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    Wilderness Walking
    Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside

    97 review(s)

    Next Trip(s): 11th Jun | 9th Jul Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights

    From £1,595 View Prices & Dates

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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 Traveller(s) Book
    Deposit From: £408.75 £408.75


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    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    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 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 Highlights

    • 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.

    Day by Day 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 the afternoon by transferring south into Royal Deeside and our guest house accommodation. (L, D)

    Walk details: 6km/ 4 miles | 100m/ 320 ft of ascent | approx. 3 hours

    Day 2 – 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: 12km/ 7 miles | 200m/ 650 ft of ascent | approx. 5 hours

    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/ 10 miles | 200m/ 650 ft of ascent | approx. 6 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: 9km/ 6 miles | 100m/ 320 ft of ascent | approx. 4-5 hours

    Day 5 – Into Glen Feshie

    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. This has brought new vigour to the ancient pine forests, so we will walk through a beautiful mix of young trees and magnificent old pines. We will do an out-and-back hike along the floor of the glen, admiring the views of the hills and forest with excellent wildlife spotting potential. (B, L, D)

    Walk details: 12km/ 7 miles | 250m/ 820 ft of ascent | approx. 5-6 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 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/ 5 miles | 100m/ 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 north back to Inverness for the trip end. (B, L)

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

    Wilderness Walking
    Cairngorms National Park & Royal Deeside

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    Trip Dates & Prices

    Trip Dates for 2022AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    11th Jun - 17th Jun 20221 place(s) leftCONFIRMED£1,635Book Now
    9th Jul - 15th Jul 20221 place(s) leftCONFIRMED£1,635Book Now
    20th Aug - 26th Aug 20222 place(s) leftCONFIRMED£1,635Book Now
    17th Sep - 23rd Sep 2022Trip FullFULLY BOOKED£1,635
    8th Oct - 14th Oct 20224 place(s) leftCONFIRMED£1,595Book Now
    Trip Dates for 2023AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    22nd Apr - 28th Apr 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,595Book Now
    13th May - 19th May 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,635Book Now
    10th Jun - 16th Jun 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,635Book Now
    8th Jul - 14th Jul 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,635Book Now
    29th Jul - 4th Aug 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,635Book Now
    26th Aug - 1st Sep 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,635Book Now
    23rd Sep - 29th Sep 20238 place(s) leftUNCONFIRMED£1,635Book 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.

    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 £225 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.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 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
    Travel Read More

    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.

    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

    Stevie Christie

    As an avid adventurer, Stevie has life-long experience in Scotland’s outdoors. He’s Co-Owner and Head of Adventure with Wilderness and been with us for over 15 years in a variety of roles, with innovative trip design being both a passion and a speciality. In his spare time Stevie runs the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, bringing the world’s most inspiring adventure filmmakers and athletes to an audience of over 1,500 each year. His experience of living in the Cairngorms National Park has helped design this exciting walking trip.

    Ask Stevie 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 4.96 out of 5 based on 97 review(s) 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.


    Scott Rogers

    Reviewed on 24/04/2022

    Age: 60 - 70
    Country: US
    Trip Date: 09/04/2022
    Trips Taken: 2

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    This fantastic tour was made possible by a wonderful mix of incredible scenery, well-selected hikes and the expertise of our guide (Susie). Couldn't ask for more – thanks!


    Lorise Gahring

    Reviewed on 22/04/2022

    Age: 60 - 70
    Country: US
    Trip Date: 09/04/2022
    Trips Taken: 2

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    Excellent trip. Great guide, great company of other hikers from all over, and beautiful scenery. All we had hoped for.


    Stephen Aulsebrook

    Reviewed on 28/09/2021

    Age: 60 - 70
    Country: United Kingdom
    Trip Date: 18/09/2021
    Trips Taken: 2

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    Tim Willis, Graeme and Marion in Newtonmore, and Alastair and Sarah in Braemar gave us a wonderful trip. They are the best ambassadors for Wilderness Scotland and I hope to be back on the trail again with them again next year. I couldn’t recommend the whole experience highly enough.

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