Posts tagged with "star gazing"

Stay in Your Own Private Castle with Wilderness Scotland

The Emerald Isle and Scottish Highlands are brimming with iconic landmarks (a.k.a tourist traps). But what about those who want more than a pint of Guinness or a bite of haggis? Wilderness  Scotland  (Europe’s No. 1 Rated Adventure Travel Company) and sister company  Wilderness  Ireland  offer Tailor Made trips designed by locals and delivered by local legends—making them a great way to discover the essence of a place in a way that few visitors have access to. 

From enjoying a moonlight paddle in Yeats Country—home to unparalleled star gazing—to uncovering the secrets of the Loch Ness Monster to rappelling off sea stacks, Wilderness’ Tailor Made adventures unearth the true character of the destination. 

Forget everything you thought you knew about Ireland and Scotland with these one-of-a-kind experiences: 

Go Glamping in Yeats Country  

On a camping expedition in Sligo, Ireland, hike the breathtaking lakes, mountains, beaches and waterfalls that once inspired many of the great works of the Nobel Prize winning writer, W. B. Yeats. As the sun sets, hop in a kayak for a nighttime paddle on the “Lake Isle of Inisfree” to a private island. Leap onto the sand where a forested paradise awaits, along with a night of glamping in one of the world’s premier stargazing destinations. But first, enjoy wood-fired pizzas al fresco, while a local expert shares in the tales and legends of the area.  

Dates & prices available upon request.

Hunt for Nessie with a Career Monster Tracker 

While Scotland is known for its legends and fables, none are quite as famous as the Loch Ness Monster. While considered by some as folklore, the storied creature has been likened by scientists to a plesiosaur that dates back to the end of the last ice age. To unearth the history of the mystical creature, meet Adrian Shine, a naturalist and researcher, for a private boat ride as he shares his insider knowledge after years of studying Nessie. You’ll fly across the waters of Loch Ness, one of the largest and deepest expanses of water in the UK, as you search for this elusive creature.  

Dates & prices available upon request.

Spend the Night in Your Own Private Castle 

Nestled in the countryside on 500-acres lies a palace straight out of a fairytale—Aldourie Castle—and it’s easily bookable for a private rental for you and your closest 20 friends with Wilderness Scotland. This rare experience is set on the shores of Loch Ness, where well-tended courtyards, 16th-century gardens and horseback riding can be found as you stroll vast woodland grounds. For a closer look at the garden’s soaring pergolas, meet with your private guide for a tour, while keeping eyes peeled for deer, sea eagles and even basking sharks—the world’s second-largest fish. Stop for a tour at a world-famous malt whisky distillery to sip the Scottish ‘Water of Life,’ or hop in a sea kayak to observe the ruins of nearby Urquhart Castle from the water.  

Dates & prices available upon request.

Cast a Line with an Expert Ghillie 

Grab your waders and wellies for an unforgettable fishing experience with one of Scotland’s most knowledgeable fishing expeditioners. Take to the Highlands to uncover the locals’ best-kept fishing spots along the River Tay in Perthshire. Here, anglers can find the country’s most iconic species—Atlantic salmon—along with pike, rainbow trout and pollock. Cheers to the catch of the day with a glass of distilled whisky on the riverbank.  

Dates & prices available upon request.

Forage for Juniper to Make Your Own Gin

While whisky may be the official drink of Ireland, gin is also a popular local tipple. In Ireland’s Ancient East, you can learn the complicated science behind every bottle of Irish-made gin. Head into the forest with a naturalist guide to forage for fresh ingredients, such as juniper and other herbs. Then, head to an exclusive gin school to distill a bottle with your own herbs—making for a memorable souvenir.  

Dates & prices available upon request. 

Climb a Sea Stack High Above the Atlantic  

Head to what Ireland’s Donegal County calls “the most climbable rocks in Ireland” to unearth a secret spot where you’ll be suspended above the Atlantic waves for an adrenaline-fueled climb. But first, visit one of the area’s most remote spots to meet the local Gaelic-speaking characters who call the area home. They’ll guide you through the history of the separation between Northern and Southern Ireland, the basic knowledge of the Gaelic language and their local traditions. Then, you’ll be whisked away to a tiny island, where you’ll climb to the top of a sea stack, then rappel down the steep cliffside high above ocean waves. 

Dates & prices available upon request.

Women Seize the Oars

Women’s empowerment has seized the rafting industry. A leading river company is seeing a sizable uptick in the number of women now part of its crew of raft guides and staff. And they are recording an increasing number of female guests on rafting and mountain biking trips, scheduled and chartered.

Holiday River Expeditions (http://www.bikeraft.com/) reports that through the 2018 season, 40 percent of their guide staff were women. That’s the highest representation ever in its 50+ year history. It is looking like this coming year will be no different.

“Most of these women are returning for 2019. And we now have more applications for guide and crew positions coming in from women than from men these days,” said Karen Johnson, Holiday’s long-time office manager and spokeswoman. A growing number of women also serve in the office and warehouse as drivers and company managers. Susan Munroe, a long-time Holiday employee, leads an in-house guide/crew training program. Natalie Osborn has recently come onboard as the Social Media Director. Lauren Wood, a third-generation guide and founder Dee Holladay’s grandchild, is the company’s Trip Director and identifies as non-binary, adding further gender diversity to Holiday’s eclectic staff.

Female guides aren’t new to Holiday River Expeditions but they are becoming more of a force and influence. “Early on the rafting industry, much like every other outdoor industry in the 60’s and 70’s, was male dominated. Our founder Dee Holladay, always recognized the arbitrary nature of gender divisions and truly appreciated the added and necessary perspectives of women on the river,” added Johnson. “He used to say that women made better guides because they knew how to read the water better and not simply muscle their way through obstacles and rapids.”

Creative marketing at a time when the market is also expanding has led to an increase in the number of female guests. For example, a series of Balance & Flow Yoga and Wellness Trips draws increasingly more solo female travelers. Reunions of friends and just-for-the-fun-of-it groups of colleagues sign up for these itineraries, as do mothers and daughters.

“It’s not unusual to have an entire female staff on any of our trips these days. I hear it all the time that Mom was so glad for her daughter to witness a strong and capable female rowing their boat or leading their trip. It’s the perfect role model,” said Johnson.

New this year from April/May through September/October are custom, small group women-only rafting and biking itineraries in Utah and Colorado. These trips can be tailored to group desires, from the area, length, menu options and guides; all female or a mix. Here is a list of the most popular chartered trips. For details see: https://www.bikeraft.com/womens-river-rafting-trips/.

  • Gates of Lodore Canyon Rafting Trip: With 10 or more women (ages 18 and up), the per person rate is $885 for four days on the Green River in the heart of Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
  • 3 Day Westwater Canyon: This program is offered three times weekly and can be chartered for groups of 15 to 20. Thrilling Class IV whitewater on the Colorado River through Westwater Canyon (a miniature Grand Canyon) in eastern Utah provides excitement and beauty to spare. The per person rate is $610 for groups of 10 or more.
  • 3-4 Day White Rim Trail is a multi-day, technically challenging mountain biking and star gazing exploration of the wilderness around and sky overhead Moab, UT. The per person rate is from $745 to $830 for groups of eight or more. This program is offered in April and May and again in September and October.
  • 4-5 Day Yampa River through Dinosaur National Monument is offered in May and June when the river runs full and the wildflowers bloom. The per person rate is $885 to $965 with a group of 10 or more.
  • 5-6 Day Cataract Canyon in the heart of Canyonlands National Park is the company’s signature adventure that can be chartered for a minimum of 15 (24 maximum). The per person rate is $1,040 to $1,105 for 10 or more. Nowhere on its entire course does the Colorado River descend more precipitously than through Cataract Canyon, offering white water rafting at its best.  

Following are Holiday River Expeditions’ signature Balance and Flow Yoga Wellness Trips that speak to a female audience. Trips center around immersion in nature and the guidance of specialists versed in healing practices. The adventure and relaxation intrinsic to river trips are augmented by honing in on spiritual and physical healing through natural energy, movement and nutrition. For details see https://www.bikeraft.com/balance-flow-trips/ 

  • White Rim Mt. Bike & Yoga: Katie Woods, a yoga specialist, guides this May 11-14, 2019, four-day mountain bike tour in Canyonlands National Park. 
  • Wild Yoga on the Green River: This six-day Green River rafting adventure through Desolation Canyon is June 3-8, 2019. With the group will be Rebecca Wildbear, a river and soul guide.
  • Women’s River & Yoga Trip: A four-day rafting trip on the Green River through Lodore Canyon July 11-14, 2019 comes with twice-daily yoga sessions.
  • Women’s Multi-Sport Adventure: Women raft, kayak, hike and practice yoga for four days this Aug. 24-27, 2019 in and around the Colorado River on Ruby and Westwater Canyons.
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding & Yoga: For four days this Sept. 5-8, 2019, yoga, fitness and stand-up paddleboarding join forces while rafting the Colorado River through Ruby and Westwater canyons. Led by Katie Woods and the guides at Holiday River Expeditions. 

For more information, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2019 catalog please call 800-624-6323, Email: Holiday@BikeRaft.com or log onto: http://www.bikeraft.com/

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Blog: http://www.bikeraft.com/blog/