Wild Cairngorms

3 days, 4 nights
Tour Type:
Guided Walking holiday
Group size:
2 - 8
3 out of 5

Explore walking holidays in Scotland: walk on the wild side in the Cairngorms National Park

When you explore walking holidays in Scotland with a focus on wildlife encounters, you’ll find this trip on your radar. This trip takes place in the Cairngorms National Park, Britain’s largest National Park. The park is 3 x the size of London. There are a far greater number of deer living in the park than there are people. If you explore walking holidays offered by a variety of companies across Scotland you’ll be able to assess the relative benefits of each trip.

We’ll take you on explorations of the hidden gems of the Cairngorms National Park. You’ll have opportunities to see red deer, red squirrel, roe deer, Capercaillie (elusive but still possible), Ospreys and crested tit. We might even have the opportunity to see pine marten when we visit the Speyside Wildlife hide. The Caledonian pine forests which make up a large part of the Cairngorms National Park are home to a wild variety of grouse as well.

Though the focus of the holiday is on hiking with the bonus of spotting wildlife, when we do have close encounters with the local wildlife, they’ll be even more rewarding than if we head out with the intention of spotting the animals.


  • 4 nights accommodation at Fraoch Lodge
  • 3 days guided walks
  • all meals
  • transport to the walks
  • pick up/drop off from Aviemore station
  • visit to the Speyside Wildlife hide to see pine marten and badgers


Please check our scheduled trips on the guided walking holidays page



Wild Mushroom identification

Birdwatching in the Cairngorms

High Mountain Wildlife: Dotterel




Wild Cairngorms: Guided Wildlife walking – Cairngorms, Scotland

Four deer are spotted on a walking trip

Wildlife spotting during a guided walking tour

Arrive: On evening before walking begins. Try to aim for between 5 and 7pm so that you have time to settle in and meet the other members of the group before dinner at 8.00pm.

Day 1: From moorland to Corbett summit (Geal Charn Mor) spotting many species native to the Highlands. In the evening we plan to visit the Strathspey Wildlife Hide after our delicious dinner at Fraoch Lodge.

Distance: approx 12.5km; ascent – 608m: time – 4 hours plus breaks

pine marten in the Cairngorms

One of the rare nocturnal pine martens viewed from the Wildlife hide used by BBC Spring Watch programme

Day 2: We’ll walk through the RSPB Abernethy Reserve and take the opportunity to visit the Osprey hide, spotting not only Ospreys but crested tit and crossbills if we’re lucky.

Distance: approx 18km; ascent – 308m: time – 4.5 hours plus breaks

Day 3: Hiking on the sub-arctic Cairngorm summit will bring the opportunity to spot the nesting migrants like Ring Ouzel and Dottrel as well as the Ptarmigan and Snow Bunting.

Distance: approx 11km; ascent – 775m: time – 5 hours plus breaks

Cairngorms wildlife

Some of the high mountain wildlife frequently seen in the Cairngorms

Depart: after breakfast we’ll drop anyone who needs it at the station in Aviemore or the airport in Inverness. We’ll be sad to see you go, but we do hope you’ll join us again in future.

Click here to request the tour dossier

Wildlife sightings:

Buzzards, Red Grouse, Mountain Hare, Golden Plover, Pine Martin, Badger and Red Deer; Crested Tit, Crossbill, Siskin and Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Osprey, Ring Ouzel, Dotterel, Ptarmigan and Snow Bunting

wildlife spotting and hiking

Wildlife with a view

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.

Top quality food

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.

Guided Wildlife walking Cairngorms Scotland

Your guide admiring the local flora.

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 info@scotmountainholidays.com.

vegetable growing

Getting ready to plant our the vegetables for next year.

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