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Bucket list trip: hiking, a pub and a castle in Scotland

Hogmanay Scotland

On February 17, 2016 By Andy Bateman In Holidays blogs and reviews

Guided private hiking in the Highlands of Scotland – a pub, a castle, a hike:

Hit the Hotspots in the Highlands of Scotland

If you’re in the Highlands on a business trip, and have a few days to spare here’s an idea for a personalised tour we could put together for you and your group.

Mary Jane Shankel and her son, Josh, were over in Aberdeen with her husband, who was unfortunately working so he couldn’t enjoy the same freedom to explore as them. They contacted us and we put together the following tour for them which Mary Jane has reviewed on TripAdvisor.

This trip took place at the end of April 2015 so don’t be surprised to see snow on the ground for the hikes – it wasn’t too much of a shock for the Shankels as they had come over from Canada.

The timing of Mary Jane’s trip was tight so their first day started late (around 11am – due to the travel time from Aberdeen)

Day 1: Hiking in the Aviemore area: arrive at Fraoch Lodge on the train from Aberdeen, via Inverness to Aviemore station, where Mary Jane and her son were met by Andy in our VW Caravelle. Andy brought the 2 Canadians back to Fraoch Lodge where they changed into hiking gear and chatted to him about the route for the day, the gear they needed and then they made up a lunch packet and set out for a half-day hike in the Cairngorms.

Ascent of Meall a’Bhucaille.

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Mary Jane and Josh enjoying some predator free hiking in Scotland. In Canada, there are bears, wolves etc – serious predators to worry about. Here in Scotland we just need to worry about the wee predators (midges and ticks). On a day like this in the Spring, even they are not around, so hassle free hiking.

Day 2: A pub, a castle and a hill walk: Mary Jane had proposed in her first email to us that ideally she would like to include a pub and a castle in with the hiking as it was to be her son’s first experience of Scotland. By including this visit to Perthshire (a short drive from Fraoch Lodge – less than 2 hours) Andy hit all these highlights.

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Mary Jane and Josh outside Blair Castle, Perthshire. The Duke of Athol is the only person entitled to retain his own private army.

 

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On top of the world – an ascent of Ben Vraikie, Perthshire. A prominent viewpoint above Pitlochry.

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The final tick – a pub complete with own brew and a log fire. What more could you ask for at the end of a busy day of culture (castle) and hiking (Ben Vraikie). The whole bucket list in a nutshell courtesy of Scot Mountain Holdays.

Day 3: a sad farewell – heading back to Aberdeen.

Here’s what Mary Jane had to say in her 5 star review of the trip:

“Andy and Rebecca are the most fabulous hosts, they made us feel like we were old friends on a short visit. We packed in really, really full days of hiking and sight-seeing. Being short of time, Andy skillfully managed our wish list of 2 half day hikes, a tour of a Scottish Castle and a trip to a traditional pub. Andy’s breadth of knowledge seems unbounded; Scottish history, geology and ecology kept us tuned in to the beautiful landscape and people of Scotland. Topping off the day with Rebecca’s wonderful cooking and wandering through their organic garden made the trip a seem like we had found a little piece of heaven. Weeks later we are still talking about it and planning a return trip…a longer one this time!”

Mary Jane and Josh enjoyed a private guiding package with Scot Mountain Holidays. They had no transport themselves so were able to benefit from our transport as well as Andy’s local knowledge. On their own and on their first tour, they would not have been able to complete their tick list. It’s only a shame that Mary Jane’s husband was not able to join them. Perhaps on a future trip they can tempt him to explore more widely when he is not as busy with work issues.

If you are short of time and want to pack in as much as you can on your visit to the Highlands, please contact us for a quote. Our trips are most frequently based from our own home in the Cairngorms National Park, but we can work further afield. Based with us you can access a wide variety of top attractions: a distillery, Loch Ness, beautiful scenery, castles galore, historic sites and boundless hiking opportunities as well as wildlife spotting.

VACATIONS WITH SCOT MOUNTAIN HOLIDAYS

Hiking Vacations across the Highlands of Scotland

Adventure vacation in Scotland for all the family

Mountain Biking in Scotland

Private guiding

 

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