Celebrate Women’s International Day in the great outdoors
Scotland is the place for adventure and self-discovery and while I am always happy to get outdoors with whoever happens to be free, I do love an outing with my female friends.
Whether walking, running, cycling or skiing, the chat with a close girlfriend is hard to beat. It’s not that I don’t value the company of the guys – I really do – but sometimes I crave the company of women-only. They just know how it is when I say something about, well, being female!
I have also enjoyed a number of women-only courses, such as a learning to navigate and a skiing skills. Again, I am not male bashing, but I do find that groups of women are better for discussion-based skills courses.
If you are looking for inspiration for women-focused adventures in Scotland’s great outdoors, read on.
Into the Wild with Wilderness Scotland
Tour operator Wilderness Scotland has introduced several women-only tours for 2019, which are fully-guided and a great introduction to Scotland, as well as providing new and exciting challenges for solo travellers and groups of friends.
The Coast to Coast mountain biking tour (running in June 2019) takes adventure-seekers on the ultimate bike ride across the Highlands, with 350km of views to enjoy along the way. Or how about a women only road cycling tour called Casks and Castles?
In addition, the Sea Kayaking tour of the Summer Isles (also running in June) explores deserted islands – passing by Ullapool and the beautiful Coigach and Assynt mountains – and sandy beaches and offers the chance to camp in remote spots under starry skies.
Prices from £925 per person. Visit www.wildernessscotland.com/women-in-adventure/ for more details and to book.
You might also like the idea of a women-only Canadian canoe trip on the Great Glen Canoe Trail, from Inverness to Banavie, Fort William (or vice versa, depending on the wind!).
Whisky for girls
Rachel MacNeill runs the Islay Whisky Academy and offers a day tour on Islay called Hipflasks and Drift Wood, which is focused on women.
The unusual and exciting tour offers women the chance to find out more about the island’s heritage in a friendly and fun environment, including a trip across to the Isle of Jura to sample Lussa Gin and the special Islay Woollen Mill.
The day finishes at a driftwood bonfire tasting single malt whisky.
Prices from £180 (does not include accommodation). Go to www.islaywhiskyacademy.scot/islay-whisky-tour-hipflasks-and-driftwood/ for more details.
Women’s Tour of Scotland 2019
August 9-11, 2019
A new annual global female cycling event has chosen Scotland as the backdrop for its first event.
The Women’s Tour of Scotland will follow a 350km route across the country and promises to show off Scotland’s breath-taking landscape and further cement its place as an international sporting events host.
The tour will showcase women’s cycling on a three-day course with the route to be announced soon.
A mass participation event will occur on the same three days with 5000 participants from across Scotland and beyond able to participate.
Check out www.womenstourofscotland.com
The Solheim Cup 2019, Gleneagles, Perthshire
September 9-15, 2019
The Solheim Cup is the biggest event in women’s golf and one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world.
This year it’s Scotland’s turn to host the event at Gleneagles in Perthshire. This comes just five years after the successful staging of the Ryder Cup at the same venue.
Fancy a drive?
Follow at the wheel.. like Thelma & Louise
The famous movie of two friends, Thelma & Louise, who set out on a driving adventure might well inspire you to take off for a long journey with a girl pal, although let’s hope it is less madcap.
Scotland has plenty of great driving routes. See my blog: Great Scottish journeys: 12 inspiring routes.
No doubt you will have heard of Scotland’s North Coast 500 route, which boasts stunning landscapes and coast.
For a road trip – perhaps in a campervan – there is also the:
These boots are made for….
A walk on the wild side
Everyone’s wild is a different thing and you do not need to set out to follow in the footsteps of Cheryl Strayed, author of adventure memoir Wild, who hiked many thousands of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail (unless you want to).
I wrote this week about The Unlikeliest Backpacker, who did just that.
But there are plenty of wild-style walks to enjoy in Scotland, whether it’s a climb to the top of a hill or mountain, a ridge traverse, or a walk on one of Scotland’s Great Trails.
I think it’s hard to beat a walk with a great female friend.
Check out www.walkhighlands.co.uk for walking inspiration and maps.
More than a walk
How about learning some new outdoors skills as part of a women’s group? Glenmore Lodge, near Aviemore, teaches a range of winter courses for women, such as winter mountaineering skills and winter climbing, and women’s summer and rock courses.
Check out Girls on the Hills for their accessible and inclusive courses.
Get away from it all
Heading to Scotland to escape from it all, the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre, provides an unexpected sanctuary near Dumfries in the south-west of Scotland.
The first Tibetan Buddhist Centre to have been established in the West, it provides opportunity to book courses such as mindfulness and yoga, or simply to stroll around the peace gardens, temple and Tibetan Tea Rooms.
Overnight accommodation is also available, depending on availability See www.samyeling.org/visiting.
Make a retreat
The choice of hideaways and off-grid gems is vast. Just do a search on-line and pick according to budget, location and the view you would like to see while you chill out.
I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Comrie Croft in Perthshire, for example.
Where would you most like to go for an outdoors adventure with you favourite female friends?
- Also see VisitScotland.