Highlands of Scotland: Self-guided walking tour in the Cairngorms
Self-guided supported hiking routes in the Cairngorms National Park, Highlands of Scotland
We offer pick up &/or baggage transfer from Aviemore station if required. Should it be easier for you to fly up to the Highlands we can offer a pick up & drop off from Inverness airport for an additional £40 per person
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3 out of 5
Would you like to discover the Highlands of Scotland but away from the great classic routes? The Cairngorms National Park, the largest park in the UK, has wild, spectacular mountain scenery - it is the most amazing area to explore. The beauty of the countryside and the variety of the wildlife is unsurpassed.
You’ll be met at Aviemore station and depending on the time of your train (and the prevailing weather) you will be offered the choice of hiking to Fraoch Lodge, your base for the week, along the Speyside Way, through some of the most beautiful countryside of the north of Scotland; or alternatively you can explore the footpath network surrounding Fraoch Lodge.
Walking time : 2 h.
Transfer to the Cairngorm ski car park where you can start the route to ascend to the summit of Cairngorm Mountain (1245m), the sixth highest summit in Scotland. The summit of Cairngorm is atop a vast arctic plateau which offers you an amazing 360o view of the neighbouring summits.
Walking time: 5h. Route profile : +941m / -941m.
Transfer to Aberlour.
From the pretty town of Aberlour, you’ll be following the old railway route (now the Speyside Way) to Ballindalloch Castle. Along the way you’ll also pass through the wee hamlet of Knockando where there is a historic wool mill and cafe. The mill is still in production with restored victorian machinery. If you have time, you can stop in for a wee tour of the mill.
Make a visit to the Aberlour distillery or extend the route slightly to include a visit to Britain’s only Cooperage with visitor centre. The Cooperage is where almost all the casks are made for the whisky industry.
Walking time : about 4 or 5h.
The hike to Carrbridge passes through the small settlement of Chapelton and on up the hill through the woodland to the hillside farm of Docharn. As the route traverses the hill before descending into the woods surrounding Carrbridge, you will have spectacular views across the whole Cairngorm range.
In the woodland you could well be rewarded with sightings of red squirrel and roe deer.
Walking time : approx 5h.
There are plenty of options to fill your day:
Transfer to Forest Lodge
This route is a linear one which finishes in Glenmore forest. You’ll hike through Ryvoan pass through ancient Caledonian pine forest where, depending on the time of year, you may be able to forage to your heart’s content for mushrooms and fruit, especially raspberries.
You’ll pass beautiful turquoise lochs and end the route at stunning Loch Morlich, where you can either pick up the bus back to Aviemore and on to Boat of Garten or phone for a transfer to Fraoch Lodge
NB Transfer from Glenmore/Loch Morlich not included.
Walking time : 4h30. Route profile : +420m / -420m.
Transfer to Achlean.
Walk the length of Glen Feshie, arguably the prettiest valley in the Cairngorms. Heather-clad slopes stretch up the mountains either side of you while the river wends its way through the middle. You’ll probably come across red deer, mountain hare and ptarmigan during the course of your walk as you pass through the different habitats on your way to the summit of Mullach Clach a Blair (Munro). It’s a big day out but well worth the effort.
Temps de marche: 6h30. Route profile: +706m / -706m.
Depending on your departure time, you may have the chance to explore the local trails round the village before you transfer through to Aviemore. The salmon trail meandering along the River Spey is always a good one if you have an hour or 2 free.
There is the possibility that guided groups may be going out at the same time as your trip. For a small supplement, you may the opportunity to join the guided group if their route is suitable. Alternatively if you would like a guided day as part of your tour, please contact us for a quote.
We asked our guests what sets Scot Mountain Holidays apart, why they return year after year:
“the social aspect” – “the camaraderie, food and conversation” –
“the company of the hosts” – “so warm and welcoming” –
“a profound sense of belonging” – “the welcome of Rebecca’s home cooked meal” – “Andy’s skills as a guide, naturalist and leader” – “stewardship, sustainability and a small footprint” – “in harmony with the land” – “a slice of rural Scottish life”
Scot Mountain Holidays is the ONLY adventure tour operator in Highlands of Scotland with a combined home and guest lodge. We strive to be more than just an tour. We aim to provide you with a ‘home away from home’ on your adventures. We thought of no better way of doing this than to welcome you into our own home.
We have owned and operated Fraoch Lodge as our home base and business since 1999. In that time, we have come to embrace our guests as members of our extended Highland family.
We source our meals from locally produced and home grown ingredients to provide you with the most delicious flavours and traditions the area has to offer (while minimising our impact on the environment, too). Our dining room and lounge are shared spaces where we gather with guests and friends to share in the holiday and offer you extensive knowledge of your tour.
No matter the season, the Cairngorms and Fraoch Lodge is a place to relax and explore all its beauty and comforts, and we hope to make you feel as at home as we are.
We have achieved Gold Star Awards from the world’s most highly respected green accreditation scheme, Green Tourism, and were awarded Highly Commended in their Green Star Awards 2013 for both Scot Mountain Holidays and Fraoch Lodge. We offer a Green Travel Discount of £15 to any guests who travel to us by public transport. Our primary aim is to minimise the carbon footprint of our holidays, and to this end we donate 1% of the price of our tours to the RSPB’s Abernethy Reforestation project.
It is a holistic approach we have to the care of the environment. Andy your adventure guide has a passion for the natural world – whether it’s the flora, fauna or fungi. He has a background in geology and a lifelong interest in natural history, as well as being a keen gardener. He knows a Golden Plover from a Dotterel, a Green Shank and a Dunlin. He also makes no apologies to being very excitable upon spying a Golden Eagle!
For further information, please don’t hesitate to check out our Environmental Responsibility page, or contact us directly at email@example.com.
We are proud to continue to offer our unique departure guarantee*. If your booking is confirmed by Scot Mountain Holidays you can be assured that your holiday will run. We can offer this guarantee as we are unique amongst walking holiday operators in Scotland by providing all the parts of your holiday (guiding, accommodation and catering) in-house.
* Scot Mountain Holidays reserves the right to alter the venue and itinerary of holidays advertised as based away from Fraoch Lodge.
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Booking online is straightforward and enables us to confirm your reservation immediately. We also accept bookings by telephone, email, and post.
Attention! Don’t forget to read our trip dossier and booking terms and conditions, BEFORE you complete the booking process!
A deposit of 50% is required at the time of booking unless you are booking less than 28 days before departure. In this case, full payment of the trip price is required
Your Financial Protection
In compliance with the UK Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 a client deposit account has been arranged with the Royal Bank of Scotland to protect monies paid in respect of travel arrangements offered in the Brochure and to cater, where necessary (and subject to the terms of the insurance policy), for a refund of such monies in the unlikely event of our financial failure. The balance of payment is due 28 days prior to the commencement of the course. Credit/debit cards accepted are: Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard, Switch, Non-refundable deposits will be debited on receipt of the booking form. Balance of payment reminder will automatically be sent out to you. Please be prompt in paying the balance. If you decide to pay by internet bank transfer please use your own name or booking number as a reference for the payment so it can be reconciled.
It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. We also recommend that you take out insurance which includes cancellation and baggage cover.