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Take a walk on the wild-again side: welcome to the Scottish Highlands! Join us across the rewilded Cairngorms mountain range, where wildlife flourishes and people thrive. Rewilding is all about hope, restoring nature’s web of life, including habitats, natural processes, and missing species, and this is your chance to see it all in action. We’ll picnic alongside local rivers and seek out unforgettable encounters with wild animals and like-minded people. Along the way, we’ll learn about pioneering rewilding projects that are fighting back for nature, and meet some of the inspiring people involved.

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  • Discover the Scottish Highlands

    Explore the Scottish Highlands and its amazing wildlife with an expert local guide

  • Witness rewilding transformation

    Learn about nature-rewilding initiatives and meet people behind the effort

  • Enjoy mountain lodge comfort

    Relax and enjoy delicious, local meals with like-minded fellow travelers

Itinerary

Welcome to Cairngorms! Rewilding Journeys are small-group trips blending learning and inspiration, in the company of expert guides and like-minded fellow travelers. You’ll get to enjoy beautiful wild places, breathe in the fresh air, and listen to the sound of silence. Walk, hike, and picnic alongside rivers and seek out encounters with wild animals. Learn about pioneering rewilding projects that are fighting back for nature, and meet the people behind it all.

  • This itinerary is subject to change based on the weather and season of your tour.

  • After arrival and introduction, enjoy Scottish cocktails, a pre-dinner adventure presentation and a first dinner together around the farmhouse dining table.

    Meals: Dinner
    Accommodation: Ballintean Mountain Lodge

  • The rewilding adventure starts along River Feshie, part of Northwoods Rewilding Network. You’ll see a secret forest waterfall, Glenfeshie’s regenerating landscape, and Insh Marshes, one of the most expansive wetlands in the UK. Depending on the conditions, you might spot leaping Atlantic salmon in a local river. Wrap up with coffee and cake, and some after-dinner wildlife watching — a chance to spot badgers and pine martens.

    Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
    Accommodation: Ballintean Mountain Lodge

    Badenoch, Scotland, UK - October 21, 2021: Lower Glen Feshie Sculpture Trail
  • Today you’ll explore Glen Affric’s Caledonian Forest, part of the Affric Highlands rewilding initiative. You’ll discover expanding woodlands and Loch Ness’s alluvial forests, glowing with emerald lichens. Lunch by the tranquil loch amidst migrating geese and visit Dundreggan Estate and Trees for Life’s Rewilding Centre. Learn about their inspiring work, including rare species cultivation like aspen at the tree nursery.

    Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
    Accommodation: Ballintean Mountain Lodge

    A hiking trail through the autumn colours in Glen Affric in the Scottish Highlands
  • After a slightly later breakfast, meet a Ballinlaggan Farm rewilding practitioner who transformed sterile sheep pastures into diverse and vibrant habitats. Enjoy a picnic by River Spey. Discover Lynbreck Croft’s nature-focused farming approach from Lynn and Sandra. 

    Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
    Accommodation: Ballintean Mountain Lodge

    The River Spey in the Cairngorms National Park, Scottish Highlands, UK
  • A short drive will take you to a diverse wetland rich with ponds, reedbeds, and woodlands. Enjoy a scenic walk through regenerating woodlands, followed by lunch overlooking River Feshie. Explore Abernethy’s ancient pine forest, witness Cairngorms Connect’s expansion efforts attracting new species like white-tailed eagles. After your final meal, wrap up the tour with a film highlighting the places you visited and principles you talked about.

    Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
    Accommodation: Ballintean Mountain Lodge

    Abernethy Forest is a remnant of the Caledonian Forest in Strathspey, in the Highland council area of Scotland. It lies within the Cairngorms National Park, close to the villages of Nethy Bridge, Boat of Garten, and Aviemore. The forest is an RSPB reserve, close to Loch Garten Osprey Centre which is also owned by the RSPB. It is popular with walkers, as there are various trails throughout the reserve.
  • After a hearty breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye to Cairngorms — at least for the time being.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Senior woman wearing a tartan kilt in Glen Affric, Scotland.
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Meet your guide

SCOTLAND: The Big Picture
5.00
SCOTLAND: The Big Picture
Let us introduce you to pioneering rewilding projects fighting back for nature, and the inspiring people driving them forward. This is a carefully crafted blend of rewilding learning and inspiration, in the company of expert guides and like-minded travellers. Immersing yourself in landscapes with an abundance and diversity of life, is good for your health and wellbeing.
5.00 (3 reviews)
Wonderful experience
Trish

My attitude to rewilding has forever changed and I really will be making some major life altering decisions going forward that will have a positive impact on me and the environment. Thanks again for such a wonderful experience!

Inspirational and most interesting
Michael

I found the Rewilding Journey inspirational and most interesting. Stef was brilliant as a guide, while Peter’s passion for rewilding absolutely shone through. Catering and accommodation could not have been better. So, thank you for a wonderful time at Ballintean.

Utterly inspiring
Ruth and David

I can’t express how important this trip was. We knew about rewilding already and have our own land, but we’ve gained a depth and a further understanding that has been incredibly valuable. So many thanks for an utterly inspiring couple of days.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

    • Experienced local guides
    • 4 days of guided walks, excursions and presentations
    • 5-nights accommodation in a room with private facilities
    • All meals (breakfast, picnic lunch and 3-course dinner)
    • Minibus transportation during the tour
    • Transfers from Kingussie at approx. 4pm on the day of arrival
    • Transfers to  Kingussie at approx. 10.30am on the day of departure

    What’s not included:

    • Transportation to/from the Cairngorms
    • Travel insurance — mandatory
    • Alcoholic drinks
    • Personal expenses
    • Guide gratuities — optional
  • This hiking tour is beginner-friendly, but some level of fitness does help. If you can walk at a leisurely pace for four to six hours (or up to 5 miles) a day with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Keep in mind, you’ll also be carrying a daypack filled with water and other things you might need throughout the day. However, with some preparation and willpower, you should be able to handle this tour no matter your age or skill level.

    If you’re a more advanced hiker looking for a challenge, check out this hiking tour in the Cuilin Hills or these hiking tours in the Isle of Skye.

  • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

    • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (25L bag)
    • Hiking poles — optional
    • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
    • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
    • Comfortable hiking clothes 
    • Spare clothes for layering and 4 days of hiking
    • Waterproof rain jacket
    • Sunhat
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Headlamp or flashlight
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • Rewilding is a process of nature recovery that leads to restored ecosystem health, function and completeness. The goal is to maintain and expand areas of wildlife in a manner that has a positive impact on the climate and encourages biodiversity. The vision that unites rewilding at different scales is one of restoration and recovery – a commitment to transform degraded ecosystems so that they work in all their colourful complexity. SCOTLAND: The Big Picture is a Scottish charitable company that promotes rewilding across Scotland. 

     

  • You will stay in Ballintean Mountain Lodge, a beautifully converted farm steading located in Glenfeshie, near the village of Kincraig in the Cairngorms National Park. The lodge has a rustic, contemporary feel, and the rooms have private facilities, with the Wi-Fi throughout. Mobile phone reception is generally good.

    Hikers around a table outside the lodge

  • You will enjoy breakfast and evening meals in the Lodge, prepared by the local catering team. Expect home-cooked, wholesome food prepared with fresh, local ingredients. In the field, you’ll have picnic lunches and home-bakes, with an occasional coffee-and-cake stop along the way.

    Your guides can cater to a range of dietary requirements, taking into consideration allergies and health conditions, as well as ethics, faiths and cultures. Please indicate your requirements during booking and your guides will do their best to accommodate your needs.

    Group of hikers talking about dinner

  • Group sizes and pricing

    • For this adventure, the usual client-to-guide ratio is up to 8:1

    Hiking in Cairngorms can be arranged for larger groups up to 12 people. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
  • To get to Ballintean Mountain Lodge in Kingussie, the starting point of the tour, most people fly into Inverness Airport (1 hour away by car and 2 hours away by train) or Aberdeen International Airport (2.5 hours away by car or 4 hours away by train). Once you reach Kingussie, your guides will transfer you to your accommodation.

    Your guides offer complimentary transfers from Kingussie at approx. 4pm on the day of arrival and approx. 10.30am on the day of departure. Airport transfers are arranged depending on other peoples arrivals.

    Your guides can also pick you up at Inverness Airport on arrival day for a flat fee of £50 per person. They can also drop you off on the last day for the same fee. Your guide will suggest the best place to meet. 

  • Weather in the Scottish Highlands is very changeable and at any time of year, you should expect anything from warm, calm conditions to wintry squalls. Temperatures are likely to range from 0 to 10°C (32 to 50°F) in autumn and 10 to 22°C (50 to 72°F) in the spring/summer.

  • Yes. After covering the necessary costs associated with the trip itself, such as accommodation, food and transport, the hosts are left with a small surplus which gets reinvested into rewilding work. The visit allows the hosts to train and employ local staff and to purchase supplies and services from local businesses. In doing so, they demonstrate that rewilding is an economically viable land use in Scotland.

    Marten on a tree

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. 

    With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more. Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans. 

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. For more information on travel recommendations and restrictions in Cairngorms, Scotland please refer to the Cairngorms National Park COVID-19 guidelines and the official COVID-19 guidelines for travel into the United Kingdom.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • Secure your spot for 2025 with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you’ll be the first one to know. Pick the month that suits you best and we’ll let you know once the dates are live—don’t risk missing out on your bucket list adventure!

      • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure in case the dates don’t suit you by the end of the year.
      • Once the set dates for the following season are live, you can confirm your booking by the end of this year by paying another 20% of the total amount.
      • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.

    For set dates, a $400 deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid the latest 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. If your guides do not receive all payments due in full and on time, they are entitled to assume that you wish to cancel your booking. In that case, they will be entitled to keep all deposits paid or due at that date. Once the deposit is paid and your booking confirmed, the deposit is non-refundable.

    All cancellations must be received in writing. In the event of a cancellation by you after the balance is paid, the following terms apply:

    • Canceling within 21 days of the start date: 0% refund
    • Canceling within 42 days of the start date: 50% refund
    • Canceling within 84 days of the start date: 75% refund 

    If you prefer not to cancel your booking entirely, you can make a written request at least 21 days prior to the start of the trip to:

    • Transfer your booking to a later date. In this instance, a transfer fee of £175 ($225) will apply.
    • Transfer your booking to a friend or family member. The replacement guest will be required to complete their own booking form and, in this instance, an administration fee of £40 ($55) will apply.
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