A very special ‘hot tent’ experience with Highland ponies is being introduced in Scotland’s Cairngorms by mountain experts, Scot Mountain Holidays.
The 4-night, 4-day wild camping trip brings a hike through remote landscapes, together with the comfort of a ‘hot’ Nordic tipi warmed by a wood burner at night.
Led by owner and mountain leader, Andrew Bateman, and his partner Rebecca who creates homemade feasts with homegrown and locally sourced ingredients, this is a truly immersive and engaging off-grid experience within a conservation area abundant with plants and wildlife.
“This is all the joy of wild camping without the hassle,” says Andrew. “In our fast-paced lives, there are few things better for the soul than spending days in the mountains surrounded by nature and far away from any light or noise pollution. Some people are put off wild camping by the thought of wet boots or carrying kit, but with some simple comforts we turn what can be endurance into enjoyment, and we love sharing the magic of this beautiful corner of Scotland and creating special memories for guests of all ages and hiking experience.”
A central Nordic tipi is heated by a wood burning stove where meals are cooked and enjoyed, clothes dried and limbs fully warmed whatever the weather outside. The sleeping tents are equipped with deep insulated camp mattresses, a top sheet and a luxuriously cosy down duvet to rival beds at home for ultimate comfort, and warm camp showers are available.
The two Highland ponies, Foxglove and Goldie, adopt their traditional role as pack horses to carry the tents, camp beds, food and wood fuel, while guests carry little more than a day sack with their essentials and a change of clothing. The camping experience is hands-on, with tents assembled and dismantled by guests, following a full induction on the first afternoon. The hearty meals are freshly prepared from home grown vegetables and locally sourced meat. Cake o’clock is an important ritual every day, as is stories around the fire and baking fresh bread in the outdoors.
Environmentally sustainable tourism and local culture are central to Scot Mountain’s itineraries, and the emphasis of every trip is on appreciating the landscapes and being in the outdoors. The days are spent exploring different routes and peaks in the rugged Cairngorm mountain range in Scotland’s north-east, underpinned by Andrew’s extensive knowledge of geology, wildlife and nature, and the importance of its preservation and restoration.
Groups never exceed eight people, and the itinerary is tailored to the ability of the group and the level of adventure they want. Suitable for all ages, including young families to veteran hikers, the journey with the ponies passes through spectacular Caledonian pine forests dripping in lichen, where time seems to have stood still, stunning lochs and fields with views to some of Scotland highest peaks. Wildlife includes golden eagles, wildcats, pine martens and the rare capercaillie.
As part of a world-leading conservation area, guests will see some of the same types of plants, animals and fungi that chased the glaciers back 11,000 years ago.
With their distinctly unique hospitality, Andrew and Rebecca share their home, community and the Highlands of Scotland with guests, and their actions – from carrying in firewood to leave the deadwood to help maintain woodland biodiversity to the ponies treading the ground to encourage forest regeneration – actively support the protection of the flora and fauna of the Scottish Highlands.
The first and last nights of the Highland Glamping Wilderness Adventure are spent in Fraoch Lodge, the Bateman’s home in Boat of Garten, with two nights’ camping at a secluded woodland location in the hills.
Australian guest, Robert Cahill, says that his three trips have been a truly authentic, memorable introduction to the more adventurous side of Scotland:
“Being out in stunning, untouched corners of Scotland where you feel you have the place to yourselves is such a great change from our normal daily routine and creates fantastic memories. I love the contrast of light and scenery which is different to what we have here in Australia. It is professionally run, every detail considered so you have a safe and fun time in the hills. Andy and Rebecca are a great team looking after us on the mountain and at the lodge and it is all done without fuss because they know what they are doing and do it well. The number of guests who return for more is testament to how brilliant and special these trips are.”
This hot tent wild camping and guided hiking adventure is built on many years of guiding, mountain skills and hosting camping expeditions run by Andrew and Rebecca. Other trips include walking holidays, mountain skills training and self-guided bike itineraries.
See full itinerary and inclusions here.