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This week-long ride will take you to an exploration of the stunning landscape of the most south-westerly point of Scotland, Kintyre. It is the ancient home of the Kings of Dalriada and the area is steeped in Scottish history from standing stones that predate Stonehenge to the Campbeltown Picture House, the smallest and oldest cinema in Scotland. The landscape you’ll be riding across is hilly, with wide open beaches, rocky crags and magical views out to Ireland and the Isle of Islay.
Wilder Ways has given the 150-year-old Glen Kerran farmhouse a makeover so you can stay with your instructors during your holiday. Spend your downtime hosted in this traditional and quaint Scottish farmhouse. Enjoy homely creature comforts and be both relaxed and inspired by the stunning views from the dining room with Wilder Ways' menagerie just outside the window; horses, sheep, cats, dogs, pigs, and chickens are never far away; and the local wildlife making regular appearances.
The bedrooms are all country-styled. The largest double room (also available as a family room) is en-suite, with the other three rooms being available as doubles or twins with bathrooms located next door to them. Their COVID-19 policy ensures that parties will never have to share a bathroom.
You will arrive at Glen Kerran Farm to meet Cara, Nikki and the herd, settle into your room, and have a quick tour of the stables, before sitting down to a delicious meal with the rest of the group. After dinner, the group will run through the itinerary and talk through general housekeeping so that you can get going in the morning.
After a relaxing breakfast, you will be introduced to your steed and head off out on the trail, riding out of the farm. This day is designed to let you get to know your horse over different terrain and paces as you ride through the forests and rivers of your ‘back yard’. From there, you will head to the northwest towards the hills where the horses will stay the night at a local farm.
This is the day for steep climbs, navigation skills, and big views. A whole day spent in the hills to test the bond between you and your steed over wide-open landscapes. You will learn how to navigate by the plants under hooves and will picnic by hill lochs. A demanding day for horse and rider but within the kind of natural space that just makes your heart sing. You will end this day with the horses staying out near the coast.
Today is your ‘sea salt spa’ or at least the wind in your face and the sand in your hair. You spend an entire day on the beach with stunning views out to the Inner Hebrides. You will ride beautiful beaches, play on the sand dunes and enjoy the surf and a bit of speed. If the weather and tides allow, you will even enjoy a wee swim with the horses. Again, the horses stay out on the trail this night.
You can spend today putting your feet up at the farm or exploring the local area. Kintyre is the ancient seat of the Scottish Kings and the hills around you are steeped in history, from standing stones and cairns to the eccentric painting of Jesus that appeared one day in the cave south of Campbeltown over 100 years ago. You can do a tour of one of the Campbeltown distilleries, Springbank, Glengyle, or try the brand-new Glen Scotia malt. Alternatively, take a boat trip from Campbeltown or hire a bike to see the area from a different kind of saddle.
Feeling refreshed, you kick off with another big day through the hills and along the sea cliffs where you will enjoy epic sparkling views over the Atlantic. You ride through a nature reserve and will be spotting wildlife and sea birds along the way. This day will see you bring the herd back home to their own field for the night.
The last ride is closer to home and is the ‘warm and fuzzy’ day to play with your horse. You start the morning with some natural horsemanship games and then head out to ride the farm's own ground and a neighboring farm, playing in the rivers and enjoying a good gallop to finish.
After the last breakfast altogether, you will say goodbye to your beloved steed (and the Wilder Ways team) and head home. They hope to see you again next year!
Cara is a rural surveyor by trade but her true love has always been horses. Through Wilder Ways, she is lucky enough to live her joy and hopefully helps others to live theirs. She started riding at the age of 6 and she's been hooked ever since. She loves learning about her horse and their partnership and has been really fortunate to have had some great learning experiences over the years; starting off with Pearl Cranna, her riding instructor, lifelong friend, and mentor to more recently training with the natural horse-master, Peter Campbell in Canada.
Nikki has lived in the West of Scotland for over 20 years and worked as a freelance botanist, traveling and walking in many of the most remote and beautiful parts of the country. Riding had always been a big part of her life and so she walked with potential 'horse adventures' in her mind. She was lucky enough to be able to come back to riding about 10 years ago and to use this knowledge of Scotland's hidden landscapes alongside her horse obsession. She has also been able to develop her own abilities through learning some of the techniques of natural horsemanship.
Glen Kerran farm is just north of Southend in the Mull of Kintyre. This is now Wilder Ways' new home base and the herd. This area is thick with history and surrounded by stunning beaches, grassy farms, and craggy sea cliffs, with beautiful views across to the Isles of Islay, Jura, Gigha, Ailsa Craig, and even Ireland.
Wilder Ways loves food and is passionate about environmental sustainability and self-sufficiency. Therefore, they aim to source all ingredients responsibly and as far as possible locally. Fresh produce comes straight from their farm and other local producers within Kintyre. Most of ‘dry stores’ come from Greencity, a Glasgow-based company trading in ethically sourced quality produce and championing cooperative working.
You will be treated to some local gastronomic delights and wholesome home cooking during your stay, with the best twists of Scottish cuisine and hospitality. And you can do all of this guilt-free, knowing your food has low mileage, your meat is free-range and pre-loved, and you can even help pick your own veg and collect the eggs!
Please let them know dietary requirements (for example vegetarian or vegan meals) in advance and they will be sure to cater to them.
Kintyre is laden with natural wonders and historical relics. Its remoteness is also a driver for high levels of entrepreneurship. These factors combined give rise to loads of interesting features and businesses to explore. So whilst you are there on your Wilder Ways adventure, be sure to check out some of the other hidden treasures in this area.
If you are looking to extend your stay to explore Kintyre, check out its neighbor, Lephenstrath Holiday Cottages. They offer self-catered holiday accommodation and are just on the next-door farm. There is also Brecklate Bed and Breakfast, just at the end of the farm drive for a catered option.
There are many activities to enjoy in the area, from gin making to an indoor shooting range, the iconic Machrihanish golf course, and even surfing.
Transfer not provided
Campbeltown Airport / RAF Machrihanish
An alternative for drivers is to take the car-ferry from Ardrossan to Campbeltown. This runs three times a week during the summer and you would need to book in advance.
There is a regular bus service from Glasgow Bus Station (Buchanan St) to Campbeltown – service 926. Buchanan bus station is easily accessible from all mainline Glasgow train stations. Buses leave every 2/3 hours and take 4 hours and 10 minutes.
One bus a day picks up from the airport at 2:20 p.m .and runs directly to Campbeltown. Otherwise, you can get the Glasgow Airport Express bus-service 500 into Glasgow and pick up the regular 926 to Campbeltown from there. The airport express leaves every 10 minutes and takes about 15 minutes into Glasgow.
The daily 8:30 a.m. bus from Campbeltown drops off at Glasgow airport at 12:25 p.m. With any other departure, you would need to go into Glasgow and get the airport shuttle 500 service back to the airport.
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