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Enjoy Wild Winter Swimming in Scotland

by Debra Bokur

Nov 17, 2023

Iona © Julietphotography | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

If you’ve heard of Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof — a.k.a. The Iceman — you know every season is a good season for jumping into a cold lake. You don’t have to break Hof’s Guinness World Record for swimming under ice, but you can reap the health benefits this winter with Wilderness Scotland’s journey encompassing sound bathing, wild swimming, wildlife and the fruits of local distilleries. These experiences are perfect for adult families looking for their next adventure.


“There is nothing quite like the power of an Atlantic storm on Orkney, or the expansive solitude you’ll feel exploring the Cairngorms,” said Stevie Christie, managing director, Wilderness Scotland. “Our tours, led by our team of expert guides, show guests just how magical Scotland is in the winter; all complemented, of course, by our world-famous Highland hospitality.”


Below are a few of the expeditions on offer for February and March 2024. Details on specific dates and pricing are available here.


Winter – The Orkney Isles

If it’s classic Scottish drama you crave, this hiking trip offers exactly that. For five days and four nights, it’s all brisk sea air and the music of crashing waves. Participants enjoy a tour and tasting at a local distillery, shopping in Kirkwall, hearty traditional meals and good whiskey. At night, be sure to look up: The Aurora Borealis — known here as the “Mirrie Dancers” — might just make an appearance.


Wilderness Retreat – Winter Highlands

New to the company portfolio, this five-day, four-night journey is a women’s getaway with hikes to secluded waterfalls and small lochans, wild swimming in natural settings, wildlife viewing, yoga classes and sound bathing. Relaxing activities involve mobile sauna sessions and storytelling.


Winter Wildlife

For five days and four nights, head deep into the Highlands to experience habitats that include the ancient trees of the Caledonian Pine Forest and hills of Cairngorms National Park. Daily expeditions on foot lead into wildlife locations to search for tracks and observe wildlife behavior. Along the way, learn about re-wilding programs aiming to restore balance to local ecosystems.


Winter – Mull & Iona

Venture into the winter wildscapes of these two iconic Scottish islands on a five-day, four-night immersive trip to explore their history, culture and traditions. Spot red deer, sea eagles, otters and owls; trek local cliffs and hidden bays; and soak in a wood-fired hot tub beneath the star-studded night skies.


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