Experience winter in the Scottish Highlands on this unforgettable six-day itinerary. Surrounded by frozen lochs and ancient pine forests, you’ll settle into a wonderland of scenic treks, wildlife watching, whisky tasting, and cozy fireside evenings. Spend three days with an expert guide who will take you hiking in this spectacular landscape and share fascinating tales of local history as well as their vast knowledge of the local flora and fauna. The guide will be able to tailor activities to your interests and activity level, as well as acting as your driver for those days.

Highlights

  • Enjoy scenic winter hiking in the beautiful Cairngorms National Park
  • Visit the local mountain reindeer herd
  • Stargaze under Scotland's clear night skies
  • Tour & taste at a local whisky distillery

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in the Cairngorms Aviemore
Day 2 Walk with Reindeer Aviemore
Day 3 Explore the Ancient Forest of Abernethy Aviemore
Day 4 Whisky Tasting & Stargazing Aviemore
Day 5 The Drovers Road & Lochain Uaine Aviemore
Day 6 Depart from the Highlands  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in the Cairngorms - Self-Guided Day

The pristine Loch Morlich, near Aviemore in the Cairngorms.
Beautiful Loch Morlich, reflecting the Cairngorm Mountains.

 

Welcome to the magical world of the Cairngorms in winter. Travel north into the Highlands to the small town of Aviemore. Nestled at the foot of the mountains of the Cairngorms National Park, this is the perfect base for exploring this special corner of Scotland. After settling into your accommodation,  head out to start exploring or stay in for the evening with a hot drink and a crackling fire.

Day 2: Visit the Local Mountain Reindeer Herd - Self-Guided Day

Local reindeer roam the mountainsides.

 

This morning, make your way to Glenmore Village, where you'll follow a herder up to the lower slopes of the Cairngorms to visit a local reindeer herd in their wintery habitat. Make sure to wrap up warm and prepare for the wild, as this special experience takes you above the tree line. This afternoon, warm up after your adventures and indulge with a delightful afternoon tea in the Highlands.

Day 3: Explore the Ancient Caledonian Pine Forest - Guided Day

Highland cattle in the snow.
Highland cattle in the snow.

 

Today you’ll explore the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest of Abernethy. Home to some of the rarest species in the UK, this vast protected area is a remnant of the dense woodland that once stretched across prehistoric Britain.

Your guide (and driver) for the next three days will meet you at your accommodation and together you will decide on the best option for the day. Hikes are tailored to your ability, but one option will take you past the beautiful Loch Garten and Loch Mallachie. If snow is lying on the ground, you may spot tracks of some of the rare local wildlife, such as pine martens and red deer. If you're lucky, you may even see the animals themselves in their snowy winter coloring.

Day 4: Whisky Tasting & Stargazing - Guided Day

The northern lights can often be seen in the Cairngorms in winter.
If you're lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights over the Cairngorm Mountains.

 

Today takes you into the heart of whisky country, an area which is home to more than half the distilleries in Scotland. Enjoy one of the many scenic hikes here, maybe a section of the Speyside Way, a beautiful long-distance trail that winds its way through the heart of this renowned landscape. As you explore, your guide will regale you with tales of the history of the "water of life" in this area, both legal and slightly less so. Enjoy lunch in a traditional local pub before heading to one of the local distilleries for a tour and tasting. 

Have an early dinner, and if the weather is clear, your guide will take you out after dark to enjoy the dazzling night sky. Scotland has some of Europe's largest expanses of dark sky, with a breathtaking amount of stars visible with the naked eye. Wrapped up with a hot drink, you can spend hours enjoying the glorious celestial show on display. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights.

Day 5: The Drovers Road & the Faery Lochan - Guided Day

Snowfall and sunshine over Glenmore Forest Park.
The Cairngorm Mountains sparkling in snow and sunshine.

 

This morning you'll be met by your guide and travel together towards Glenmore Village and the starting point of your walk, which takes you over the Ryvoan Pass. Once part of an old droving road through Glenmore Forest, it now offers spectacular views of the Cairngorm Mountains. The route passes the uniquely colored “Lochain Uaine,” Gaelic for “the Green Lake.” Locally this is known as the Faery Lochan, as legend says it gets its unique color from faeries washing their clothes there.

Stop along the way for hot drinks and a hearty lunch in a remote historic bothy (a rustic shepherd’s hut.) If you're feeling adventurous, climb further up onto the nearby summit to enjoy expansive views across the Spey Valley.

After your hike, celebrate with a dram at a local pub before your guide drops you back at your accommodation in Aviemore and departs, leaving you to enjoy a relaxing final night in the Highlands.

Day 6: Depart from the Highlands - Self-Guided Day

Glorious rays of sun in the highlands.
Glorious rays of sun in the Highlands.

 

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before you depart for your onward journey, carrying with you special memories that will last a lifetime.

Map

Map of Winter in the Scottish Highlands - 6 Days
Map of Winter in the Scottish Highlands - 6 Days