Guided walking holidays and hiking tours in Scotland

Now with our 2015 holiday programme

6% early booking discount if you book your 2015 walking holiday before 1st October 2014

Guided, self-guided and tailor made walking and hiking in Scotland

Since 1995, About Argyll Walking Holidays have run high-quality, essentially personal guided walking holidays and hiking vacations throughout Argyll in the West Highlands and Islands of Scotland, building up a reputation for care and quality. Over the years, in exploratory spirit, we have added ventures further afield, to Galloway, Highland Perthshire, the Small Isles and all the way north to the magnificent remote landscapes of the Norse/Scots Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Our holidays are designed for people who like to enjoy historical, natural and geological themes along with the pure pleasure of walking. We explore hills, lochs, boundless seascapes and islands. During the walks you can enjoy historical, natural or geological themes  and the solitude of secret places.

We don't aim to break speed records when we walk, but the going can be rough. Scotland is one of the last places where we are not restricted to paths and tracks. During our guided holidays we will take full advantage of this and our hikes will be in remote and quiet places undiscovered by most tourists.

Anyone with Highland, and especially Argyllshire, ancestry might be particularly interested to see the country of their forefathers. Our walks visit the ancient lands of, amongst others, the Campbells, MacDonalds, MacDougalls, MacIntyres, MacKinnons, MacLachlans, MacLeans and Stewarts.

Our walking trips and hiking tours are usually 8 days in duration, with 7 nights accommodation and 6 walking days. All our holidays start and finish in Glasgow.

We specialise in private guided itineraries where the whole schedule is drawn up to suit your particular interests and the time you have available. We can plan itineraries for anywhere in Scotland: Highlands & Islands, Dumfries & Galloway, the Borders, Inner and Outer Hebrides/Western Isles, Skye, Orkney and Shetland Isles, and these can be themed as you wish. Examples of special interest private guided itineraries are: Whisky and Walking in Islay, Walking in the footsteps of your ancestors, history, wildlife, geology. Please ask.


We offer you

Lunch break along the String of Lorn
Lunch break along the String of Lorn, Argyll

Confidence that you are going the right way - our well-qualified, well-informed and enthusiastic guides will look after you. They’ll do their best to make your holiday interesting and memorable. Each of them lives in Scotland, knows it well and has some special interest in its environment. They all very much enjoy sharing this knowledge.
All our guides have mountain leadership and first aid qualifications, with experience of leading groups of various ages over all sorts of ground in all weathers and seasons.

Small groups - usually between 4 and 8.

An attractive, well-thought-out walking programme - walks and hikes to remote and quiet places undiscovered by most tourists. You can enjoy historical, natural and geological themes and the pure pleasure of walking.

Carefully selected comfortable accommodation - we book and arrange this for you, taking care to find a B&B, guest house or hotel that is individual in character and offers good food, comfort and a friendly welcome.

Road transport in our minibus - we collect you from Glasgow (city or international airport) on your first day and take you back at the end of your holiday. Throughout your holiday we also provide local transport as needed, evenings included.

Transport by (charter) boats and ferries - as required.

Visits to museums and other places of interest - entrance fees are included where these are an integral part of your programme.

Get-togethers in the evening - in a variety of carefully selected restaurants and pubs to set the scene for the next day's walking. Although evening meals are not included in the price, your guide will always take you somewhere good. We usually eat in a different place each evening, giving you the opportunity to try a range of Scottish dishes and ambiences.

and most especially
Personal care and attention in all that we do for you.


Walking or Hiking?

Loch Eck, Cowal
Loch Eck, Cowal

The word 'hiking' isn't used as much in the UK as it is in North America. In the UK we tend to use 'walking' to cover such a wide range of activities that it can be misleading. North American readers should probably think of About Argyll's walks as hikes, but at the gentler end of the range. You'll need tough boots, with a good tread, that provide adequate ankle support. No boots with smooth soles, no walking shoes, no trainers or similar very lightweight shoes which won't cope with the rougher or wetter ground and could be dangerous in steeper places.

We offer two grades of walking / hiking:
(Luxury) Walking Tours
Our (luxury) walking / hiking tours are an excellent introduction to hiking in Scotland for people with good basic fitness. The holiday combines hiking with visits to places of interest. Daily distances won’t exceed 6 miles/10km plus varying amounts of ascent, and we don’t expect to hike for longer than 4 hours (plus stops). Most of your hiking will be on paths, tracks or quiet roads, although the surfaces can be wet and rough. There will be some steep sections along the way, but no climbing greater than 1200 feet (365m), even in total.

Walking / Hiking Holidays
Our walking holidays and hiking vacations are designed for people who are fit and used to walking all day. We will walk up to 11 miles/17.5km (6 hours plus stops) per day with an average 1150ft/350m of ascent. On one day it might be as much as 3000ft/900m but there are also easier days. Our routes sometimes traverse pathless glens, climb mountains or thread remote passes and there may be some scrambling. On most days as much of our time is spent off path as on it. Scotland can be very wild and tough going: 10 miles here is often much harder than 10 miles elsewhere. All that said, we don’t want to break any speed records, especially not when going uphill and you’ll have all the rewards of walking in the most beautiful and fascinating parts of the Highlands and Islands.

Get fit for your trip
We partnered with Fit for Trips to make sure that you will fully enjoy your hiking trip to Scotland and reduce the risk of injuries. Fit for Trips has developed fitness programmes specific to our walking tours and hiking holidays to help you get in shape, making your holiday as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. Fit for Trips will design a personalised fitness program for you. Whether you like to do exercise in the gym or at home you'll be given a fitness program that matches your needs and likes. Every program comes with a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied for any reason and customers of About Argyll Walking Holidays will get a 20% discount. Click here for more information.


The people joining our guided walking holidays

Hiking trip Small Isles Walking tour Galloway & Argyll Walking tour Highlands and Islay Walking holiday Discovering South-Argyll, Scotland

Our groups are made up of individuals who, whatever their background, share a common love of walking in Scotland and a joy in the discovery of people and places, of history, wildlife and all the other aspects of life in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Wherever they are from, they are all curious to find out what's around the next corner.

In recent years, our walkers have come from the USA, Canada, mainland Europe, Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. This international mixture has made for a thoroughly enjoyable atmosphere which has been shared equally by those who come on their own, and those who book with their partner or friends. We know that several new and lasting friendships have come about through walking with 'About Argyll'. Why not come and join us this year?

Think you're too old, or too young? As far as we're concerned sufficient fitness is what matters, along with willingness to walk in rough countryside, not age.  Our oldest walkers are in their 80s - very fit admittedly. Our youngest visitor has been 16 (a caveat here - our programmes aren't designed with under 18s in mind). Main age groups that we see? 40s / 50s / 60s.


Who are we?

About Argyll Walking Holidays is based in the southwest Highlands of Scotland. It is run by Frieda Bos in co-operation with a team of guides who are not only keen walkers, but also know Scotland really well in all its aspects. Our aim is to run high-quality, small-scale, essentially personal hiking vacations. We view our clients as friends who are entitled to a professional service. We spend time in the field to plan and prepare each holiday so that we are confident of offering you an out-of-the-way experience worthy of the tradition of John Muir’s “natural beauty hunger”. We organise our walking holidays with freshness and enthusiasm so that you can get the most out of visiting this beautiful land.

We have been operating since 1995. Many of our clients have returned for a second, third or even fourth and fifth time.

Your guides

Stewart Richardson
Stewart lives in Edinburgh and has been walking in the Scottish hills for most of his life. He has travelled in Europe and has visited Antarctica and Africa. He is an active mountaineer and has an interest in wildlife and the history of the Scottish highlands. When he is not climbing mountains he loves photographing them. Stewart worked as a freelance outdoor instructor teaching navigation and climbing before joining About Argyll.
guided walking
private guiding

Lesley Bryce

 Lesley lives in Ayrshire and has been active in the Scottish hills for over 20 years - she has a sound knowledge of Scotland's mountainous regions and is passionate about walking in Scotland and the outdoors. She is particularly interested in the protection and preservation of wildlife and in managing our impact on the wild places we visit. She has travelled widely in Europe, and has trekked in Nepal, Peru and Africa. She speaks English, German and French.

Alastair Ewen
Having been brought up in Shetland and Orkney, Alastair has a passion for Scotland's islands. He's travelled and led guided tours all over Scotland for many years. He has a thorough knowledge of the natural and cultural history of the Highlands & Islands of Scotland.
guided hiking
walking guide Nigel Scriven
Nigel has lived in Argyll most of his life. He has a degree in ecology, which led to a teaching career in environmental and outdoor education in Argyll. He now works part-time for a number of Scottish outdoor and environmental organisations, leading field trips and doing environmental surveys throughout Argyll.
Nigel has founded the Cowal Natural History Society, he is Chairman of Argyll Bird Club, and Treasurer of the Sanda Island Bird Observatory, making annual visits to Sanda to ring seabirds. In between all these jobs he goes hill walking in Scotland, Europe and further afield. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with other people. 
John Fisher
John is the founder of About Argyll Walking Holidays and he worked for nearly 20 years at an outdoor centre in Argyll, teaching environmental studies and mountaineering. He has also worked as a quality manager for a training company and for a mental health charity. He thinks of himself as a "jack of all trades", with interests across geology, landscape, wildlife, local history and culture. Interests that he very much enjoys sharing. John speaks English and French.
All our guides are qualified mountain leaders and have emergency outdoor first aid certificates.
About Argyll walking Holidays Frieda Bos
Frieda organises bookings and will be your first point of contact to make sure all your questions are answered promptly. She also takes people to and from Glasgow and moves the minibus during some holidays. Frieda is Dutch and lives in Scotland since 2002.


Sustainable walking holidays

Cave on Holy Island
Cave on Holy Island, near Arran

Since the start of the business in 1995, About Argyll Walking Holidays has consistently aimed to provide responsible travel to wild and remote places in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. We offer you the chance to experience the solitude of these places in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly fashion.

You will see wildlife and wildflowers that are almost extinct in other parts of Britain and Europe. On our doorstep live golden eagle and peregrine falcon, red deer and otter, wild orchid and sundew - just a few of the many species making up the unique Highland ecosystem.

We consider this intricate and sometimes delicate web of life and landscape to be irreplaceable and a source of inspiration to us all. A century ago, John Muir, Scotland’s greatest contributor to the developing concept of conservation, talked of humanity’s ‘natural beauty hunger’. We think that this is the perfect place to satisfy that hunger, provided always, as Muir made clear, that it is done with respect for the sources of that beauty.

Following John Muir’s inspiring example, we are dedicated to preserving and promoting the value of Scotland's wild areas by doing our best to reduce the environmental impact of our walking holidays and ensuring the long-term sustainability of tourism in the area. The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are one of Britain and Europe's last wildernesses, and we share with all who live or visit here a responsibility to protect and conserve their fragile ecosystems.

Because we want you and future generations to continue to enjoy this unique natural environment, our walking groups are small, thus minimizing negative impact while increasing our chances of seeing wildlife. If you would like, our guides can also offer suggestions to help you to minimize your personal environmental impact.

Windswept oak on Mull
Windswept, gnarled oak on Mull

Size is particularly important in the Scottish wilderness, where our wide spaces and high mountains are small and fragile in a global context. Here, we agree with Schumacher; “small is beautiful”, and especially in tourism.

Our small-scale business provides local benefit, environmentally, culturally and economically, wherever we go. We work closely with many small, rural businesses – for example, you will stay in locally-owned accommodation and eat in local restaurants which use fresh, local produce. All of this contributes to the local economy.


Our sustainable business practices also extend to the running of our office, where we keep the use of energy, water and other resources to a minimum, reduce and recycle our waste and send most of our correspondence by email or on recycled paper. We also try to reduce the impact of the carbon emissions from our minibuses by supporting Trees for Life, which uses our donation to plant trees in order to restore the ancient Caledonian forest of the Highlands.

We are committed to improving the sustainability, increasing the social and local benefits and reducing the environmental impact of our holidays and of our office even further. Some of the actions we are taking are:

Click here to download the 'responsible visitor guide' from the Tourism Innovation Group and Scottish Natural Heritage.


To underline our commitment and policies, we are a member of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, which has recognised our efforts with a Gold Award, the highest award possible.

 

Wild Scotland
About Argyll Walking Holidays is a member of Wild Scotland and we adhere to its Code of Practice.

 

We are a corporate supporter of Trees for Life, a charity working to restore Scotland’s Caledonian Forest.

About Argyll Walking Holidays is a corporate member of the John Muir Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting wild places. They own and care for some of Scotland's finest wild landscapes including Ben Nevis, Schiehallion, Quinag in Assynt, part of the Cuillin on Skye and 3,000 acres on the Knoydart peninsula.

wildlife scotland puffin
Puffin
wildlife scotland orchid
Spotted Orchid
wildlife scotland red deer
Red Deer
wildlife scotland sundew
Sundew
walking and wildlife seal
Common Seal
walking and wildlife mushroom
Fly Agaric
walking and wildlife butterfly
Fritillary butterfly

• © About Argyll Walking Holidays • Website: FriedaWeb