Experience the freedom of hiking in the UK’s largest and wildest National Park – the Cairngorms.. Hike a stage of the famous Speyside Way long distance trail, passing through heather moors and Caledonian pine forests on the way.. Enjoy a special gourmet picnic lunch on the beach at the beautiful Loch Morlich.. Your local leader will have plenty of local stories to share – especially about the nature of the Cairngorms National Park and conservation projects in the area.
There’s something to be said for exploring the Scottish Highlands in summer. While you won’t experience the sorts of scorching temperatures you might find in other parts of the world, you will find a vibrant countryside that’s come to life in the warmer weather. On this 5-day walking trip, you’ll have the chance to explore some of the region’s most striking peaks and most beautiful landscapes, with the guidance of a local leader who can share stories of the area and the conservation efforts in place to keep it pristine. Cool off with an afternoon on the ‘beach’ at the dreamy nearby Loch Morlich, where canoeing or stand-up paddle boarding are on option. Plus, you’ll have plenty of chances to enjoy the quaint village life – including few whiskys and a meal at a favourite local pub. And with your base being the small Scottish town of Aviemore, you’ll neither be on the move nor stretched for time each day, with plenty of time to explore your way. Welcome to the Cairngorms – a gateway into the real Scottish countryside.
Breakfast Included: 4 Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Welcome to Aviemore! Today is simply a joining day, so make your own way to tonight’s guesthouse accommodation where you will stay for the rest of your trip in the Scottish Highlands. This is located only a kilometre or so from Aviemore’s railway station, however taxis are also available. Meet with your group and local leader in the late afternoon for an all-important welcome briefing. Here, you’ll also get the local take on the best place for dinner or drinks tonight, so listen up!
After breakfast this morning your leader will take you for a hike straight from your guesthouse along the renowned Speyside Way Trail, which runs over 100 kilometres from Aviemore to the Moray coastline. Take on a stunning section of the trail, walking with your group from Aviemore to the village of Nethy Bridge, known as a wildlife hotspot, so much so that the BBC Springwatch team made the village their base for 2 consecutive years. You’ll pass by heather moors and Caledonian pine forests to this quaint village with small corner pubs, cafes and an art gallery. It’s just like out of your favourite classic UK dramas. Spend some time exploring Nethy Bridge before taking a public bus back to Aviemore in the early afternoon (approximately 30 minutes). After this, the rest of the day is for you to continue to explore this slice of Scotland at your own pace.
Today, after breakfast you’ll leave the accommodation on foot to begin a three-hour walk in the nearby Craigellachie National Nature Reserve. Many local communities in the Highlands have a hill that they like to think of as ‘theirs’, and for Aviemore’s it is definitely Craigellachie. This peaceful haven is close to town, but makes you feel as though you’re a world away. As you walk, you’ll pass through a birchwood forest with various small lochans (lakes) before the trail climbs above the tree line where you’ll eventually reach the summit. Here you can enjoy the spectacular 360-degree views across the Cairngorms National Park, including towards the high plateau, where you will be hiking tomorrow. After descending and walking back to town, you’ll take a local bus to nearby Loch Morlich for a gourmet picnic lunch on the beach. You’ll have the rest of the day to enjoy at your leisure – either making the most of the range of watersports on offer at the loch such as canoeing or stand up paddle boarding, or you could even catch the bus back to town for a bit of shopping.
Today is the pinnacle of your walking trip with a full day hike known as the Cairngorms ‘Peak to Pub’. After breakfast you’ll take the public bus (approximately 20 minutes) to your starting point which is located at an elevation of 610 metres (2,000 feet) above sea level. Today you’ll be climbing to one of the Cairngorms most well-known summits called the Creag a Chalamain. Set off across the moors, keeping your eyes peeled for the local reindeer herd! Your local leader will be able to share plenty of stories about the area, including some of the latest conservation projects that are happening across the Cairngorms. As you approach a rocky chasm, you’ll take a tiny trail up to the summit. The views from the top are incredible, as you can see three out of six of the UK’s highest peaks. After taking photos and having time to catch your breath and soak up the vista, you’ll begin your descent via a different route, following an old drover’s trail through the beautiful Rothiemurchus Forest. You’ll finish the day’s walk back in Aviemore at the local pub, located next to the River Spey where you might like to enjoy a final night of dinner and drinks as a group.
With no activities planned for today, your Scottish adventure finishes after breakfast at your guesthouse. You’re free to discover the countryside at your leisure, or begin your homeward journey.