Scotland Hiking Adventure

About the Experience

The Scottish Highlands are easy to visualize. Misty moors, lush glens, ancient castles and the rapture of folklore (or is it folklore?) surrounding mythic sea creatures. The verdant isles, jagged coastline, shimmering cities and deep lochs are the views that a dram of whisky were designed for! 

Plockton. Old Man of Storr. Kelpie. Black Cuillin. These names are like a roll call of spirits. Cheeky and curious red squirrels chatter away in the woods. Shaggy Highland cattle set the scene. Elusive wildlife like the tabby-like Scottish wildcat, pine marten, red deer and capercaillies (the largest member of the grouse family) surprise the quiet hiker.

As we hike and paddle our way through the dramatic scenery it’s easy to feel as though you’ve been pulled into the depths of a watercolour. Hillsides blur purple with Scottish heather. A cool mist clings to bare skin and clothes with a reassuring weight. Golden eagles circle, turning dizzying shadows on the ground below.

This is a place to recalibrate and be consumed by all that the Highlands have to offer. Scotland wants to tell you a story, and it wants you to pay attention.

The tundra-like landscape gives way to remote beaches, still lakes and the hulking shadows of Ben Nevis Mountain.

We’ll glide kayaks through the glass-like serenity of Loch Carron. There will be castle ruins, rural villages, seafood hooked fresh from the denim waters. 

Invite your inner warrior to the challenge and transformation that can only be found in our Scotland Hiking adventure!

*Please note: There are several hiking options on this trip but the group must collectively decide on which route they will hike together. The guide will offer detailed information on the terrain, length and technical aspects of each hike–she will also assess the group’s skill, pace and weather conditions which will influence which hike is the best for everyone.

 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Scotland Hiking Adventure

About the Experience

The Scottish Highlands are easy to visualize. Misty moors, lush glens, ancient castles and the rapture of folklore (or is it folklore?) surrounding mythic sea creatures. The verdant isles, jagged coastline, shimmering cities and deep lochs are the views that a dram of whisky were designed for! 

Plockton. Old Man of Storr. Kelpie. Black Cuillin. These names are like a roll call of spirits. Cheeky and curious red squirrels chatter away in the woods. Shaggy Highland cattle set the scene. Elusive wildlife like the tabby-like Scottish wildcat, pine marten, red deer and capercaillies (the largest member of the grouse family) surprise the quiet hiker.

As we hike and paddle our way through the dramatic scenery it’s easy to feel as though you’ve been pulled into the depths of a watercolour. Hillsides blur purple with Scottish heather. A cool mist clings to bare skin and clothes with a reassuring weight. Golden eagles circle, turning dizzying shadows on the ground below.

This is a place to recalibrate and be consumed by all that the Highlands have to offer. Scotland wants to tell you a story, and it wants you to pay attention.

The tundra-like landscape gives way to remote beaches, still lakes and the hulking shadows of Ben Nevis Mountain.

We’ll glide kayaks through the glass-like serenity of Loch Carron. There will be castle ruins, rural villages, seafood hooked fresh from the denim waters. 

Invite your inner warrior to the challenge and transformation that can only be found in our Scotland Hiking adventure!

*Please note: There are several hiking options on this trip but the group must collectively decide on which route they will hike together. The guide will offer detailed information on the terrain, length and technical aspects of each hike–she will also assess the group’s skill, pace and weather conditions which will influence which hike is the best for everyone.

 

DAY ONE: EILEAN DONAN CASTLE

Mid-morning, meet your guide and fellow Wild Women crew in Inverness. We will head south to the fabled Loch Ness for a high-speed zodiac boat ride. Our skipper will stop at notable places of interest to share secret tidbits and tall tales along the way (about the one that got away, no doubt!). After the thrill of the boat trip and goosebumpy accounts of the submarine serpent, we’ll have an authentic lunch at a local cafe before making our way to the tiny coastal village of Plockton (population: 468!). En route, we will stop at the iconic and instantly recognizable Eilean Donan Castle, one Scotland’s most treasured attractions. Situated on an island where three great sea lochs (lakes) converge, four different versions of the castle have been built and rebuilt since the 13th century.

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: The Plockton Inn

 

DAY TWO: LOCHS AND SEA

The twee fishing village of Plockton sits on the shores of Loch Carron. The painted cottages, pines and palms make for a curious mix.  Yachties love this sheltered bay. Highland cattle, blooming heather and painters transfixed by the scene are a predictable sight.

Today, our hike takes you inland to two freshwater lochs. If the group is game, we can incorporate a summit of Cam a Bhealaich Mhoir (343m/1,125ft above sea level) to marvel at the stunning views across Loch Carron. Though not visible from 343m (1,125ft), Loch Carron is a Marine Protected Area as fishing activity (from bottom trawls and dredges) disturbed the flame shell beds. The brightly coloured mollusks (250 million of them) are the largest flame shell colony in the world!

On our return loop, we’ll pass Duncraig Castle, built in the 1860s by Sir Alexander Matheson. He was also involved in the construction of the West Highland Railway line and conveniently, a station was provided for him close to his new home. 

Our remarkable day will draw to a close as we hike along the coastline and snap pics of Plockton’s harbour. Look for the local boats coming into the Old Pier around 3pm with fresh fish and prawns. A fish van also visits the village every week with a selection of fresh and smoked fish. A butcher’s van trundles through on Wednesdays, selling Aberdeen Angus beef and local lamb. 

It might be time for a pint! Established in 2007, Plockton Brewery’s flagship pint is a Best Bitter loved by locals and visitors alike. There’s also “Fiddler’s Fancy”, an English Bitter or the whimsical “Hitched.” First brewed in 2010 before the night of a wedding, the beer was first dubbed “Half-Hitched” and was re-named “About Time” the day of the wedding and became “Hitched” when it went commercial. Say “I do” to that!

 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: The Plockton Inn
The skinny on today’s hike:

  • Flexible distance of  9-14 km (6-9 miles), 3.5-5 hours, 435m (1,427ft) ascent. The paths are easy to navigate though can be muddy and rough in places.

 

DAY THREE: CAULDRON OF WATERS

A boat from Elgol will take us into the hidden Loch Coruisk whose haunting Gaelic name (Coire Uisg) means “Cauldron of Waters”. This narrow freshwater loch lies at the foot of the Black Cuillin in the Isle of Skye. It’s only accessible by boat or a 13km (8-mile) hike. The boat trip itself is a relaxed opportunity for wildlife-spotting as it is common to see porpoises, seals, minke whales and basking sharks in this area. This lake is also the home of a “kelpie” or water horse–a shapeshifting creature that can assume human form. Most bodies of water in Scotland have something mystical lurking below. Dip your feet in the loch, if you dare!

Once we land at Loch Coruisk, we’ll follow the shoreline of this magical place, hugged by the Cuillin Mountains. Our guide will decide which hiking route is best for us depending on the group’s fitness level and comfort on terrain that is boggy with rocky sections. We might hike around the loch, make our way partially around it or make our way up a “wee hill” as they say, for an elevated view of the loch.

In the late afternoon, we’ll settle into our new accommodation on the northwest of the island. Enjoy a hot shower and change of wool socks!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Loch Eyre House
The skinny on today’s hike:

  • Flexible distance up to 7km (4.5 miles), 3-4 hours, 122m (400ft) ascent. Expect boggy and rough path, rocky slopes in places and depending on the route, a river crossing over stepping stones.

 

DAY FOUR: HIGHLIGHTS OF SKYE

Today our guide will lead us on one of Skye’s classic routes, The Quirang. This route offers offers views of what appears to be the fortress walls of a prison, but the rock structure is 100% natural. Dare we say…it’s jailhouse rock?

You will have free time in the evening to explore the former fishing village of Portree, the largest town and capital of Island of Skye. There may be an opportunity to chill out with pints and traditional live music in a local pub.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Loch Eyre House
The skinny on today’s hike: 7.25km (4.5 miles), 3-5 hours, 340m (1,115ft) ascent. Note: The Quirang hike has narrow paths with steep sections and some slippery rocks. 

 

DAY FIVE: BLACK CUILLIN

This morning we will hike in one of the secluded glens to the north of the legendary Black Cuillin Mountains (known to be the UK’s most challenging range). Rather than follow on the heels of seasoned climbers traversing the ridge, we will stick to the lower level pathways, a backdrop of craggy mountain peaks and sweet views of the Small Isles and Outer Hebrides.

In the late afternoon, we will leave the island’s magic with a sigh and journey to Fort William, which has become known as the outdoor capital of Scotland and gateway to Ben Nevis. It’s also loved by film directors, distillers and sunsetters who gather to celebrate the burning of the day with sundowners over the Isles of Frum, Eigg, Muck, Canna and Skye.

Our guest house is conveniently close to the town centre and tonight’s dinner is independent. There are several tempting options to choose from in Fort William–Thai, Indian, vegan, traditional grub and community pubs serving heaps of comfort food with a dose of live music.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Guisachan Guest House in Fort William
The skinny on today’s hike:

Option 1

  • Glen Sligachan Hike: Flexible distance up to 16km (10 miles), 6 hours, 300m (984ft) ascent. A reasonable path through the glen. Can be rough and boggy in places.

Option 2

  • Boreraig and Suisnish: 16.5km (10.25 miles), 5-6 hours. 350m (1,148ft) ascent. Mostly clear paths, tracks and minor roads. Boggy and wet underfoot in some places.

 

 

DAY SIX: HIKING BEN OR GLEN NEVIS

Today, we will have the option to trek to the summit or take the steady low road. For those with a bounce in their step and feeling adventurous, you can ascend Scotland’s highest and most famous peaks, Ben Nevis. Rising to 1,344m (4,409ft) and starting from almost sea level, this one is not for the faint-hearted or flat-footed. The alternative hike for today will be the low level but equally as impressive Glen Nevis and Steall Falls route. The rugged beauty of this glen has been captured in many films including the Harry Potter movies and Braveheart, so this majestic trek will not disappoint.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Guisachan in Fort William
The skinny on today’s hike:

Option 1

  • Ben Nevis Hike: 18 km (11 miles), 7 – 9 hours, 1352m (4,435ft) ascent. Steep path throughout, rough and rocky near the top, often snow-covered on the higher areas with some powder patches remaining in summer months.

Option 2

  • Glen Nevis Hike: 3.5 km (2.25 miles), 1.5 – 2 hours, 220m (721ft) ascent. Clear path but very rough and rocky with steep drops in some places. Expect some rock and roll.

 

DAY SEVEN: SEA KAYAKING IN THE ARISAIG SKERRIES

Taking to the water today, we will air our punky hiking boots for the day! In the morning we’ll have a guided solo sea kayaking experience in the serene Sound of Arisaig. There are intimate coves, rock skerries and pristine sandy beaches to discover! There is also a resident colony of curious seals who may decide to come for a synchronized swim in our shadows.

After lunch, we can opt for a relaxed afternoon poking along the white sandy beaches of the Morar coastline on foot, searching for fascinating rock formations and tidal seaside creatures. Alternatively, we can hike out to the abandoned village of Peanmeanach with its ‘bothy’ (hiker’s hut), beach and stellar views of the Small Isles.

This evening, we will make our way to a lively local pub to sample a dram or two of smoky Scotch whisky, a symbolic and authentic way to end the trip and celebrate the new friendships forged over mountains and moors!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Guisachan in Fort William
The skinny on today’s hike:

  • Peanmeanach Village and Beach Hike: 11 km (7 miles), 3 – 4 hours, 386m (1,266ft) ascent. Clear path, rough and wet in some places.

 

DAY EIGHT: INVERNESS DEPARTURE

Today will bring your Highlands Hiking Adventure to a close. But what a high it was! After a leisurely breakfast with your wooly Wild Women pack, you will be transferred back to your starting point in Inverness and dropped off at the Inverness Railway Station (in the city center) around 12:30. Please do not book flights before 3: 30 PM to allow for any potential delays.

Meals Included: Breakfast

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

Wild Women Expeditions and our local partners intend to adhere to the described itinerary. This is only a general guide to follow on your tour of the region. Our itineraries are subject to change, as we cannot predict the weather or other environmental conditions. We are continually striving to make improvements to all our trips based on feedback from Wild Women members, guides, partners, and other research. We reserve the right to alter itineraries based on the above at any time.

Arrival into InvernessTravelling throughout Scotland is easy with the network of buses, trains and flights. Arriving via Glasgow or Edinburgh will require a bus or train ride north to Inverness. Arrival directly to Inverness Airport will require a shuttle or taxi to the Inverness Railway Station.Transportation Options:Flying

  • Scotland’s international airports – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick and Inverness – are all served by flights from a growing number of North American, European and other long haul destinations.
  • Visit Getting to Scotlandfor full details about traveling by air to Scotland.
  • A bus service links Inverness with Inverness Airport. For details, visit Traveline Scotland or call 0871 200 22 33 (24 hours) or visit Train Taxi for details of taxis available for hire.

 

Bus

  • All of Scotland’s major towns and cities are served by short and long-distance bus services. Long distance buses are known in Britain as coaches and are a popular way to travel across the country.
  • Visit Getting Around Scotland by Bus or Coach for full details about bus and coach networks throughout Scotland.

 

Train

  • There are rail connections to each of Scotland’s seven cities. The rail network links many of towns and villages across the country with main lines running north and south through the east and west, but you’ll find it is most dense in the central belt.
  • Visit Getting Around Scotland by Train

Group Rendezvous Point

  • Date: Day 1
  • Time: 10 AM
  • Location: Academy Street entrance of the Inverness Train Station

 

Notes about Pick-Up

  • Meet the group inside the Academy Street entrance of the Inverness Train Station under the electronic departure boards. Look for your guide with a Wild Women Expeditions t-shirt and sign.
  • Inverness Train Station address is: Academy Street, Inverness, Highland, IV2 3PY
  • Inverness Station Information

If you plan on arriving early, Wild Women Expeditions recommends staying at the Strathness Guest House in Inverness. We are not holding any rooms, so early booking is strongly recommended.Please book directly with the Strathness Guest House, by calling +44 1463 232765 or emailing info@strathnesshouse.co.ukIn the event the Strathness is fully booked, here are some additional recommendations:

 

 


Departure from InvernessAccommodations are not included on this night, so if you plan on departing later, be sure you book this before the trip.Drop-Off Point:

  • Date: Day 8
  • Time: About 12:30PM
  • Location: Inverness Train Station


You are responsible for booking your own flights or other transport arrangements to the trip start location. These arrangements and any other independent arrangements that you may make are not a part of the trip booked with Wild Women Expeditions and are entirely at your own risk. Wild Women Expeditions accepts no responsibility, directly or indirectly, for any loss, damage or injury to property or person in connection with such arrangements. Should you require assistance with your travel arrangements, please contact:Megan and Zale | ****Now Boarding Travel SpecialistEmail: wildwomen@nowboarding.travelNote: Now Boarding Travel only provides services of 3-star quality or greater. For budget alternatives, please refer to the Lonely Planet guide for your destination.Important: For international and remote destinations, there is always the risk of flight delays, baggage delays and flight schedule changes which may cause late arrivals, which may, in return, result in you missing the group tour departure. For these reasons, we encourage you to consider arriving a day early, which will also help you overcome any jet lag from traveling!

You are fully responsible for your own visa requirements, permits, and certificates for your trip. It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. It is your responsibility to check with the country’s Consulate and your country’s travel website such as Canada’s for up-to-date information about traveling to Scotland. Visa and Passport information are also available via VisitScotland.com.

  • Passport

Most countries and airlines recommend passports be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected return to your home country. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

 

  • Visa

Visa information is available via VisitScotland.com.

 

Note: As fees and policies can change, we highly recommend that you contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent.


It is customary to leave a tip to thank waiters and other service providers. At restaurants, bars and coffee shops, it is customary to leave 5-10% of the total amount of the bill; if the service was very good, you may wish to leave up to 15%. Some restaurants and bars include the tip in the final bill, so be sure to check this in order not to overpay.Most participants tip their guides if they were provided great service and a satisfying experience. We are often asked what an appropriate amount is – most participants who provide a gratuity for their guides have each tipped in the range of £10 – £15 per day per guide.

  • Rooming Arrangements

Our trip prices are based on a twin share (min two people per room), so we’ll team you up with another solo wild woman to share with if you’re on your own, or of course, you can share with your travel partner.

If you’d prefer not to share a bedroom, we have a single supplement option. This is subject to availability (only 2 available) and we will confirm this with you following your request. If you have already indicated this preference on your registration form, you will be emailed a quote once availability is confirmed. If you are now interested, please email support@wildwomenexpeditions.com with your request.

  • Bathrooms

All rooms have en-suite bathrooms.

  • Internet / WiFi / Cell Coverage

Wireless Internet is available at some accommodations.

  • Potable Water

Tap water throughout Scotland is drinkable, unless otherwise specified.

 

If you would like to join Wild Women Expeditions in its commitment to reducing single-use plastic, you can travel prepared with your own water treatment system!

Lifestraw

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Travelers Against Plastic | Take the TAP pledge


  • Plockton Inn, Plockton

Located on the main street in Plockton, the Plockton Inn is owned and operated by Mary. This lovely small town accommodation features quaint rooms with twin beds, ensuite bathrooms, towels, etc. and has an on-site pub and restaurant. All amenities are within walking distance from the Inn.

  • Loch Eyre House, Portree, Isle of Sky

Loch Eyre House is a tastefully decorated Guest House, with 9 bedrooms en suite with views over Loch Eyre. Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and television. There is a comfortable lounge to sit and relax in front of our log fire (if cold enough), take in the views, read our books or watch our feathered friends visit our bird feeders.

  • Guisachan, Fort William

The bed & breakfast is located in a prominent hillside position set back from the A82 Belford Road in Fort William, overlooking the town and adjacent Loch Linnhe which means that the views from the guest lounge and dining room are stunning.



Scotland enjoys a constant electricity supply throughout the country (including the Highlands and Islands). Power cuts are rare and are usually fixed very quickly. You will need a Type G electrical adapter will be required. Voltage is 220-240 Volts. For North American appliances (110-120V electronics) you will also need a step-down transformer unless otherwise specified on the electrical device.Power Plugs and Sockets

Scotland is on Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+00:00)

As the old Scottish saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!” Be sure to check the weather for Scotland and pack accordingly.Scotland Weather

Wild Women Expeditions recommends that each participant should bring enough cash in local currency or available credit/debit funds to cover their meals during travel to and from their destination. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, meals not included in the trip package, shopping, etc., and we also suggest you have access to emergency funds.

  • Currency Exchange Offices & Banks

Being a part of the UK, Scotland uses the British Pound Sterling (£). If you need to change currency you will usually find a currency exchange counter at international airports. You may have to show your passport in order to be able to exchange money and a fee is usually associated. Best to change large amounts so you only pay the fee once.

Please check online for current exchange rates. Wild Women Expeditions likes XE Currency Converter

We highly suggest you read this article: Where to Exchange Currency Without Paying Huge Fees for more information about this for your trip.

  • Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

One of the most convenient ways to get cash is by using an ATM. You will often receive better exchange rates, even though you have to pay a service fee, as with most ATMs outside your bank network. Ask your bank if there are branches at your destination where you can avail of free cash withdrawals. (ex. Scotiabank (in Canada) and Barclay’s Bank (in the UK) have this arrangement).

  • Credit Cards

Widely accepted in Scotland. If you have a credit card, you can use the ATM to purchase local currency directly. Your monthly balance usually shows the exchange rate you received on purchases made with the credit card.

  • Cash

This is the best way to pay for items in the communities we will be visiting. Local artisans and craft shops may not have credit/debit machines. As well, cash is best for tipping your guides.

  • Taxes

Scotland (part of the United Kingdom) is subject to VAT (Value Added Tax). VAT is included in prices and is redeemable on purchases over £50 upon exiting the UK. Ask for the VAT return slip at point of sale.

  • Budgeting

Here is a general guide to budgeting in Scotland:

Scotland Money Matters


Please be sure to provide complete, accurate, and up-to-date information about your health & fitness level and keep us updated if there are changes. Wild Women Expeditions trips travel to remote areas where limited or no sophisticated medical facilities exist.A medical emergency situation is extremely unlikely; however, should it arise we need to be prepared with the necessary information to help you.Important Note: If you choose not to disclose a condition, infirmity, injury, or ailment herein and are subsequently deemed to be unfit for expedition travel due in whole or in part to such condition, infirmity, injury or ailment, Wild Women Expeditions guides, and partners shall have the right to remove you from the trip with no refund or compensation payable. Any evacuation expenses incurred are payable by the evacuee via their Medical Travel Insurance or personal expense.Generally, our expeditions are intended for travelers in reasonably good health for their safety, along with that of their fellow travelers.Wild Women Expeditions recommends that in the months leading up to your adventure, you prepare yourself by walking often on various types of terrain and exercising regularly to increase your level of fitness with cardio and/or weight training.As there are some water-based activities on this itinerary, please notify Wild Women Expeditions if you are a non-swimmer.Getting Fit

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to enjoy your Wild Women expedition. Not by a long shot! You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve with our experienced guides at your side and a little camaraderie.

That said, you’ll definitely enjoy yourself far more if you do some preparation so your body is conditioned and ready to enjoy and make the most of the outdoors.

 

Here are a few ideas to help you get ready:

  • Take every opportunity you can to be active.

You can improve your fitness a lot just by adopting some new habits; take the stairs at work, go for a walk at lunchtime, park your car away from work and walk. Aim for 30 minutes a day and keep a diary so you can look back on it and feel proud. These may sound trivial but they’re all building blocks!

  • Rev up your ticker!

Think ‘interval training’, which means doing short bursts of high-intensity work with recovery time in between. Depending on how fit you are this can mean strolling with bursts of power walking, or jogging with sprints. Either way, the aim is to get your heart rate up.

  • Join a local walking or running group.

This is a great way to get fit and you’ll also see new places, meet great people… and make them all jealous when they find out what you’re about to go on your travels.

  • Warm up, cool down and stretch.

If you’re doing a workout then make sure you start and finish gently and stretch any tight muscles – this will help you avoid any aches, pains and pulled muscles. If you’re a member of a gym try some yoga, tai chi or pilates classes to build up your flexibility, stability and balance.

  • Break in your hiking boots.

Blisters and sore feet are no fun at all! So make sure that while you’re getting yourself ready you’re doing the same for your boots. Start by just wearing them around the house, then down the road, and walking the dog. Then ideally do a couple of decent length weekend hikes to prepare them for what is to come.

  • Hydration.

When you suddenly ask your body to walk or be active, it needs a bit more fuel than it needs when, say, sitting at a desk all day! The main thing your body needs is water, so stay hydrated and practice sipping water often. Getting a water bottle or hydration bladder is a great way to make sure you have it on hand at all times. Make a habit out of taking a bottle of water with you wherever you go.

  • Nutrition.

Eating little and often will keep your body well fuelled for outdoor exercise, especially food like nuts, dried fruit and bread. The odd bit of chocolate and a few boiled lollies are good for keeping your blood sugar levels up while you’re hiking as well!

  • Have fun!

The most important point of all! You are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime. You’re going to meet some amazing people, see some wonderful places and create memories that will stay with you for life. The more prepared you are to tackle the various challenges, the more fun you will have. Also, with all the endorphins you create from all this training, you’ll be smiling from ear to ear! It’s a great way to boost your happy vibes.


For general Wild Women Expeditions FAQs please click here.