Wild Weekend: Cairngorms Connect - Rewilding Retreat - Discover the story of Britain's largest landscape-scale restoration project.

WILD WEEKEND: CAIRNGORMS CONNECT

13-16 May 2022 | 8-11 Jul 2022 | 28-31 Oct 2022

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
£825
3 nights
Fitness: Easy
Group Size: 8

Discover the story of Britain's largest landscape-scale restoration project.

  • Immerse yourself in the wild landscapes of Cairngorms Connect.
  • Learn about the importance of rewilding at a landscape scale.
  • Search for iconic wildlife, such as pine marten and golden eagle.
  • Witness the spectacular comeback of the Caledonian Forest.
  • Relax in our mountain lodge and dine on delicious locally-sourced food.
  • Receive a complimentary digital copy of our landmark book: SCOTLAND: A Rewilding Journey.

ITINERARY

“The Cairngorms Connect area stretches over 600 square kilometres - it is a landscape of superlatives: Ancient woodlands intersected by sparkling rivers and lochs, encircle an Arctic-like mountain massif – the most extensive and wildest of its kind in Britain.

Jack Ward, Guide

 

Day 1: After arrival and introductions we enjoy our first meal together before an after-dinner presentation setting the scene for our adventure.

Day 2-3: We’ll explore the 120-acre rewilding reserve at Ballintean, our base for the weekend, and in spring, search for the ospreys that nest alongside the river. Next door lies the acclaimed Glenfeshie Estate and we'll take a walk alongside the braided river to see first-hand, a landscape recovering after decades of over-grazing. This is a Highland glen that encapsulates what rewilding can achieve given the chance. We discover the importance of Insh Marshes, one of the country's foremost wetland habitats with a variety of breeding waders and lined by nationally important stands of aspen. 

“It is a place where eagles soar, wildcats prowl and red squirrels forage; home to plants, insects, birds and mammals found in few other places.” 

During the retreat, we’ll visit some of the best remnants of the Caledonian Forest, where a new and exciting approach is seeing the forest expand, benefitting golden eagles, crested tits and Britain's largest grouse, the capercaillie. We'll get up close with red squirrels and spend an evening watching badgers and pine martens from a dedicated hide.

This Wild Weekend will provide a fascinating insight into one of the UK's most exciting nature recovery projects, whilst immersing ourselves in spectacular scenery and searching for some of Scotland's iconic wildlife.

Day 4: We say our farewells after breakfast on Monday morning.

DATES

DATESGUIDESTATUS
DATES: 13-16 May 2022 GUIDES: Jack Ward STATUS: Open BOOK NOW
DATES: 8-11 Jul 2022 GUIDES: Jack Ward STATUS: Open BOOK NOW
DATES: 28-31 Oct 2022 GUIDES: Jack Ward STATUS: Open BOOK NOW

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Enjoy all the highlights of this rewilding experience surrounded by your own group of family or friends, on a retreat that is exclusively yours. Simply complete the following form to begin your journey.


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DETAILS

PRICE

Price: £825
Deposit: £200
Single supplement: £0

PRICE INCLUDES

  • 3 nights accommodation in an en-suite room
  • All meals
  • All excursions
  • Personal guiding
  • Presentations
  • Transfers to/from Kingussie

PRICE EXCLUDES

  • Travel to/from the retreat
  • Travel/cancellation insurance
  • Alcoholic drinks (wine is served with dinner)
  • Personal expenses

TRAVEL

By train/bus: public transport is generally reliable and we can offer free transfers to/from Kingussie (7 miles).

By car: Cars can be safely parked. Directions will be sent as Satnav is not always reliable. Our postcode is PH21 1NX.

By air: Our nearest airport is Inverness (45 miles) and we can offer free transfers. We collect at 4pm on arrival day and drop off mid-morning on departure day.

ACCOMMODATION

Ballintean Mountain Lodge is your home from home for our Cairngorms based retreats. This beautifully converted steading is based in Glenfeshie at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The wild landscapes surrounding Ballintean contain some of Scotland’s most treasured habitats as vast ancient forests, hidden lochs and snow-capped mountains provide a breath-taking backdrop for an inspiring retreat. Here you can explore the lodge’s extensive grounds where ospreys nest, red squirrels forage and our very own highland cows wander the meadows along the River Feshie. 

Ballintean Mountain Lodge is comfortable and full of character. Specially designed for house parties, there is a choice of single, double or twin rooms, all with private facilities. Kick off your shoes and make yourself at home! 

The Lodge has reliable Wi-Fi connection although, due to its remoteness, phone signals can be patchy. 

Your room at Ballintean Mountain Lodge will be available from 4pm on arrival day. Our first evening meal is normally taken at 7.30pm.

MEALS

Breakfast and evening meals will be taken within our accommodation and prepared by our own catering team. We offer home-cooked, wholesome food prepared with fresh, local ingredients. In the field, we take a picnic lunch and home-bakes, and we might also squeeze in a coffee and cake stop along the way!  We can almost always accommodate specific dietary requirements - just tell us when booking and we’ll make sure to satisfy your needs.

FITNESS

Most sites are accessible via established paths and tracks but the terrain can be uneven and sometimes wet and/or slippery. You should generally be able to walk at a leisurely pace for up to 5km.

WEATHER

Weather is very changeable in the Highlands and you should expect anything from warm, calm conditions to wintry squalls even in the summer. Temperatures are likely to range from 5c to 15c with the possibility of strong winds. These conditions obviously vary at different times of year so if you’re unsure what to pack, we’ll be pleased to advise.

INSECTS

Midges aren’t usually an issue outwith the mid-summer months. In summer, on calm, mild days, they can irritate so we suggest you bring a suitable repellent. For anyone who has experienced midges on Scotland’s west coast, they don’t come anywhere close in the Cairngorms!