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    Self Drive

    Winter Highland Explorations

    Duration: 6 Days / 5 Nights

    From: $1,785.00

    Travel Planning & Advice

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    Trip created by Rachael Gavan
    View Rachael's Profile

    Region: Cairngorms and Central Highlands
    Trip Type: Self Drive
    Accommodation: Classic
    Confirmed: When 2 Travellers Book
    Deposit From: $460

    Grading: Your Own Pace

    Carbon Footprint: 79kg ? What does this mean?
    Click here to find out about our carbon labelling project and what we're doing to be more sustainable.

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

    Download Itinerary

    There is something almost secret about Scotland in winter. Those frosty mornings, where everything is silent and glittering. Ancient pine trees veined in white. Soft, shimmering light that seems to gather on the crests of the mountains before cascading down into the twinkling valleys.

    We’ve designed a trip that showcases the very best of Scotland in winter, allowing you to travel at your own pace and enjoy an itinerary perfectly suited to you. Enjoy some beautiful hiking, perhaps developing your winter skills or get back to basics with a bushcraft workshop. Come in from the cold and partake in a foodie class or take a tour of a famous Highland distillery. As afternoon slips into evening, wrap yourself up warm and head out into the crisp night air to spot constellations in the star-strewn sky. With many activities and options to choose from, enjoy an adventure in the beautiful wilderness of the Highlands.

    As this trip is self-drive it can start from anywhere. You can bring your own car or hire ahead of time. Please get in touch for recommendations. The below self-drive itinerary starts and finishes in the Cairngorms National Park.

    Trip Highlights

    • Enjoy fabulous scenic Winter hiking in the beautiful Cairngorms National Park with an expert guide.
    • Relax and unwind as you cosy up with a hot drink in front of the fire.
    • Gaze in wonder at the endless stars in the clear winter night skies.
    • Enjoy a special wildlife experience as you walk with the Cairngorm Reindeer herd in the hills.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 – Arrive In The Cairngorms

    Make your way to your accommodation within the Cairngorms National Park, your home for the next five nights. This afternoon, settle in and either cosy in for the night or head out and explore the area. (B)

    Day 2 – Walk With The Local Reindeer Herd

    This morning make your own way to Glenmore and follow a herder up to the lower slopes of the Cairngorms to visit the local Cairngorm reindeer herd in their wintery habitat. This is a really special experience but do wrap up warm and prepare for the wild as the walk takes you just above the tree line! 

    This afternoon, warm up and indulge with a delightful afternoon tea in the Highlands. (B)

    Walk details: This varies depending on the herd location. Can be 45 mins over rough terrain each way.
    Note: The Reindeer visit may not possible on some days as the herd are free roaming and tours are weather dependant. In this circumstance visit the Highland Wildlife Park for a self drive safari.

    Day 3 – Explore the Ancient Caledonian Forest

    Your guide for the next 3 days will meet you at your accommodation this morning and you will then head out to explore part of the ancient Caledonian Pine forest of Abernethy. The hikes will be tailored to you and your ability but one option will take us past the beautiful Loch Garten and Loch Mallachie. If snow is lying on the ground, we may spot animal tracks or the animals themselves, such as pine martin, which inhabit these forests. (B, L)

    Walk details: Depends on the Route Chosen
    *Optional Upgrade: Afternoon Woodcarving Session

    Day 4 – Marvels of Whisky & Endless Stars

    Today you head out to explore the heart of whisky country, an area which is home to more than half the distilleries in Scotland. Enjoy one of the many beautiful hikes here, maybe a section of the Speyside Way, a beautiful Long Distance Trail that winds its way through the heart of this renowned Whisky country. As you explore your guide will tell you tales of the history of the ‘water of life’ in this area, both legal and slightly less so! Enjoy lunch in a great traditional local pub before heading to one of the local distilleries for a tour and tasting. 

    Tonight you will have an early dinner and, if the sky is clear, we head out after dark to enjoy the crisp, clear night sky where the stars never seem to end. (B, L)

    Walk details: Depends on the Route Chosen
    Note: The stargazing experience is weather dependent and may be rescheduled for the best conditions.

    Day 5 – The Drovers Road & The Faeries Lochan

    This morning you will be met by your guide and travel together towards Glenmore and the starting point of our walk, which takes us over the Ryvoan pass. This was part of an old droving road through to Glenmore forest which has spectacular views of the Cairngorm mountains. Our route passes the unique green coloured ‘Lochain Uaine’ where the faeries wash their clothes.

    Enjoy a cosy stop for a special treat of hot drinks and a hearty lunch in a remote historic bothy. Afterwards, if the weather is clear and you feel adventurous, you could head further up onto the nearby summit to enjoy the expansive views across the Spey Valley. (B, L)

    * Optional Upgrade: Private Afternoon Tour Of A ‘Closed Door’ Distillery

    Day 6 – Depart

    Enjoy a hearty Scottish breakfast before you depart for your onward journey. (B)

    Self Drive
    Winter Highland Explorations

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

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    Price from: £1,785
    Duration: 6 Days 5 Nights

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    This holiday is based in two traditional Highland Guesthouses where warm welcomes are assured. Here you can enjoy genuine Scottish hospitality and relax in comfort. Accommodation is in double, twin or family bedrooms.

    Accommodation upgrades are available, please get in touch to find out more.

    Meals Read More

    Breakfast is included each morning.

    Lunches are included on your 3 guided days ( days 3,4 & 5) On your self guided days you are free to choose from the many local cafes and delis.

    Dinners are not included so that you are free to relax and choose options that work best for you. Your guide will not eat with you in the evenings but they will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 5 nights accommodation staying in hand picked traditional Highland guesthouses with breakfast each morning.
    • Reindeer Walk Experience followed by afternoon tea
    • 3 guided days with an expert Wilderness Scotland Guide hiking and exploring the surroundings as per the itinerary.
    • Whisky distillery visit.
    • The services of the Wilderness Scotland team before and during your trip
    • Detailed itinerary, guide book, and map.
    • Route suggestions customised to your preferences and ability levels
    • Expert local suggestions for restaurants and activities.
    Trip Grading Read More

    At Your Own Pace

    On this adventure, you will be accompanied by a Wilderness Scotland hiking guide for several days, who will be able to suggest and lead you on a range of hikes from gentle low level rambles to challenging days visiting remote summits. Just let them know what type of hike you would like to do and they will be ready.

    On the other days of the trip, you will self guided and can explore at whatever pace you feel comfortable.

    Upgrade and Customise Your Trip Read More

    *Day 3 | Afternoon Woodcarving Session

    Spend this afternoon with a local expert who will teach you the fascinating art of green wood carving using an axe and a knife. Learn how to choose a piece of wood and carve it into useful and beautiful items safely. The session takes place in his woodland workshop area, but don’t worry there is a wee wood burning stove and always hot drinks on the go too.

    *Day 5 | Private Afternoon Tour Of A ‘Closed Door’ Distillery

    After today’s hike up to the bothy, take an exclusive and private tour & tasting of the Speyside whisky, Spey. This artisan distillery uses time-honoured traditions to produce a quality whisky and can be visited by special arrangement only.
    Note: This tour is only available on certain days of the week.

    Glenlivet ‘Food Safari’

    A scenic drive this morning takes us to the Glenlivet hills north of the Cairngorms. Hike across these high and exposed hills before warming up in the afternoon in the welcoming kitchen of food anthropologist and award-winning chef Ghillie Basan. Embark on a food safari of cultures and spices before tucking into your own tasty feast, maybe with a glass of wine.

    Winter Skills

    From our centrally located accommodation, we can go where the weather and snow conditions are best. Hike into this wilderness and learn essential ice axe and crampon winter techniques from our experienced and qualified guides. At the end of the day relax by the fire and reflect on your new skills. This is the perfect active winters day.

    Winter Bushcraft

    With our bushcraft day, we head into the pine forests where our skilled guides teach you essential bushcraft skills which will enhance your knowledge and understanding of this environment. Fully immerse yourself in the wilderness – make a fire, forage and prepare wild foods and make your own winter shelter.

    Speyside & Moray Exploration

    Experience the culture of Speyside & Moray as we first pay a visit to Knockando Woollen Mill where luxury textiles are made by the craft of carding, spinning and weaving. See skilled craftsmen work with both modern looms and rare antique equipment. During the afternoon visit the Speyside Cooperage and watch first hand as Coopers craft their barrels before stopping for a tour and tasting of the famous Macallan whisky distillery.

    Photo Gallery

    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

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    At Your Own Pace

    On this adventure, you will be accompanied by a Wilderness Scotland hiking guide for several days, who will be able to suggest and lead you on a range of hikes from gentle low level rambles to challenging days visiting remote summits. Just let them know what type of hike you would like to do and they will be ready!

    On the other days of the trip, you will self guided and can explore at whatever pace you feel comfortable.

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