to give us an awesome experience, it was like being with a friend, a very patient, funny, and knowledgeable friend.
Accommodation and Food
I absolutely LOVED "Callater Lodge" in Braemar - this was a perfect accomodation, the warmest welcome, the owners went more than the extra mile to make us feel welcome and cared for. The house is lovely and perfectly equiped, the breakfast and lunch packages were excellent.
Your Guide
Mark Cox made this a truely once in a lifetime experience for our small group. He managed to show us paths and spots we will never Forget, and he worked hard to offer us a UNIQUE experience. He was very funny, explained everything we wanted to know (and many things we didn't even think of asking). It felt as if a friend was showing us around in his home - thank you Mark!
The Bottom Line

Prices and Departures

45 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.

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
20th May - 26th May 2017
£1,295
Places available
10th Jun - 16th Jun 2017
£1,295
2 place(s) left
22nd Jul - 28th Jul 2017
£1,295
Places available
26th Aug - 1st Sep 2017
£1,295
Places available
23rd Sep - 29th Sep 2017
£1,295
6 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

45 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.

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
20th May - 26th May 2017
£1,295
Places available
10th Jun - 16th Jun 2017
£1,295
2 place(s) left
22nd Jul - 28th Jul 2017
£1,295
Places available
26th Aug - 1st Sep 2017
£1,295
Places available
23rd Sep - 29th Sep 2017
£1,295
6 place(s) left

Price from: £1,295

Next trip: 20th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: Cairngorms and Central Highlands

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 3

40 review(s)

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
This was our fourth trip with Wilderness Scotland and hopefully not our last. I recommend you to anyone with the slightest chance of travelling to Scotland.

Sharon Newman
11/10/2016

5

great way to explore wilderness areas

Carol Sisson
21/09/2016

5

Rated 4.9 out of 5 based on 40 review(s) of Wilderness Walking – Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside

5 star 37

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