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    Wilderness Walking

    Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside

    138 reviews

    Next Trip: 1st - 7th Jun 2024 Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights

    From: £2,395 View Prices & Dates

    Travel Planning & Advice

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    Trip created by Stevie Christie
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    Region: Cairngorms and Central Highlands
    Trip Type: Wilderness Walking
    Accommodation: Classic
    Max Group Size: 8
    Confirmed: When 2 Travellers Book
    Deposit From: £642


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    Download Itinerary

    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 royal family have their 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 13th century Highland Castle and a wildlife reserve on this memorable walking holiday.

    Please note that starting in 2024, we will be offering deluxe departures of this trip where you can opt for an upgraded hotel for the final three nights of the trip. These trips will do the itinerary in reverse, so you’ll start the trip off in Strathspey and then move on to Royal Deeside via Perthshire. Alongside upgraded accommodation there’ll be a few surprise extras but the rest of the itinerary remains the same.

    Trip Highlights

    • Hike on ancient whisky smugglers' trails and and wild paths in the most extensive range of high mountains in the UK.
    • 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.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 – Hiking the trails of Royal Deeside

    From Aviemore, a transfer south-east takes us to Royal Deeside, best known for being the Scottish home of the Royal family, but it also boasts fine walks in an ancient wooded landscape. We’ll enjoy a short walk, taking in stunning views and spotting some of the local wildlife. We finish up the afternoon by transferring to the beautiful village of Braemar and our guest house accommodation for the next few nights. (L, D)

    Walk details: various options up to approx. 9.5 km/6 miles | 300 m/980 ft of ascent |  approx. 3 – 4 hours

    Day 2 – 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: 17 km/10 miles | 200 m/650 ft of ascent | approx. 6 hours

    Day 3 – 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 place for spotting wildlife – look out for red deer and golden eagles. Overnight Royal Deeside. (B, L, D)

    Walk details: 12 km/7 miles | 200 m/650 ft of ascent | approx. 5 hours

    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 B&B in a sleepy Cairngorm village. (B, L, D)

    Walk details: 9 km/6 miles | 100 m/320 ft of ascent | approx. 4-5 hours

    Day 5 – River Feshie and Loch Insh

    Glen Feshie is widely considered one of the most beautiful Cairngorm glens, and as the estate is undergoing an extensive rewilding program it is only getting more lovely. Today, we’ll hike in the lower reaches of the glen, where we will pass through a beautiful mix of young trees and magnificent old pines. Hiking up the banks of the dynamic River Feshie, we’ll reach a group of lochans hidden amongst the towering trees. Taking a hill path, we’ll reach a stunning viewpoint over the lochans and the mountains beyond. Descending back to the glen, there’ll be a chance to stop in at a local boathouse cafe for some refreshments and a moment to savour the views over the water. (B, L, D)

    Walk details: 12 km/7.5 miles | 240 m/787 ft of ascent | approx. 4-5 hours

    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 in the summer months we’ll finish 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: 8 km/5 miles | 100 m/320 ft of ascent | approx. 4-5 hours

    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 accommodation, 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 back to Aviemore for the trip end. (B, L)

    Walk details: 8 km/5 miles | 200 m/650 ft of ascent | approx. 5 hours

    Wilderness Walking
    Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    Trip Dates & Prices

    All payments taken in local currency GBP

    Trip Dates for 2024AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    1st Jun - 7th Jun 20242 places leftGuaranteed £2,495Book Now
    22nd Jun - 28th Jun 20244 places leftGuaranteed £2,495Book Now
    13th Jul - 19th Jul 20241 place leftGuaranteed £2,495Book Now
    24th Aug - 30th Aug 20244 places leftGuaranteed £2,495Book Now
    15th Sep - 21st Sep 2024Trip FullFULLY BOOKED £2,495
    5th Oct - 11th Oct 20245 places leftGuaranteed £2,395Book Now

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    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.

    Single Rooms

    There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however, you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you request a double room for single occupancy, a supplement of £360 is charged.

    Due to the nature of the accommodations we use, single supplements are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis.

    Meals Read More

    This tour is all-inclusive.

    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. Included dinners are two courses as standard.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 6 nights accommodation in carefully selected guest houses or 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 Aviemore
    • Entrance fees to a Highland castle and wildlife reserve
    Trip Grading Read More

    Green Graded 1-3

    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.

    Travel – Arrival and Departure Read More

    You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Aviemore Railway Station at 10.00am on Day 1 of your trip. You will be returned to Aviemore station for 4.00pm on the final day.

    If you would like to use your own vehicle on the trip please get in touch with our team to discuss.

    Photo Gallery

    Make This Trip Private

    Fancy this trip just for your group? Get together with family and friends spend quality time exploring wild places. A private trip allows you to benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides but with the advantage of the flexibility to tailor the days to your group. Make the trip more or less challenging depending on your experience or choose to add in some optional extras like castle or distillery visits depending on your interests. The price of a private trip will depend on the number of travellers in your group. Let us know your prefered departure date and we'll take care of the rest.

    Speak to an Expert

    Bridget Brown

    Our friendly office team hail from across the world but share a passion for the outdoor and wild spaces of Scotland. We are committed to providing you with the best customer service and are more than happy to chat through options and provide help and advice. Get in touch to find your perfect adventure.

    Ask Bridget a Question

    Meet Your Guide

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    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.

    Compare walking grades

    Trip Reviews

    Rated 4.95 out of 5 based on 138 reviews of Wilderness Walking – Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside


    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.


    Diane Bublitz

    Reviewed on 12/05/2024

    Age: 70 - 80
    Country: USA
    Trip Date: 20/04/2024
    Trips Taken: 2

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    Great trip in a beautiful country.


    Richard Feldman

    Reviewed on 06/05/2024

    Age: 70 - 80
    Country: US
    Trip Date: 20/04/2024
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line



    Sue Ryerson

    Reviewed on 02/05/2024

    Age: 70 - 80
    Country: Australia
    Trip Date: 20/04/2024
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

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