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Highlands Packhorse Hike & Camp, 4 Days, Family Holiday, Cairngorms, UK

From: CHF 975

 

 

Experience the Cairngorms National Park on this all-inclusive family camping trip. Highland ponies carry your gear and we’ll set up heated tipi tents for the overnights. It’s a unique family adventure holiday.

 

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
      Active Holidays, Family Friendly Active Holidays
    • Activity Level Moderate Adventure Holidays
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    • Group Size Small Group
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    All about the Highlands Packhorse Hike & Camp, 4 Days, Family Holiday, Cairngorms, UK.

    Overview

    • 4 Days/3 Nights

    • 1 Night at Lodge

    • Expedition Training 1st Day

    • 2 Nights Wild Camping

    • Heated Tipi Tents

    • 2 Guides and Pony Handlers

    • Guided Mountain Hike with Professional Guide

    • An Unforgettable Family Adventure Holiday

     

    Why Do We Recommend It?

    Slow down together and prepare for an adventure exploring the famous Cairngorms National Park on foot.

    It is simply the type of adventure that we believe a family can be proud of. Bond with and care for the ponies, learn about the natural environment from your expert guide, and take the time to talk to each other.

     

    Sustainability

    1% of the cost of all bookings for this trip goes towards helping to support ecological restoration projects within the Cairngorms Connect /Cairngorms National Park area.

    Is It Right for Me?

    Low-level walks involving a minimum amount of ascent and generally only very gentle gradients. The routes generally follow good paths and tracks and involve a minimal amount of crossing rough ground. They involve 5 – 6 hrs walking at a relaxed pace. Anyone who leads a reasonably active life would enjoy this type of holiday.

    If you’re not sure, just contact us and we’ll talk it through with you.

     

    Can I Go Anytime?

    The tour is scheduled for specific dates and you can find those while checking availability in the fields above. However, not all dates are guaranteed to run and some may already have filled. So, just enter the dates you’re interested in and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible with confirmation of availability. We always do our best to get the trip that suits you best.

    If you don’t see any dates that work for you, just select Get In Touch and send us a quick message about what would be ideal for you. We’ll do what we can and get back to you with options to make your dream trip a reality.

    Itsy Bitsy Details

    • Where: Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
    • Duration: 4 Days/3 Nights
    • Tour Starts: Inverness Airport or Aviemore Train Station
    • Tour Ends: Inverness Airport or Aviemore Train Station
    • Fly To: Inverness Airport, INV
    • Fly From: Inverness Airport, INV
    • Group Size: 2 to 5
    • Age: All ages
    • Tour Type: Packhorse assisted hike

     

    More Great Hiking Tours

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
    What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
    • ½  day expedition training
    • 3 days wilderness guiding with 2 Guides/Pony handlers
    • 1st nights accommodation at Fraoch Lodge
    • 2 nights wild camping
    • All camping equipment including camp beds
    • All meals from Lunch on day 1 through to lunch on day 4.
    • Transport between Fraoch Lodge & Stables
    • Inverness Airport/Aviemore Rail station transfers
    1. Day 1 Arrival

      Over lunch, you’re able to meet the other guests and settle in.  The trip kicks off with an afternoon of expedition training learning how to efficiently pitch and strike camp. Everyone gets involved! We first start with learning how to set up and take down the corral to keep the ponies secure overnight. Once that is done we do the same with the Tipi tent and camp beds. Cake O’clock follows and we go through what you’ll need to carry for the expedition.

      The day is rounded off with one of Rebecca’s delicious home-cooked evening meals and an overnight stay at Fraoch Lodge. The Lodge provides comfortable twin room en-suite accommodation. There is also a lovely lounge for guests to relax in.

      * Guests are asked to aim to arrive for lunch by 1pm.

    2. Day 2 Day 2

      After a good breakfast, we head over to the stables where the pony handlers will have already got the ponies ready. We head out onto the beautiful Rothiemurchas Estate. With views to the hills, we take a very varied route. A lovely mix of heather moorland, native birch, and pine woodland and pastures. We pass by the lovely Lochan Eilean and its ruined castle and on into Inshriach National Nature Reserve. It is some of the most beautiful scenery Scotland has to offer, iconic of the Cairngorms National Park.

      Heading off the path we have a small burn to cross and head uphill. Amongst regenerating pines we find ourselves in a wonderfully secluded spot – our campsite for the night. The setting couldn’t be more natural. Heather, birch, pine, blaeberry, the same suite of plants that chased back the glaciers 12 000 years ago.

       

      Route: 8km across fields, on estate tracks, footpaths, and through heather moorland on undulating but gentle gradients. Ascent is negligible. Walking time excluding photo stops, breaks, etc is approximately 3 hrs.

    3. Day 3 Day 3

      Day 3 can be very much tailored to your desires. There are a number of options available depending on abilities and weather, anything from more low-level trails through the woods through to climbing a Munro (Scottish Mountain over 3,000ft). Sgor Gaiothe (1118)to be precise – one of our highest peaks.

      Here are two options:

      Walking through beautiful heather and scattered pines we make our way towards a more obvious path. It takes us up through a delightful fringe of first-growth forest. Reaching up to the tree line these trees were too inaccessible to ever be touched by the fell man’s axe. It is where time has stood still, an “otherworldly” feel. Breaking out above on the open mountainside we rise efficiently on an old stalker’s path to gain the ridgeline.

      Heading right the ridgeline climbs steeply and sees’ us climbing to the Munro summit of Sgor Gaioth (1118m). On the right heather-clad slopes sweep down to the forest below. On the left the view is spectacular. A series of precipitous slopes and cliffs drop 2000 ft into the huge glacial trough that cradles deep and dark Loch Einich. The massive hulk of Britain’s third highest peak, Braeriach rises equally steeply on the opposite side. It is an awe-inspiring view. With expansive views 50 miles west towards Ben Nevis, we descend via a subsidiary ridge to pick up another stalker’s path and descend back to our campsite.

      Route: 15.5 km on mountain paths and over moderate mountain terrain, some of it heather-clad, with some steep ascent. 971 m of ascent. Walking time excluding photo stops, breaks, etc is approximately 6:30 hrs.

       

      An alternative easier route sees us heading right and up to the Argyll Stone. Various legends surround the naming of this peculiar rock. It is in fact a morphological relic of much warmer times long before man was on the scene! Views extend into the great glacial trough of Gleann Eanaich on the right whilst on the left the eye is drawn down across the sweep of forest below.

      Route: 9km on mountain paths and over moderate mountain terrain, some of it heather-clad, with a little steep ascent. 584m of ascent with walking time excluding photo stops, breaks, etc being approximately 4 hrs.

      Or you may just want to chill-out around camp – that’s also an option.

    4. Day 4 Day 4

      After packing up we head back onto the Rothiemurchas Estate via the Rathad nam Meirleach (The Thieves Road). Route of the notorious Jacobites and cattle rustlers like John Dubh Cameron, this route served as a “back road” where stolen cattle could be ushered unnoticed back to their Lochaber lands.

      Passing by beautiful Lochan Eilean we head back through birch woods and pastures along the route we originally set out along. The trip is then rounded off with a late lunch at Fraoch Lodge before you depart. Alternatively, there may be the option of staying on a little longer if you prefer and one of Rebecca’s delicious home-cooked evening meals.

       

      Route: 8km across fields, on estate tracks, footpaths, and through heather moorland on undulating but gentle gradients. Ascent is negligible. Walking time excluding photo stops, breaks, etc is approximately 3 hrs.

    Highlands Packhorse Hike & Camp

     

    Imagine escaping into the wilds and immersing yourself in one of Scotland’s most iconic natural landscapes. Hiking with packhorses by day and hot tent wild camping by night. All within the Cairngorms National Park.

    This guided adventure brings together the traditional role of the Highland Pony as a pack animal and the developments in heavier but more luxurious camping equipment.

    Two things have aligned to revolutionize camping comfort in the UK. The use of more traditional breathable tent fabrics and the availability of portable camp Wood burner stoves – hot tent camping. In terms of Scotland’s often cool temperate climate, it’s a game-changer! With a frosty starlit night outside, it’s quite possible to have temperatures of 25 degrees C inside.

    With the help of Goldie and Foxglove, our native Highland Ponies, we’re able to wild camp in perfect isolation in some of Scotland’s remotest and most beautiful locations. Guests have the luxury of carrying little more than a daypack.

    You will be treated to heated nordic tipi’s, warm showers, and comfy camp beds in the wildest and remotest of locations – a UK first!

    Tipi Campsite
    A Weild Photo/Scot Mtn

    THE CAMP

    The Nordic Tipi’s we use are over 3m (10ft) in height, more than big enough to stand up in. Up in the apex, we can dry clothing overnight without fear of condensation forming. With seating around the central stove, there is a lovely cozy area to relax and enjoy the whole experience.

    In addition, warm camp showers are provided as well as a camp toilet. The beds are made up of deep insulated mattresses inflated to your own desired firmness. Overlain by a fitted sheet and a down duvet, the beds provide a sleeping experience akin to being in your own bed. All this in the remotest and most beautiful of locations.

     

    THE SCENERY

    This self-contained trek with the ponies sees us pass through spectacular Caledonian pine woods. We pass beautiful lochs and fields with views to some of Scotland’s highest peaks. It is stunningly beautiful and at the leading edge of nature conservation in the UK.

    THE NATURE

    The area is home to Golden Eagles, Wildcats, Ptarmigan, Pine Martens, and Capercaillie. Over 5,000 different species live locally, a fifth being nationally rare. The range of wildlife is breathtaking.  Old-growth pine trees draped in lichens give an “otherworldly feel”, one in which time stands still. It’s the same plants and animals that chased the glaciers back 11,000 years ago. It’s Britain’s wildest and most natural habitat.

     

    MAKING A DIFFERENCE:

    This trip takes place within the Cairngorms Connect area, the biggest ecological restoration project in Britain. Extending over 600 square km, the 200-year vision encompasses some of Britain’s rarest species and most spectacular habitats. We will be putting 1% of the cost of all bookings for this trip towards helping to support ecological restoration projects within the Cairngorms Connect /Cairngorms National Park area.

    Although reducing browsing by deer is key to natural woodland regeneration, it isn’t the only factor. Moss build-up within the heather often prevents a germinating seed from getting its initial root into the ground.

    The natural disturbance was created by Wild Boar, the Great Auroch (ancestor of modern cattle), and trees being blown over. The Great Auroch is extinct, Wild Boar are missing and many trees were felled long ago resulting in their root plates being left in-situ. The one-time disturbance of the ground by the hoofs of heavy animals like ponies makes it more receptive to tree seed. By varying our route when not on recognized paths we create that one-time disturbance.

    Leave no Trace principles, of course, underpin the whole trip.

    Goldie
    A Weild Photo/Scot Mtn
    • ½  day expedition training
    • 3 days wilderness guiding with 2 Guides/Pony handlers
    • 1st nights accommodation at Fraoch Lodge
    • 2 nights wild camping
    • All camping equipment including camp beds
    • All meals from Lunch on day 1 through to lunch on day 4.
    • Transport between Fraoch Lodge & Stables
    • Inverness Airport/Aviemore Rail station transfers

    Activity Level: Moderate Adventure Holiday

    Low level walks involving a minimum amount of ascent and generally only very gentle gradients. The routes generally follow good paths and tracks and involve a minimal amount of crossing rough ground. They involve 5 – 6 hrs walking at a relaxed pace. Anyone who leads a reasonably active life would enjoy this type of holiday.

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