Orkney winter walking vacation
Description of Orkney winter walking vacation
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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 winter trip to Orkney, you’ll visit some stunning natural sites like the Old Man of Hoy, the Gloup and Yesnaby Castle. Your guide will tell you all about how these places were formed, what they mean to the local community and how they’re being preserved.
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 Orcadian winter vacation 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 5-10 kilometres a day so that you can fully immerse yourself in the beautiful winter landscapes of this little-visited archipelago.
Accommodation & Meals
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. During your winter vacation on the Orkney Islands, you’ll be staying at a small hotel, close to Scapa Flow and, somewhat temptingly, next to the Highland Park distillery.
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. On this trip, we’ll be sure to enjoy a dram of Highland Park on a distillery tour.
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. The Orkney Islands are scattered with remnants of a long and turbulent past and on this trip, we visit the big names like Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, Highland Park Distillery and the Italian Chapel as well as some lesser-known sites like St Magnus Cathedral.
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. On this departure the maximum group size is 8 people.
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