Sunday July 10th – Saturday 16th 2022
Join this unique retreat at Alladale, hosted by SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, and immerse yourself in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands.
Day 1: We will meet at the lodge in the late afternoon to enjoy tea and cake before a brief presentation about the history and objectives of Alladale and its associated charity, The European Nature Trust. We will then enjoy our first evening meal together.
Days 2-6: We like to retain flexibility around the exact itinerary to take account of weather and local wildlife opportunities. Here is a taste of what you can expect.
After a short, optional pre-breakfast walk from the lodge, we will journey by Land Rovers along spectacular Glen Mor. Looking out for eagles and deer, our guides will tell us about the history of Alladale and the plans for its long-term restoration.
We will see the abundance of forest regeneration on the sides of the glen and along the river. After a tasty and wholesome lunch, we have a privileged glimpse of Alladale’s Scottish wildcats, part of a nationwide captive breeding recovery programme.
Before dinner, our guide will make a presentation on rewilding across Scotland and the work of SCOTLAND: The Big Picture.
During the retreat, we will meet up again with Alladale’s rangers for a guided walk across the awe-inspiring hills, or more locally to a hidden church with a spine-tingling history.
Outwith the reserve, we will visit other exciting rewilding initiatives, including the extensive restoration of the ‘Flow Country,’ a vast expanse of carbon-storing blanket bog, which stretches across much of Caithness. Weather permitting, we will hike up Stac Pollaidh on the edge of the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Project. The view from the summit is one of the most impressive in Scotland and will reinforce both the challenge and opportunity of rewilding at a landscape scale. Weary limbs will be soothed by coffee and cake in nearby Ullapool!
We will meet with the dedicated team behind ‘DEEP,’ the pioneering reintroduction of native oysters to the Dornoch Firth – an exciting example of ‘seawilding.’ And, on the marine theme, we head to the Moray Firth where we board a privately chartered high-speed RIB and head out in search of the world’s most northerly pod of resident bottlenose dolphins, where they gather to hunt salmon.
“Our various rewilding projects are proof of what people can achieve when they put their heads together and focus on the same goal.”
Amid our exciting rewilding adventures, we take time to immerse ourselves in the landscape, enjoying a leisurely picnic alongside Loch Fleet, while watching common seals with their new-born pups and keeping eyes on the skies for fishing ospreys. We explore some of Scotland’s most northerly pine and oakwoods, where red squirrels have recently been reintroduced and are now part of the woodland ecology for the first time in generations.
For those who wish to take time out and relax, Alladale Lodge is the perfect place to unwind and take reflective walks where the only sound will be that of birdsong.
“Set against rugged hills and Scotland’s most northerly ancient Caledonian pine forest, Alladale Lodge is the ultimate private getaway. This imposing Victorian manor house is comfortable and spacious. In addition to its beautiful bedrooms and lounges, the property boasts an in-house sauna, gym and snooker room.”
This Rewilding Explorer provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the raw beauty and drama of the Scottish Highlands, look for special wildlife and learn about a broad spectrum of inspiring rewilding initiatives along the way – all while enjoying the delights of Alladale and its wonderful lodge!
Day 7: We share a final breakfast together before farewells and departure.
James is an award-winning nature photographer, filmmaker and guide with a passion for rewilding. He enjoys taking small groups of people to search for amazing wildlife in spectacular scenery, whilst exploring the potential for wilder landscapes. James is an advocate for ecotourism as one of the benefits of rewilding and has been guiding nature lovers and photographers across the Scottish Highlands for several years.
Dates: 10-16 July 2022
Location: Sutherland, Scotland
Single Supplement: £0
Group Size: 8
Guide: James Shooter
Cost Includes: 6 nights accommodation in an en-suite room; all meals; all excursions; personal guiding; presentations; transfers to/from Inverness airport/Ardgay train station.
Cost Excludes: Travel to/from the retreat; travel/cancellation insurance; alcoholic drinks (wine is served with dinner); personal expenses.
Bookings are processed via the SCOTLAND: The Big Picture website directly.