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    Wildlife Adventures
    Winter Wildlife

    Next Trip(s): 26th Feb | 12th Mar Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights

    From £795 View Prices & Departures

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    Trip Details & Highlights

    Trip created by Rachael Gavan
    View Rachael's Profile

    Region: Cairngorms and Central Highlands
    Trip Type: Wildlife
    Comfort: Classic
    Max Group Size: 8
    Confirmed: When 3 Traveller(s) Book
    Deposit From N/A £198.75

    Difficulty:

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

    Download Itinerary

    Trip Details

    There’s nothing quite like the mystique of winter in Scotland. Join us for a journey deep into the heart of the Highlands, exploring some of Scotland’s richest winter habitats including the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest and hills of the Cairngorms National Park which are home to some of the UK’s most elusive wildlife.

    From snow-capped mountains to enchanting forests, frozen lochs and dark night skies, you’ll set out each day on foot to explore a variety of different habitats and learn more about the Highland wildlife and their ability to endure during the harsh winter conditions. Exploring with your expert guide, they will help you spot tracks, identify different species and interpret fascinating wildlife behaviours.

    Discover how these vast areas of wilderness are managed and learn about the extensive re-wilding programmes that are in place intending to restore a greater natural balance to the ecosystems. Return to your handpicked accommodation each evening, where you’ll receive a warm welcome and a hearty meal.

    Trip Highlights

    • Explore a variety of habitats where you'll spot incredible Scottish wildlife
    • Enjoy wonderfully scenic walking in the UK's largest National Park
    • Learn about the different species of wildlife and how they cope with the Scottish winter
    • Make the most of the dark sky where you can stargaze away from light pollution
    • Relax in cosy Highland accommodation

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 - Wonders of the Wetlands

    Meet your guide in the town of Kingussie this morning and kick off your adventure by exploring the Insh Marshes Nature Reserve. One of the largest wetlands in the UK, this diverse ecosystem provides a home to many species of birdlife throughout the seasons, including the arrival of winter migrants such as whooper swans and greylag geese, as well as wintering ducks like wigeon and tufted ducks. As you explore on foot, your knowledgeable guide will point out various species and distinguish between their fascinating calls. Later this afternoon, you’ll settle into your cosy accommodation, your home in the Highlands for the duration of your trip. (L, D)

    Day 2 - The Caledonian Pine Forest

    Stretching from the River Nethy to the top of Ben Macdui, high on the Cairngorm plateau, the Abernethy National Nature Reserve is one of the largest natural habitats in Scotland. It encompasses the largest remnants of Caledonian pine forest as well as sweeping moors, wetlands and of course the iconic Cairngorm mountains range with its arctic-like plateau. The reserve is home to a host of specialist pinewood as well as many native upland plants and animals. We’ll venture deep into the Caledonian Pine Forest where we will look for red squirrels, birds of prey and forest birds. Keep an eye out for signs for the pine marten and the rare capercaillie. Red deer are also common here so tread lightly as an encounter with one of these majestic animals is truly unforgettable. As you walk with your guide, you’ll learn about the ongoing land management and rewilding projects in the Cairngorms National Park and across Scotland. (B, L)

    Day 3 - Coastlines and Constellations

    Stepping away from the Cairngorms National Park today, we head north to Findhorn Bay – a large tidal lagoon that provides shelter for a variety of wildlife throughout the seasons. As we explore the sweeping sands that skirt the coastline, you’ll see waders like oystercatchers and curlew and golden plovers dart across the wet sand through the shallows. Other species here include wildfowl such as pintail, teal and goldeneye. Keep your eyes on the water as well as you may spot a bobbing head of a seal. The area is also home to wintering pink-footed geese – catching the sounds and sight of their flights in and out of the bay is a special experience on a cool winter day. This evening, we’ll enjoy an earlier dinner before wrapping up warm and heading out for a short evening walk. We’ll admire the countless stars this area of dark sky affords us, while looking out for owls and other nocturnal creatures. If you’re lucky enough, you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive northern lights. (B, L)

    Day 4 - Cairngorm Mountains

    High in the hills of the Cairngorms National Park, you’ll find some of the UK’s most resilient wildlife including the mountain hare and snow bunting, and species of ground-nesting birds like the ptarmigan which are unique to this area. We’re able to drive to 600m elevation, so are high in the mountains from the start of our walk. We’ll keep an eye out for snow bunting nesting in the northern corries, and listen for the distinct call of the ptarmigan travelling through the crisp mountain air. You may also spot red deer as well as the free-roaming reindeer – this area is home to the UK’s only herd. Returning to your accommodation, we’ll enjoy our final evening meal together and reflect on the many different plants and animals we’ve seen so far. (B, L, D)

    Day 5 - The Water of Life

    After a hearty Scottish breakfast this morning, you’ll step out to explore one final wintery habitat. Enjoy a local walk along the bank of the River Spey not too far from its source. You’ll look out for signs of the winter inhabitants, such as the otter, whose dense fur allows it to stay warm in the cold winter months. We may spy a grey heron fishing in the currents. As we walk, you’ll learn the river’s importance for salmon and other fish – and, of course, its crucial role in producing some of Scotland’s finest whiskies. After the walk, we transfer to your guide the railway station again where we’ll say goodbye and you start your journey home, leaving the wintery Highlands behind you. (B)

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    Wildlife
    Winter Wildlife

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    What's Included

    Accommodation - Accommodation in carefully selected guest houses and hotels Read More

    Throughout this trip, we will be based in a small guest house located in the Cairngorms National Park which offers double and twin rooms with en-suite facilities and a relaxing lounge area. Each evening, a variety of local produce will be served up in hearty meals and of course, any special dietary requirements are happily catered for, just let us know at the time of booking.

    Single Rooms

    For solo travellers: Accommodation is based on sharing a twin room with another solo traveller of the same gender. A limited number of rooms for single occupancy are available on a first come first served basis, subject to a single supplement. Please enquire for availability.

     

    Meals Read More

    Meals included on this trip are breakfast and lunch each guided day with evening meals included on day 1 and day 4.

    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.

    Inclusions Read More

    This trip includes the following:

    • 4 nights accommodation in handpicked accommodation
    • Meals as indicated in itinerary (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 from the train station in Aviemore on Day 1 and finishing there on the last day.
    Travel - All transport throughout the trip Read More

    All transport and travel are included in your trip from your meeting point at Kingussie Train Station at 11am on day 1 to your final day when you are dropped back to the station for 12.30pm.

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

    Trip Dates & Prices

    Trip Dates for 2021 Availability Status Price Book
    26th Feb - 2nd Mar 2021 8 place(s) left UNCONFIRMED £795 Book Now
    12th Mar - 16th Mar 2021 8 place(s) left UNCONFIRMED £795 Book Now
    26th Mar - 30th Mar 2021 8 place(s) left UNCONFIRMED £795 Book Now

    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

    Rachael Gavan

    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. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that winter is Rachael’s favourite time of the year. She has poured all of her passion for Scottish winter into this trip.

    Ask Rachael a Question

    Meet Your Guide

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    Green Graded Wildlife Holidays 1-3
    All of our wildlife trips are graded Green and involve straightforward hiking with no major ascents, as well as other activities which are pitched at novice level. You can expect to be active for around 5 hours each day so you will need a reasonable level of fitness. Please note that there may be some early starts and late nights as we seek to maximise our chances of finding wildlife, although you can always opt out of activities if you prefer an early night or long lie in the morning!

    So to help you decide if you are fit enough for this kind of trip, ask yourself:

    1. Are you generally active and, for example, happy to hike for 6 miles (10km), including some ascent, with rough ground in places?
    2. Are you up for a challenge and trying new activities such as sea kayaking or boat trips?
    3. Are you looking for a wildlife trip which involves more than simply sitting in a hide?

    Compare wildlife trip grades

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