Horsing Around the Highlands

About the Experience

Gallop along a deserted beach as you take in the turbulent coast and mist-shrouded lochs and heather in full bloom…this is just a teaser of the full embrace that horseback riding in the Scottish Highlands offers.

On this trip you’ll find your inner warrior by learning the fine art of archery on horseback! You’ll also learn how to distill a bespoke gin, make a twee wool keepsake and hear some of the tall tales rooted deep in the castles, abbeys and fishing boats of Kintyre.

Ride through the moving scenery of ancient forests, winding rivers, time-sculpted cliffs and impossibly purple hillsides. Climb the ridges of mountain ranges and absorb the expansive views (all the way to Ireland) over the steely Atlantic. Expect hillside picnics with the horses, divine three-course dinners and a farmhouse stay made even cozier with new friends.

Discover the supernatural wild landscapes of Scotland in an intimate way–by horse!

 

 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Horsing Around the Highlands

About the Experience

Gallop along a deserted beach as you take in the turbulent coast and mist-shrouded lochs and heather in full bloom…this is just a teaser of the full embrace that horseback riding in the Scottish Highlands offers.

On this trip you’ll find your inner warrior by learning the fine art of archery on horseback! You’ll also learn how to distill a bespoke gin, make a twee wool keepsake and hear some of the tall tales rooted deep in the castles, abbeys and fishing boats of Kintyre.

Ride through the moving scenery of ancient forests, winding rivers, time-sculpted cliffs and impossibly purple hillsides. Climb the ridges of mountain ranges and absorb the expansive views (all the way to Ireland) over the steely Atlantic. Expect hillside picnics with the horses, divine three-course dinners and a farmhouse stay made even cozier with new friends.

Discover the supernatural wild landscapes of Scotland in an intimate way–by horse!

 

 

DAY ONE: ARRIVAL

Upon arrival at Campbeltown airport, a 5PM shuttle will be available to Glen Kerran Farm where we will meet our hosts Cara and Nikki (and the herd). For those who arrive early, a pick-up can also be arranged at the bus station but no early check-ins are permitted at the Farm. Our group will gather for an authentic farmhouse dinner at 7PM. The dining table view overlooks the horses grazing in the fields below–now that’s ambience!

After dinner (you won’t want it to end!), our guides will walk (and gallop) us through the itinerary and discuss general housekeeping so we can kick-off smoothly in the morning.

 

DAY TWO: HORSEMANSHIP 

After breakfast, we’ll start the day with some basic horsemanship training. We will play a game to explore the concept of communication without words before heading out and putting this into practice with some horses. This groundwork will allow us to better understand our own energy presence, precision and ability to bond with the horses via simple tricks and games. By the end of the session, we should be able to control our horses with a slight head nod or finger waggle. This will set us up well for the week ahead!

After lunch in the farmhouse, we will head out to enjoy our first afternoon of riding on a ride designed to acquaint us with our horses over differing terrain and paces through the forests and rivers of Scotland’s big backyard. From here, we will head towards the hills of the northwest where the horses will spend the night at a local farm.

 

DAY THREE: MOUNTAIN RIDE

This is a day of steep climbs, careful navigational skills and BIG views. We’ll have a whole day spent in the hills and it will test the bond between us and our steeds over wide-open landscapes. We will learn how to navigate by the plants under our hooves and picnic with our horse by calming hill lochs that are deep with history and looming legends.

This will be a demanding day for both horse and rider but within the embrace of a natural space that will make our hearts race a little faster. We will end this day with the horses staying out near the coast.

 

DAY FOUR: CALL OF THE WILD

We will hit the hills with a big, full-day trail ride across the countryside. Today is a beautiful opportunity to bond with our horses, take in the expansive views and the unforgettable heather in bloom. We will learn how to navigate the challenging wild terrain and unexpected natural obstacles as we traverse the peninsula east to west along one of its highest ridges.  Be prepared for a long day in the saddle as this day is truly the “Call of the Wild”. Fret not–we’ll stop for a picnic lunch in the company of our stoic horses out in the wilds along the way.

Back at the farm, we’ll enjoy some well-deserved time chill out time.  Kick back, relax, sink into a hot bath and then we’ll feast!

 

DAY FIVE: WEST COAST YACHTING

Today we will explore Kintyre’s west coast on our own private chartered boat. Sgarbh started her life in 1947 as a local herring boat and was converted and restored to a 20-tonne, 40-foot classic teak motor yacht. This bespoke opportunity will revolve around stunning scenery, a deep dive into local history and divine food and drink.

After a relaxed breakfast at Wilder Ways, we will be picked up by taxi at 11AM for a 90-minute drive up the west coast to the twee village of Crinan overlooking the Sound of Jura. Here, we’ll meet our salty dog Skipper, Ross Ryan. Ross has sailed all his life (Sgarbh has been helmed by Ross’s family for 40 years) and is extremely knowledgeable about the area–he’s a natural-born storyteller. As an artist, he is magnetically drawn to the dramatic seascapes of this coastline. 

We’ll navigate the local islands on high alert for wildlife! Fun fact: the boat’s name is Scottish Gaelic for cormorant. Ross will regale us with a fun lunch and learn, sharing Sgarbh’s restoration process and the sea adventures they’ve shared.

Our boat trip will draw to a close in the historic Crinan Canal. Built in 1801, the Crinan Canal is considered Britain’s most beautiful short cut. It safely connects the Clyde to the Inner Hebrides, eliminating the need to navigate the often-treacherous Mull of Kintyre.

We will return to Campbeltown for a superb dining experience at No 42. Foodies will be thrilled with the local seafood offerings and a taste of Scotland’s finest grass-fed beef.

Satiated, we will return to Wilder Ways after our big taste of the west coast for a sound night’s sleep. We’ll be back in the saddle in the morning!

 

DAY SIX: BEACH RIDE

Rested and recharged, we’ll pick up our steeds to enjoy a full day on the beach. We will feel the wind in our hair and the brine of the ocean deep in our nose. The pure freedom of horse and rider gunning down the sand without worry is an unmatched feeling of thundering hooves and pounding hearts. For those not yet comfortable with a full gallop, don’t worry, speed on the beach is optional! At a slower pace you embrace the tranquility and true sparkle of this stunning coastline and uninterrupted views of the Inner Hebrides. These teal waters are ideal for spotting seals and fishing seabirds along the way–we can even take the horses for a swim if the weather and tides allow.  We’ll have lunch with our horses on the beach before returning to the farm for the evening.

 

DAY SEVEN: HORSEBACK ARCHERY

It’s time to channel our inner warriors!  Nothing can prepare you for the thrill and satisfaction of shooting arrows from a running horse. It’s an instant connection to our warrior past–it’s feral and exhilarating! Cue up Robin Wright as General Antiope in Wonder Woman 1984!  We’ll spend the morning practicing ground archery skills before mounting our trusted steeds in the afternoon. In between, we’ll have a farmhouse lunch before carrying on, empowered, ready for battle!

DAY EIGHT: CASTLES, GIN & ROCK AND ROLL

After breakfast at Wilder Ways, we will be picked up at 10:30AM by our gracious host Emma Macalister Hall, the chatelaine of Torrisdale Castle Estate. Emma is a gushing ambassador for Kintyre and will quickly pull us in for some good ‘craic’ (Scottish banter).

Emma will accompany us on a magical minibus ride up the east coast of the Kintyre peninsula to Saddell Estate where we will learn about the intriguing history of the castle and abbey. For Beatlemaniacs, we will also walk along the very beach where Paul McCartney’s “Mull of Kintyre” music video was shot!

If the tide permits, we’ll see the life-size brooding (and naked)  Anthony Gormley sculpture–it’s one of five commissioned by Landmark Trust to celebrate their 50th anniversary and the only Gormley sculpture in Scotland.

Next, we will head to Emma’s home, Torrisdale Castle Estate and grab a hot coffee or tea before a tour around the impeccable grounds of her castle. She’ll share generational stories and the evolution of the castle to include an on-site gin distillery and renewable energy generation.

We’ll have a light lunch at the estate’s distillery café before a totally unique experience – gin school! This is the only Wild Women Expedition trip that offers such higher learning! We will spend the afternoon tasting and blending our very own original gin, have a tour of the sustainable distillery and learn about the practices used by Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Ltd.

 Emma will accompany us back to Campeltown to enjoy a memorable two-course dinner at the Ardshiel Hotel. This award-winning whisky bar has been run by proprietors Flora and Marion for several years and is the ideal place to kick back and end our day. And what a day! From gin school to a whisky bar!

After dinner we will be dropped off at Wilder Ways for zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s.

 

DAY NINE: BEHIND THE SCENES

On our last full day together, Nikki and Cara, our hosts, will take us behind the scenes. After breakfast, we’ll take a leisurely walk around the farm to learn how the women use the land for growing food, foraging, feeding the herd and supporting the natural environment in a sustainable way. Nikki, is a bonafide botanist who has surveyed most of the Scottish uplands and coastline over her 25 years in the field.

We will also have some intimate time with the horses out at pasture before returning to the farmhouse for a hyper local lunch, enjoying the natural ingredients we have foraged. This meal is worth the sweat equity and open-air “grocery shopping” experience.

After lunch, we can relax by the open fire, listen to Celtic music and swap stories as we play with “home-grown wool” to make a wee keepsake from our truly wild Scottish adventure.

DAY TEN: DEPARTURE

After our last breakfast together (sigh), we will say goodbye to our beloved steeds, guides and fellow Wild Women warriors. A taxi will take us directly to the Glasgow airport for flights home. Where will the herd gather next?

 

 

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!