Wilderness Adventures, Land Rover Defenders and Open Fire Feasts
Launching next Spring (2021), WILDNIS is a brand-new tour operator offering luxury guided expeditions in the Scottish Highlands. Founded by ex-British Army Majors, WILDNIS combines guided outdoor activities, from packrafting to scrambling, with a unique mobile tented basecamp experience. Each night guests are treated to open-fire feasts from a Michelin-standard chef and stories are shared by the campfire with a dram of single malt. Perfect for the time-scarce customer, the small new group trips traverse the Highlands in restored Land Rover Defenders, weaving together the activities.
Due to the repercussions of the Covid pandemic, never has the appeal of a staycation been greater. WILDNIS shows that there is no need to go overseas to have a true expedition experience. Drawing upon their military experience and their personal passions, from running Royal Marine Commando training to leading the British Army’s wildlife protection programme in Africa, the WILDNIS team have all the skills to craft tailor-made adventures alongside their pioneering small group tours. The team have committed to offsetting their carbon footprint by signing up to Offset Earth and have partnered with low impact brands such as Nouri and Prodigy Snacks to ensure their guests learn to love and respect the wilderness.
The Scottish Highland tour is the first expedition launch in the WILDNIS portfolio, which will also include guided trips to Norfolk and the Peak District, bringing in adventures across sand and sea. All will be anchored by the signature WILDNIS luxury basecamp and open fire feasts. Commenting, co-founder Alex Gay says “WILDNIS takes the time, stress and uncertainty out of planning your adventures. We want to change the perception of living outdoors, and show you that adventure and isolation doesn’t have to mean discomfort. For some, the idea of living outside for 4 days is pretty daunting, but our expert team of guides and chefs will make your adventure into the wild an unforgettable and luxurious experience.”
Luxury, expertise and heritage shine through on all aspects of a Wildnis expedition. From the moment guests are collected at Edinburgh railway station (Glasgow pick-ups also possible) they are treated to a Five-Star wilderness experience.
After briefing and kit sessions, the adventure begins in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Guests are guided to the summit of Ben A’an which, despite its modest height, offers superb views and a big mountain feel. After abseiling and climbing on its flanks, guests descend to Glen Finglas Reservoir where they use packrafts to reach the far bank where a warming bowl of Cullen Skink soup awaits. After a night’s basecamp in Glen Etive, the adventure continues with scrambling along Aonach Eagach ridgeline, a Grade II scramble and one of Scotland’s finest routes with two Munro summits. The expedition then goes coastal with a sea kayaking trip in Arisaig, on Scotland’s stunning west coast. With sheltered sea lochs, countless isles and skerries and hidden beaches, this is a landscape best seen from the water. Returning again to dry land, adventurers head to a remote quarry to try a front abseil, a daredevil technique for descending cliff faces as shown in the TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins.
Throughout the trip guests travel in restored classic Land Rover Defenders, heritage vehicles perfectly at home in the rugged Scottish Highlands. Each has been adapted for wild camping with top-of-the-range rooftop tents or travellers will have the option of bedding down in a glamping-style bell tent. Every evening guests are treated to an open-fire cooked feast from Wildnis’ private chef, Tom Byrom. A sous chef at the Michelin-starred Northcote Manor by the age of 20, Tom’s inventive menus use the best of local produce. Dishes include a whole grouse ‘porcetta’, venison shoulder with a foraged nettle sauce and a Scottish seafood platter. Individuals are encouraged to involve themselves in the cooking too, with Tom offering masterclasses on foraging, butchery and open-fire cooking.
Price: a 4-night expedition, including guiding, all activities, all meals, Land Rover vehicle hire and transfers costs from £3,000pp sharing. Departures Spring 2021.