Western Isles small group walking vacation, Scotland
£2085 excluding flights
Description of Western Isles small group walking vacation, Scotland
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This walking vacation is suitable for active travelers who are reasonably fit and enjoy moderate hikes. We walk at a comfortable pace and you can expect to be out for 5-6 hours a day. The terrain will be mostly good paths and hill trails but these can still be muddy and rough in places. Some hikes may involve an ascent up to a max of approx 1,500 feet / 450m. Distances will be typically 8-10km. Daily hike details are available in the itinerary.
1 Reviews of Western Isles small group walking vacation, Scotland
4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on 18 Jul 2022 by Andrew Bailey
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Sailing under the cliffs up the west side of Mingulay.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
The daily programme is not set in stone. The leader will make minor adjustments according to the capabilities and interests of the group, e.g. for photographers who keep stopping to take photos!
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
The vacation benefited the local economy through the hotels we stayed in and the ferries we used. I can't honestly see ways it reduced environmental impacts - rather the reverse from the CO2 emissions from our travel; the suspected air miles involved in at least some of our food; and, at least in one hotel, a rather casual attitude towards recycling and the disposal of waste. Nor do I see ways it supported conservation, unless you argue that it did simply by our visiting the Balranald RSPB reserve - but that didn't even involve any payment.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
I felt it was very good and fulfilled my expectations. Our leader was efficient, thoughtful, didn't hassle us and provided just about the right amount of
information about the places we visited. We quickly 'gelled' as a group, and this was due in considerable measure to our leader.
Read the operator's response here:
Thank you for your comments. We are glad that you enjoyed the trip, but we're sorry to hear that you felt that the trip did not meet your expectations in terms of reducing environmental impact. We choose external providers carefully and conscientiously, and we will review this feedback with our accommodation partners. Although it may not have felt that conservation was being directly supported by the trip, as a business, we invest in a lot of environmental efforts across Scotland. We contribute annually to a nature-based charity that promotes conservation in Scotland and enables our travelers to do the same whilst booking. Off-trip, we operate our vacations out of a carbon-neutral headquarters which is powered by renewable energy.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) vacation so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetWe are firmly committed to responsible tourism and all of our tours reflect that commitment. Our vacations are purposefully designed to provide a visitor experience that maximises the positive benefits of tourism while minimising any negative impacts.
Leave No Trace & Our Guides
We are staunch advocates of the Leave No Trace principles, in which our guides are fully trained. On all of our activities, our guides will ensure that the impact on the environment, wildlife and local community is minimised. During your trip, our guides will teach you how to do this so that the knowledge is spread on your travels in Scotland and further afield. Our guides are ambassadors for Scotland's wild places and are passionate about sharing their knowledge. Your guide will not only lead your activities but tell you all about Scotland's flora, fauna, geology, history and culture. On this trip to the western isles we’ll visit nature reserves, machairs and beaches which all provide habitat to fascinating wildlife. From a respectful distance, our guide will endeavour to help you spot bird species such as corncrakes and golden eagles, as well as dolphins and whales.
Our trips focus on enjoying the landscapes through human power, so by walking, biking or paddling through them. We minimise motorised transports as much as possible.
This walking vacation to the islands of Uist, Barra and Mingulay starts and finishes at a mainline train station to encourage the use of public transport. Hiking is the main activity of the day so you’ll be walking 5-13 kilometres a day so that you can fully immerse yourself in the beautiful landscapes of this far-flung archipelago.
Accommodation & Meals
We’ve handpicked the accommodation that you will be staying at during this trip - we work with B&Bs, Highland inns, guest houses and small hotels that are run locally and are guaranteed to provide a Highland welcome. We take the accommodation provider’s Green Tourism credentials into account during our selection process and encourage where possible for our partners to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Scotland is known for its fantastic natural larder so we try to source all food and drink provided on the trip as much as possible locally, and endeavour to take our clients to establishments that celebrate seasonal Scottish produce, meat and dairy. The Outer Hebrides are known in particular for their fantastic seafood.
In the Office
It's not just on trips that we promote sustainable processes! We operate our vacations out of a carbon-neutral headquarters which is powered by renewable energy. We reduce, reuse and recycle, using environmentally friendly products from local suppliers where possible. In addition, our office car park hosts two public EV charging stations, and we subsidise staff usage. We encourage car-sharing and compete monthly for the most environmentally friendly commute!
In preparation for our trips, we strongly encourage our travelers to bring a reusable water bottle and lunchbox on their vacation to discourage the use of single-use plastics.
Lastly, we are committed to contributing annually to a nature-based charity that promotes conservation in Scotland.
Although our office staff isn’t 100% Scottish, all members of our team live and work in the Scottish Highlands. Because of this, our passionate personnel are able to give expert insider advice on their own favourite playground and ensure the best experience for our visitors.
We ensure a warm welcome from the locals wherever we go as we’ve always strived to work together with the local community and businesses, ensuring that the economic benefits are shared. We seek out locally owned and family-run hotels and restaurants over chain businesses. Packed lunches and snacks are sourced locally, either directly from the accommodation providers or from small cafes and delis.
On each trip, we endeavour to introduce our visitors to local and unique experiences. Depending on the weather, time and group preferences you’ll have the chance to visit a Bronze Age roundhouse and an Iron age fort. On the second to last day you’ll embark on a locally operated boat tour, having the opportunity to explore rarely visited islands and see minke whales.
Some of the areas we visit suffer from over-tourism and we do what we can to manage this consequence. The crowding caused by over-tourism not only negatively impacts the natural environment but also the quality of life of the communities who live and work in the beautiful destinations that we visit. To mediate this we take our clients to the lesser-known spots in any given area, extend our tour departures into the less busy shoulder months to spread the flow of visitors and when we do visit ‘hotspots’ we aim to go outside of peak hours.
We deliberately keep our groups small for several reasons. Having smaller groups mean less disturbance to the environment and the local community. It also means that we can stay at smaller accommodation providers who are not eligible to benefit from mass tourism providers and have a better guide to traveler ratio.
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