Posts tagged with "Wilderness Scotland"

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 Dominating the World of Travel

Badass Women Who Are Dominating the World of Adventure Travel

In honor of International Women’s Day, Friday March 8, 2019, these inspiring travel professionals are working to make outdoor travel a more balanced place for women around the world.

This Mar. 8, 2019 is International Women’s Day (IWD), and the theme is #BalanceforBetter, focusing on how a more gender-balanced world will create a better working environment for everyone. It couldn’t come at a better time; in the outdoor travel industry, women have been historically under-represented – particularly in leadership positions. According to The Adventure Travel Trade Association’s report “Out in Front: Tracking Women’s Leadership in Adventure Travel,” while women make up 60-70% of the travel industry, only 38% of board positions are held by females in the adventure sector, and there are significantly fewer female guides on average, especially in developing destinations.

However, women are beginning to break down the barriers of this male-dominated sector, and along with “The Rise of the Female Adventurer” and women’s-only travel providers comes a marked increase in women taking on more leadership roles, and challenging the status quo.  

Here are just a handful of driven, fearless women from around the world who are working every day to make their mark in adventure travel:

Payal Mehta

Expedition Leader – India, Nepal & Bhutan

Natural Habitat Adventures

Payal Mehta may have spent her childhood in urban Mumbai, but her lifelong love for the outdoors has led her to become a Nat Hab Expedition Leader, guiding travelers throughout the remote and wild areas of India, Nepal and Bhutan. Once a member of an elite training program for India safari guides, Payal started leading tours in India’s Kanha National Park, and is now a multi-disciplined wilderness specialist and trained mountaineer. As a Nat Hab guide, Payal interprets the nature and local culture she and her groups explore together, as well as being a translator, teacher and storyteller – all while ensuring the trip runs smoothly.

Badass Claim to Fame: “I was part of an all-women mountaineering expedition up the 6420-metre-high Mt. White Sail in the Himalayas. We ended up in a serious rescue situation on our way back when our guide suffered high altitude pulmonary edema. But we all made it back alive!”

Future Goals: “I’d love to have my own wildlife tourism project near a forest. One that is much more than a commercial outfit, that truly involves everyone in the local community, is a center for learning and is run with high standards of environmental consciousness.”

What IWD Means to Payal: “It’s saluting and celebrating all the women of the past who fought for women’s place in society, and because of whom I get to enjoy my life as it is today. It also brings a hope that the message will continue to spread and there will be further change in attitudes in the future.”

Maritza Chacacanta

Deputy Operations Manager – Treks, Inca Trail

Exodus Travels

Maritza Chacanta is a proud single mother and a former Inca Trail Guide who has worked her way up to become the Deputy Operations Manager for Exodus Travels. When Maritza was first told how challenging it was to become an Exodus guide (applicants have to take special training courses and be among the best guides in order to be hired), she became determined to secure the coveted role. After years of hard work and dedication, Maritza made good on her promise to herself – and is now not only leading Exodus Travels’ signature Inca treks, but managing the operations from start to finish while collaborating with porters, horse wranglers, and guides.

Badass Claim to Fame: “Being a single mom is one of the things I’m proudest of. Nowadays, women do not need a man to push ahead. To the single mothers out there: it’s important to know that you are not alone. You can have a successful career while being a successful mom.”

Future Goals: “To develop some projects related to the environment (reforestation, clean campaigns, etc.), and train our staff on how important it is to take care the environment – not only to benefit our treks, but to share the results with our communities.”

What IWD Means to Maritza: “It means rights and gender equality. [It’s the ability to] make your decisions – and be free from violence and discrimination.” 

Alice Goodridge

Adventure Coordinator – Scotland

Wilderness Scotland

Alice Goodridge keeps a sledgehammer in her car during the winter, so she can go swimming anytime, anywhere – no matter how frozen the lochs may be. That’s because as an extreme cold water swimmer, she isn’t afraid of a little physical discomfort – which is part of what made her want to become an Adventure Coordinator for Wilderness Scotland.

The company runs the type of trips Alice always wanted to experience herself, which means she now combines her love of the great outdoors with her expertise in organizing sustainability and adventure holidays.

Badass Claim to Fame: “My long distance and cold-water swims. I swam the 21-mile English Channel in 2012 and the length of the 22-mile Loch Lomond in 2018, which took place overnight from 6 p.m. – 8 a.m. the next morning. I also completed an Ice Mile last year, which was a mile in water less than 5 C° without a wetsuit.”

Future Goals: “I want to challenge myself in a discipline I am not so familiar with. I am currently working through my sea kayaking qualifications, with the hope of becoming a sea kayak guide in the future. Paddling or swimming… any excuse to spend more time on/in the water! “

What IWD Means to Alice: “There is still a lot of inequality in the outdoor activity sector and International Women’s Day mean taking a closer look and seeing what can be done about it. UK society is 51% female. Yet we know that there are less women and girls participating in the types of outdoor activities likely to lead to the interest, skill and motivation to pursue a career in this area. I would like to see greater equality in the outdoor activity sector and a higher percentage of female guides leading walking, biking and paddling trips in the UK.”

Laura Adams

Explorer, Consultant & Artist – BC, Canada

Adventure Canada

Laura Adams, an Adventure Canada expedition guide, is also a professional member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and the Canadian Avalanche Association and was the fifth woman in Canada to become a fully certified winter Ski Guide. She also has a Masters degree in Leadership, with her research focused on decision making and risk management in mountain environments. In her spare time, Laura mentors people who aspire to a career in the professional mountain guiding industry, and coaches women in building leadership and backcountry skills.

Badass Claim to Fame: “In January 2019 I lead a small group expedition to Northern China; close to the borders of Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia to experience the ancient Tuvan mountain culture, and to ski-tour amongst the ‘Golden’ mountains of the region. We went during a time when China/Canada relations were tense, which added a great deal to the risk of traveling to this little-known part of the world. We all embraced the challenges with faith and endurance, and were rewarded with a remarkable experience of awe, cooperation, trust, and unity.”   

Future Goals: I am now focusing my career to increasing awareness, stewardship and leadership of these special places and cultures; through expeditions, my art and speaking/presentations.

What IWD Means to Laura: “International Women’s Day calls on us to give thanks and appreciation for the women in our lives and communities who live life with courage, integrity, and grace, who don’t just accept the way things are, and who make a genuine difference in the lives of themselves and others. It’s a day to inspire and cultivate qualities in emerging women around us who have big dreams and can make their ideas real.”

About Bannikin Travel & Tourism

Bannikin is a Toronto and Hong Kong-based travel and tourism consultancy dedicated to enhancing the businesses of niche-focused tour operators, destinations and lodging providers worldwide. Bannikin was built on a great respect for travel-minded visionaries who provide the utmost experiences in the wildest parts of the planet. With a combined 50+ years of experience, Bannikin knows what needs to come together to turn a travel company into the travel company, and a place into a destination.

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