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Perthshire Winter Escape

5 Days & 4 Nights
  • Discover Perthshire in winter; from crisp mornings to cosy evenings by the fire-side
  • Visit Blair Castle and stroll it’s sprawling forested grounds in the Atholl Estate
  • Choose from a variety of hand-picked walks that are wonderful year-round
  • Explore the charming Perthshire town of Pitlochry, and indulge in afternoon tea
  • Savour a dram in Blair Atholl Distillery or picturesque Edradour
Escape to Perthshire on a twin centre self-guided walking holiday, and discover the tranquility of forest trails and low level valley hikes in the autumn and winter. By day explore this charming corner of the Highlands as the leaves turn to fire and fall from the trees, and in the evening cosy up by the fire as you dwell on castles, turbulent history and spectacular scenery. Spend two nights in Blair Atholl, the quintessential Perthshire village, with its romantic castle. Wander the forested grounds of Atholl Estates and venture out onto the beautifully desolate moors. Follow wooded river banks south to Pitlochry complete with a distillery and bustling main street, and easy access to the surrounding countryside. If you're lucky you'll wake to crisp mornings with twinkling frost adorning the landscape, but if not we have selected the best walks for year-round enjoyment!
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What To Expect

Welcoming traditional country hotels, Highland history, romantic castles and a choice of great walks! Ideal for first-time walkers, the trip is graded easy to moderate, but can be made easier by choosing the shorter walking options each day. Also great for avoiding any poorer weather days. Enjoy low level forest and valley walks on a mix of way-marked and non way-marked paths, tracks, and short sections of quiet country roads.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Multi Centre Walking | You will spend multiple nights in one or more of the locations on this walking holiday

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities, Groups > 10, First Timers

As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveller this holiday would be suitable for is: 10 Years

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Wine, Whisky & More...
  • Wildlife

Inspiration:

  • New

Grade & Terrain

Ideal for first-time walkers, the trip is graded easy to moderate, but can be made easier by choosing the shorter walking options each day. Also great for avoiding any poorer weather days. Enjoy low level forest and valley walks on a mix of way-marked and non way-marked paths, tracks, and short sections of quiet country roads. These hand-picked walks allow you to get out and explore the wonderful Highland landscape safely at any time of the year without special equipment like ice axes and crampons, which would be required if undertaking winter walking on the mountains.

Navigation

Navigation is easy using the GPS tracks and route notes provided within our Macs Adventure app. The app is free to use and works offline on airplane mode.

Accommodation Information

One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. You will stay in carefully selected 3* small hotels. Your room will always have an ensuite or private bathroom. A delicious breakfast is also included. You can also choose to upgrade your accommodation for a supplement, please see accommodation upgrade details below. 

Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we will always try and accommodate you subject to availability. A single supplement is payable.

Upgraded Accommodation

Treat yourself with upgraded accommodations. In Blair Atholl, upgrade your room type at the traditional 3* Atholl Arms to a superior, or 4-poster room depending on availability. In Pitlochry upgrade to the 4* Knockendarroch House Hotel. Please note that on weekends in the winter all bookings are on a dinner, B&B basis. Please speak to your destination specialist for more information on upgrades and for a custom option cost for your booking.

Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Dinners are included on both nights in Blair Atholl. Lunch and two dinners are not included. Dinner in Pitlochry is available either at your accommodation or at nearby pubs or restaurants.

Included
  • 4 Nights in hand-picked 3* hotels
  • Breakfast at each accommodation
  • Two evening meals in Blair Atholl
  • Baggage transfer between Blair Atholl and Pitlochry on day 3
  • Access to maps, GPX tracks and daily route information with the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app
  • All your trip documents provided digitally through your online Macs “My Account”
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our UK office
Excluded
  • Travel to Blair Atholl / from Pitlochry
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
  • Lunches, 2 dinners, snacks & drinks
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance (required)
Extras
  • Additional nights along the route
  • Upgrade accommodation to a superior room in Blair Atholl and a 4* hotel in Pitlochry

When To Go

This trip is available from November to March over the winter, excluding the Christmas period from 16th December 2020 to the 5th January 2021.

Weather and Climate

The weather in Scotland can be incredibly variable at any time of the year. From one day to the next you could wake to a milder wet day, or a crisp sunny morning with glistening frost carpeting the landscape.

Average temperatures from October to March are from 3-8 degrees celcius, but can dip to freezing. Average precipitation varies from 14-18 mm, with January tending to be the wettest and February being the driest on average.

Getting to the Start

Blair Atholl village has good public transport connections and is served by Scotrail trains and Citylink bus services from Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness. It's just 2 hours on the train to Edinburgh in the south. By car the journey from Edinburgh takes 1.5 hours and is well signed from the A9. 

Getting from the End

Pitlochry is under 2 hours by rail away from Edinburgh. If extending your stay in Scotland why not head north to Inverness, just 1hr 40 minutes away on the train? If you arrived in Blair Atholl by car it's just a 10 minute journey north on the train from Pitlochry back to Blair Atholl to retrieve your car.

Baggage Transfer

Baggage transfer from Blair Atholl to Pitlochry is included in the cost of your holiday. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20 kg per person.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes.

This self-guided walking holiday is designed to allow you to get out and make the most of Scotland's wonderful landscapes in the quieter winter season (Nov-Mar). With easy-going optional walks, options to skip point-to-point walking days (with public transport or short taxi rides) this is the perfect introduction to walking in the colder months when the weather can be very variable.

Scotland enjoys a temperate climate for the majority of the year, meaning the weather in winter can be very variable; from mild rainy days to clearer, cold snaps where the temperature can drop to below freezing. Low-lying deep valley snow is rarely an issue as the ground temperatures tend not to be low enough to allow snow to lie for any length of time. However, it can happen sometimes and combined with bright blue skies and chilly air it transforms the landscape into a beautiful wintry wonderland. This will add an extra element to your trip - make sure you are comfortable walking on snowy terrain, have the proper warm gear, and bear in mind that walking in snow can take longer before heading out for the day.

As we can't predict the weather it's up to you to check the weather forecast for your trip and decide which walks you are comfortable doing in the weather conditions. Most routes are on low level valley paths and are doable in all conditions. On this trip we do not recommend the Ben Vrackie Loop Walk (reaching up to 571m altitude) in snowy conditions as specialist equipment such as an ice axe and crampons would be required. Likewise, in poor visibility or high winds this route should not be attempted. If in doubt do not hesitate to ask your accommodation provider for their opinion, or call the office to speak to a specialist.

Enough about the weather though, travellers don't come from across the world to Scotland for the weather! They come to experience its outstanding hospitality, to lose themselves in its wild and stunning landscapes, and to learn about the history and culture of this small but vibrant nation.

Equipment

No specialist equipment such as ice axes or crampons is required on this trip as all walks are low level and don't involve any mountain walking. However, if the weather forecast for your trip is very cold with snow and temperatures below freezing we recommend bringing a pair of strap on ice grippers like YakTrax to give a little extra grip on pavements or any icey patches if you decide to go ahead with the walks. Walking poles are also great for extra balance in snowy/slippery terrain.

You'll also need a waterproof jacket and trousers, a warm insulated jacket (either down or synthetic), with wicking baselayers and a fleece top to wear underneath as well. Warm walking socks along with a hat, neck warmer (e.g. a "Buff"), and warm gloves/mitts will also be required. A small daypack less than 25 litres should be more than ample for your daily walks. You can wear either walking boots or walking shoes, according to your prefernce, as long as they have a good tread for grip. You may also wish to bring gaiters in the unlikely event of encountering deeper snow in the valleys.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance that covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Blair Atholl and overnight Day 2 Optional visit to Blair Castle grounds and a choice of walks 9 miles / 15 km Day 3 Walk to Pitlochry 8.5 miles / 14 km Day 4 Choice of walks around Pitlochry 6 miles / 9.5 km Day 5 Onward Travel

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