Wilderness Weekend: Cairngorms Connect - Rewilding Retreat - Discover the story of the UK’s largest landscape scale restoration project.

WILDERNESS WEEKEND: CAIRNGORMS CONNECT

7-10 May 2021 | 22-25 Oct 2021

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
£795
3 nights
Fitness: Easy
Group Size: 8

Discover the story of the UK’s largest landscape scale restoration project.

  • Immerse yourself in the wild landscapes of Cairngorms Connect.
  • Learn about the importance of large scale ecosystems.
  • Search for some of the iconic wildlife of the region.
  • Witness the comeback of the Caledonian Forest.
  • Relax in our mountain lodge and dine on delicious home-cooked food.
  • Receive a complimentary digital copy of our landmark book: SCOTLAND: A Rewilding Journey.

OUR VIEW

“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; there are vast tracts of blanket bog, tranquil wetlands and secret woodland glades. 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. 

This partnership of neighbouring land managers is committed to a bold and ambitious 200-year vision to enhance habitats, species and ecological processes across a vast area within the Cairngorms National Park.

During this weekend retreat we’ll focus on exploring the wild landscapes of the project area whilst searching for some of it’s unique wildlife along the way.”

Jack Ward, Guide

ITINERARY

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 rewilding reserve at Ballintean, our base for the weekend, and in spring, search for the local 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 an area 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. 

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 Wilderness Weekend will provide a fantastic 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.

DATES

DATESGUIDESTATUS
DATES: 7-10 May 2021 GUIDES: Jack Ward STATUS: Filling up BOOK NOW
DATES: 22-25 Oct 2021 GUIDES: Jack Ward STATUS: Open BOOK NOW

MAKE IT EXCLUSIVE?

MAKE IT EXCLUSIVE

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.


SUBMITTING

DETAILS

PRICE

Price: £795
Deposit: £200
Single supplement: £0

PRICE INCLUDES

  • 3 nights accommodation in an en-suite room
  • All meals
  • All excursions
  • 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

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

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 transfers at £40 each way, which can be shared if other members of the group are travelling by air. We collect at 4pm on arrival day.

MEALS

Breakfast and evening meals will be taken within our accommodation and prepared by our live-in chef. We offer home-cooked, wholesome food prepared with fresh, local ingredients. In the field, we take a picnic lunch and home-bakes. We can almost always accommodate specific dietary requirements - just tell us on the booking form and we’ll make sure to satisfy your needs.

FITNESS

Most sites are accessible via a short walk but the terrain can be uneven and sometimes wet and/or slippery. You should generally be able to walk up to 5km, sometimes over uneven ground. 

WEATHER

Weather is very changeable in the Highlands and you should expect anything from warm, calm conditions to wintry squalls. Temperatures are likely to range from 5c to 15c with the possibility of strong winds.

INSECTS

Midges aren’t usually an issue at this time of year but can be present on calm, mild days. We suggest you bring a suitable repellent.

GUIDES

Jack Ward

JACK WARD

Jack has been a professional guide in the Highlands for the past ten years. He now works directly for the Cairngorms Connect project, carrying out practical conservation on the ground within the project area. He has combined a lifelong love of the outdoors with a working knowledge of land management in the Highlands. He is enthusiastic to share the wonders of the Cairngorms and the conservation work of Cairngorms Connect project with guests from around the world.

Join Jack on the following retreats:
7-10 May 2021
22-25 Oct 2021

Ballintean Mountain Lodge

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 and 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 a Wi-Fi connection although, due to its remoteness, phone signals can be patchy. 

Facilities:

  • Stunning, private location with spacious on-site parking
  • A mixture of single, twin and double en-suite rooms
  • 100% organic white bed linen & towels provided
  • In house chefs providing home-cooked, locally sourced cuisine
  • Large farmhouse dining room where we eat our meals together
  • Spectacular two-tier lounge with views to surrounding mountains
  • Set amongst 120 acres of rewilding reserve
  • Free WiFi throughout the lodge

Location:

THE BIG PICTURE

  • By booking a retreat you’ll be directly supporting local jobs and services in the Scottish Highlands, demonstrating that wild nature has a tangible economic value. 
  • All of our food and services are sourced from local suppliers wherever possible, and we constantly review ways in which we can make our retreats more sustainable. 
  • We invest all profits from Rewilding Escapes directly into our work, so by joining our retreats, you are contributing to rewilding projects in Scotland.