5 Day Highland Wilderness Glamping Adventure – 4 Days hiking/3 Nights Wild Camping.

5 days, 4 nights
Tour Type:
Pack horse supported hiking and wild camping holiday
Group size:
2 - 5

Hiking with Pack Horses – Highland Wilderness Glamping

Pack horse supported hiking with wild camping comfort – a UK first!

Imagine escaping into the wilds and immersing yourself in one of Scotland’s most iconic natural landscapes. Hiking with pack horses by day and wild camping by night in the Cairngorms National Park!  This pack stock supported trip brings together developments in luxury camping with the pack horse role of the Highland Pony. For the first time, guests are treated to heated nordic tipi’s, warm showers and comfy camp beds in the wildest and remotest of locations! Self reliant, this guided wilderness trek offers guests the luxury of only carrying a day sack* whilst offering an elevated level of camp comfort.  It provides wild camping and hiking with horses in some of the Scottish Highlands wildest and most beautiful scenery. It’s a truly immersive off grid experience.


Wild camping on our hiking with pack horses trip

One of our Heated Nordic Tentipi’s

What to expect

The experience provides:

    • An “off the beaten track” experience.
    • Camp Woodburner heated Nordic Tipi’s
    • giving somewhere warm to sit and relax on camp chairs
    • A wilderness journey in the company of our Highland Ponies, Goldie and Foxy!
    • The ability to dry outdoor clothing in camp overnight
    • A trek through the beautiful native Caledonian pinewoods and into the Cairngorms Connect area – the biggest habitat restoration program in Britain!
    • Warm camp showers
    • Experience the Uk’s most naturally bio diverse terrestrial habitat
    • A proper Camp toilet!
    • Half a day of expedition training
    • A sleeping experience akin to being in your own bed
    • The comfort of only having to carry the weight of a “day sack”.*
    • An off grid and truly immersive nature experience
    • All conducted with Leave no Trace principles in mind.

* Guests are asked to carry approximately 3kg of consumables: fuel and food.


Ready for the off - hiking with pack horses

Goldie, one of our Highland pack ponies loaded up and ready to go!


What’s included?

This 5 Day/4 night fully inclusive adventure includes:

  • 4 Days of guided hiking
  • 3 nights of wild camping
  • 1/2 a day of expedition training
  • 1 nights accommodation at Fraoch Lodge at the beginning of the trip (Day 1)
  • All meals from lunch on the first day of arrival through to lunch on your day of departure
  • Transport to and from Fraoch Lodge to the start/finish of the trek
  • Transfers to Inverness Airport or Aviemore Station

Please look at what we are doing to keep you Covid-19 safe on this trip.

The Cairngorms National Park  is the UK’s largest national park, home to 25% of the Uk’s rarest and most endangered species. It holds 5 out of 6 of Scotland’s highest peaks and contains Scotland’s largest, most natural habitats. It is home to the country’s most ambitious, landscape-scale nature conservation project, Cairngorms Connect

Related video:

Cairngorms Nature 




Day 1: arrival

Guests are asked to aim to arrive for lunch by 1pm*. Over lunch you’re able to meet the other guests and settle in.  The trip kicks off with an afternoon of expedition training learning how to efficiently pitch and strike camp. Everyone gets involved! Cake O’clock follows and we go through what you will need and don’t need to be carrying for the expedition.


Day 2

After a good breakfast we head over to the stables where the pony handlers will have already got the ponies ready. We head out onto the beautiful Rothiemurchas Estate. Taking a route though a lovely mix of native pine woodland and pastures we pass by the lovely Lochan Eilean and on into Inshriach National Nature Reserve.


We head off the path and head into native woods that transcend time. Nothing has changed since the colonising vegetation chased back the glaciers 12 000 years ago. Lichens drape from the branches giving it a lost world feel. We pick up a deer track through the heather. Winding its way beneath noble pines it leads us to our campsite.  It’s a superbly secluded spot in open woodland and heather moorland. Another human you are unlikely to see! We pitch camp with plenty of time to enjoy the whole wilderness experience.


Route: 8km across fields, on estate tracks, footpaths and through heather moreland on undulating but gentle gradients. Ascent is negligible. Walking time excluding photo stops, breaks, etc is approximately 3 hrs.


Day 3

You wake up to the crackle of the woodburner and the delicious smell of coffee in the outdoors. After breakfast we strike camp, pack up the ponies and continue our journey towards Glenfeshie, arguably the jewel in the crown of Cairngorm glens. The first hurdle is a small burn to cross before we continue on our journey winding our way through the pines with views onto the flanks of the Cairngorm Massif. Taking a very quiet back route we start to gain height and break out out above the trees onto open moorland. At the saddle you are met by a superb view down the length of Glenfeshie.


We descend to a well maintained foot path and then down onto the glen floor. We are in the heart of Cairngorms Connect area, the UK’s largest and most exciting nature conservation project! We continue up the glen following the glistening waters of the river Feshie through open heath and again amongst noble pines. With the high hills all around it’s a glorious setting.


We arrive at our campsite. A glorious spot amongst open pines, birch and juniper. It is the most natural of settings.


Route: 16km on forestry tracks, footpaths and over heather moreland on undulating but generally gentle gradients. There is one notable ascent of 170m and approximately 2 km of rough walking over heather. Walking time excluding photo stops, breaks, etc is approximately 5hrs :30 mins.


Day 4

After breakfast, grooming the horses and breaking camp, we reverse our route back down this glorious glen. The very changeable Scottish weather gives our stunning landscapes infinite variety. Skirting around the flank of the massif the vista is ever changing. Depending on time we take an alternative route back over the 742m summit of Creag Mhigeachaidh. The views are stupendous. To the east and south you look onto the flanks of the munro summits of the high Cairngorms. To the west and north the view sweeps down across the woods, fields, lochs and marshes of Badenoch to the Monadh Liath mountains beyond.


From the summit we make a steady descent through first growth forest to our camp for the night in the beautiful setting of the Invereshie and Inshriach National Nature Reserve. Home to Roe and Red Deer, rare species like pine martin, Wildcat, cross bill and crested Tit it is a superb example of the woodland that once covered much of Highland Scotland.


Route: 16km on footpaths, estate tracks and through heather moreland on undulating but gentle gradients. There are 2 notable ascents; 170m & 400m. Walking time excluding photo stops, breaks, etc is approximately 6 hrs.


Day 5

After packing up we head back onto the Rothiemurchas Estate along Rathad nam Meirleach (The Thieves Road). Route of the notorious Jacobite and cattle rustlers like John Dubh Cameron, this route served as a “back road” where stolen cattle could be ushered unnoticed back to their Lochaber lands.

Passing by beautiful Lochan Eilean we head back through birch woods and pastures along the route we originally set out along. The trip is then rounded off with a late lunch at Fraoch Lodge before you depart. Alternatively there may be the option of staying on a little longer if you prefer and one of Rebecca’s delicious home cooked evening meals.


Route: 8km across fields, on estate tracks, footpaths and through heather moreland on undulating but gentle gradients. Ascent is negligible. Walking time excluding photo stops, breaks, etc is approximately 3 hrs.


Day 6: Departure

After breakfast we transfer you to either Aviemore rail station or Inverness Airport.


The trip provides a very sympathetic wilderness journey in the company of our native Highland Ponies Goldie and Foxglove. It’s the ultimate immersive experience of one of the uk’s most precious habitats – the stunningly beautiful native Caledonian Pinewoods and mountains of the Cairngorms National Park. This packhorse supported hiking offers a superb opportunity for “off grid” escapism and to re-connection with nature!

Guests maybe asked to carry up to 2 kg of consumerables

accommodation near Aviemore

Fraoch Lodge in it’s autumn plummage

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 family 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.

food at Fraoch Lodge

Home made Sticky Toffee Pudding – a classic British favourite.

The expedition itself is probably the most carbon neutral trip you will have ever been on. The Highland Ponies are a native breed to the Scottish Highlands so are superbly adapted to the hill environment. They are amazingly tough animals being well adjusted to the rough grazing of our hills. Horse power – no fossil fuels required here! With their short backs they are ideally suited as pack animals and are impressively sure-footed on rough steep ground. In winter there is no need to rug them as they are that well insulated snow can lie on their backs!


If done correctly, the poaching of ground by the horses hooves can help in the forest regeneration by making the ground more receptive to pine and birch seed. In the past this would have naturally been achieved by animals like wild Boar and the Great Auroch – the ancester of all modern cattle, both of which are now missing from our ecosystems. Additionally, the natural exposure of soil is also achieved by the root plate rearing up when a tree is blown over. During the Neopolonic and subsequent wars, the demand for timber has meant the these root plates were left in-situ and the moss layer remained intact preventing a germinating seed getting its initial root into the soil.


Dead wood is an important component of the forest ecosystem so we carry in all the fuel for the camp wood burners.  The camp wood burners are fuelled by spent whisky barrel staves, birch and peat briquettes.


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 from 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 info@scotmountainholidays.com.

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