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Trip created by Rachael Gavan
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The wilds of the Cairngorm National Park await you on this unique women’s only wilderness retreat. Based in a bright and airy Highland lodge that specialises in fresh, locally sourced seasonal food, you’ll get the chance to experience the magic of Scotland with like-minded women. Over the course of a week, you’ll enjoy exploring the varied landscape, learn and practice new wilderness skills, and challenge yourself in a friendly and supportive environment.
With a maximum group size of 8, this inspiring guided trip combines breathtakingly scenic hikes with mini adventures and acquiring new skills. From wild swimming and restorative yoga to foraging, navigation and rewilding, you’ll get the chance to take part in and share new experiences. Reconnect with nature and yourself against the backdrop of Scotland’s magical wild spaces alongside a fantastic group of women in the wild Cairngorms National Park.
Meeting in the Highland town of Aviemore, we arrive ready to discover beautiful landscapes and share experiences with like-minded women. Over lunch, we chat about plans for the week before setting off on a local hike with fabulous views of the Strathspey valley and the Cairngorms Mountain range – the perfect introduction to our week in the UK’s biggest national park. Arriving at our welcoming lodge accommodation we’ll settle in and relax before dinner. (L, D)
Walk details: 8.5km/5.25miles, ascent 543m/1782ft, approx 4.5 hours
Much has been said about the exhilarating and transformative nature of wild swimming. We start our morning off at one of our favourite local lochs to discover this for ourselves. Led by a qualified local expert, we test the silky, fresh waters at the highest beach in Britain. Whether you prefer to just dip the toes in or plan on a full swim, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the level of challenge that feels right for you. Post-swim hot drinks and homemade cake are a must in order to warm up from the inside out. After the exhilaration of this morning, we’ll enjoy a gentle hike through the native forest, hearing only bird songs, that your guide will identify and the breeze through the trees. The quiet atmosphere allows for a reflective afternoon before heading back to our lodge for a well-earned dinner. (B, L, D)
Walk details: 6.5km/4miles, ascent 222m/728ft, approx 2.5 hours
The wilderness surroundings of our lodge are the perfect backdrop in which to relax. Stretch out the kinks and release any tension in the body and mind this morning on a relaxing and accessible yoga session led by a local instructor. After lunch, it’s time to spread out our maps and chat navigation with your guide. Whether you’re new to navigation or always carry a map and compass we’ll spend the afternoon learning new skills and putting them into practice. You’ll hone your technique as we adventure through the Cairngorms, feeling and following the contours and features of the map through our feet. (B, L, D)
Walk details: 9km/5.5miles, ascent 110m/361ft, approx 3 hours
Today we’ll head out on a full-day hike. The aim today is to summit Cairn Gorm Mountain. The 6th highest peak in the UK which has leant its name to the mountain range and national park. This hike will take us straight into a wild mountain environment. Passing under the impressive cliffs of the Northern Corries keep an eye out for wildlife including mountain hare, ptarmigan and the UK’s only heard of reindeer which often graze here. A steady but significant climb takes us up and on us to the Cairngorm plateau, an arctic landscape. We’ll enjoy incredible views to the surrounding mountain as well as sweeping panoramas of the Caledonian pine forest and the mountains of the west coast in the distance. From here, we can pick our route, using our new-found navigation skills to find the best viewpoint of the remote Loch Avon before a final steeper climb takes us onto the summit of Cairn Gorm Mountain. This will be the most challenging day of the week but an incredibly rewarding one.
Walk details: 11km/ 7 miles | 775m/ 2540 ft ascent | approx. 6-7 hours
After a relaxed breakfast today we’ll enjoy a morning hike in Glen Feshie, this glen is often overlooked by hikers but it is one of the most beautiful. This area is also very special as it is the location of an innovative and ambitious rewilding initiative. Your guide will share some of the details of this flagship project that aims to restore the unique rich biodiversity in the Highlands. This is a long term project, spanning generations but you will see for yourself how the work has already transformed the local landscape, flora and fauna. This afternoon you can choose from some different options depending. You may want to join your guide on a short hike to a small summit, visit the open-air Highland Folk Museum with their reconstructed dwellings detailing what life was like for Highlanders dating back to the 1700’s. Alternatively, you may want to remain at the lodge to have a quiet afternoon to yourself to relax.
Walk details: 6.5km/ 4 miles | 200m/ 655 ft of ascent | approx. 2-2.5 hours
Enjoying another unwinding yoga session this morning, we stretch away any stiffness and enjoy an extended Savasana session to fully relax after a packed week. Out in the wild Cairngorms, we’ll enjoy a final afternoon hike to soak in the beauty of these untamed vistas and reflecting on our week together. Over dinner tonight, we share our own insights and take the time to appreciate and celebrate the adventure. (B, L, D)
Walk details: 11km/6.75miles, ascent 775m/2543ft, approx 6.5 hours
After a relaxed breakfast this morning we’ll pack up and leave our Highland lodge. Invigorated, connected and with new friends, you’ll depart the Cairngorms carrying memories of your adventure and the time you spent in this ancient, wild landscape. (B)
Walk details: 5km/3miles, ascent 302m/991ft, approx 3 hours
This walking holiday enjoys accommodation in a private mountain lodge set in the beautiful surroundings of Glen Feshie. The area around the lodge has abundant wildlife to spot and the grass outside is grazed by Highland cattle. Accommodation is a choice of double or twin rooms with ensuite facilities.
There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however, you may be required to share a room with another woman. On this trip, we have 7 rooms available and a mix of doubles and twins. There is no supplement for single rooms as we have exclusive use of the lodge. Solo occupancy rooms are allocated on a first come first served basis, please get in touch with our team to chat about availability.
Evening meals will be fully catered at the lodge each night and packed lunches provided for each day.
|Trip Dates for 2021||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|24th Apr - 30th Apr 2021 Women only departure||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,735||Book Now|
|21st Aug - 27th Aug 2021 Women only departure||7 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,735||Book Now|
|16th Oct - 22nd Oct 2021 Women only departure||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,735||Book Now|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
Rachael is a true gem and we regularly receive feedback thanking her for designing inspiring itineraries and for being such a pleasure to chat to. In many cases the people Rachael designs tailor-made trips for, actually become friends with and she’s had more than one invite to far off lands as a result. This trip has been one of Rachael’s passion projects and combines the best that the Cairngorms has to offer in a relaxed and nurturing environment.
- Rachael GavanAsk Rachael a Question
Blue Graded Walking Holidays
Blue graded walking holidays are suitable for fit and experienced hikers. We walk at a good pace and you can expect to be out for 6-8 hours a day. You will not always be on a path and the terrain underfoot can be rough and boggy, including boulder fields and mountain tops. Some of the daily walks will involve a mountain ascent of over 3000ft / 900m high. Daily distances will be typically up to 16km but may be longer occasionally. Daily hike details are available in the itinerary.