4-Night Scottish Highlands Christmas Guided Walking Holiday

GlenCoe-Festive-danka-peter-148722-unsplash.jpg
Duration: 4 nights
Type: Guided Walking
Walking Grade: 3, 4 & 5
from £855pp

Spend the festive season in the Scottish Highlands, socialising and walking in this beautiful place. There’s something magical about walking in winter. Whether it’s the frosty footsteps, the clear crisp air, or the breathtaking views, it’s a wonderful time to go walking. Join our festive breaks and choose from a guided walking holiday in the company of one of our knowledgeable leaders. We pull out all the stops on our festive holidays, with fabulous food, lots of seasonal entertainment and great walks and activities. The walks are tailored to the time of year and will remain flexible to suit the weather conditions. Each day three grades of walk will be offered. So wrap up warm, lace up your boots and go for an invigorating walk. The walks in the West Highlands can be sublime at this time of year, however they can be also be challenging because of the combination of short daylight hours and sometimes extreme weather. We will not be walking on terrain which demands specialist skills and equipment such as ice axes and crampons.

Holiday Highlights

  • Plenty of exercise to walk off the festive excesses
  • A choice of guided walks in spectacular winter scenery
  • Just relax, soak up the party atmosphere, enjoy wonderful festive fare and leave all the organising to us
  • Evening activities include dancing, quizzes and festive celebrations
  • Cosy Country House and a special festive cheer

What’s included

  • Wonderful meals – full selection at breakfast, your choice of picnic lunch, an excellent evening meal and plenty of festive treats
  • A programme of organised walks and activities
  • The services of experienced HF Holidays’ guides
  • A packed programme of evening activities offering something festive for everyone, including some old HF favourites
  • Any transport to and from the walks

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.


Option 1 - Nevis Riverside

Distance: 6 miles (10 km) 

Ascent: 900 feet (280m) 

In Summary: From the heart of the mountains we follow the River Nevis downstream, below the towering Ben Nevis. We ascend the ridge of Cow Hill, affording some great views, before descending to Fort William.

HighlightGreat views over Fort William, Loch Eil and to the north. 

 

Option 2 - The Nevis Gorge

Distance: 7 miles (11½km) 

Ascent: 1,450 feet (440m) 

In Summary: Walk through the Nevis Gorge below the towering Ben Nevis. Our route meanders through the wooded gorge where the torrent churns between giant boulders, to emerge into the wide vistas of the Steall Meadow.  

HighlightThe magnificent An Steall waterfall is the third highest cascade in Britain. 

 

 

Option 3 - Below the North Face

Distance: 9 miles (14km)

Ascent: 2,600 feet (800m)

In summary: Ascend to the climbers’ hut below the mighty north face of Ben Nevis. We then contour below the massive Castle Ridge buttress and descend via the Pony Track to Glen Nevis.

Highlight: An opportunity to see the towering cliffs of the 'Ben's' North Face up close. These mighty cliffs provide some of Britain's best rock and ice climbing.


Option 1 - Alltshellach to Holly Tree Hotel

Distance: 5-10 miles (18-16km)

Ascent: 155ft (47m)

In Summary: We walk from the house and then follow the shore of Loch Linnhe towards Kentallen Bay. We then follow the same route back to the house.

Highlight: Exploring the shores of the beautiful Loch Linnhe.

Option 2 - Alltshellach to St John's Church

Distance: 7 miles (11.3km)

Total ascent: 1017ft (247m)

In Summary: We walk from the house heading for St John’s Church in Ballachulish. Along the way we take in the glorious forest trails of Gleann a Chaolais.

Highlight: Superb views across Loch Leven and Loch Linnhe on one side and the imposing and atmospheric Beinn a Bheithir on the other.

Option 3 - Sgorr Dhearg

Distance: 12.5 miles (20km)

Total ascent: 3900 ft (1180m)

In Summary: We walk from the house to Ballachulish before heading up forestry tracks which lead to eventually lead to clearings and a col. We then follow the ridge up to Sgorr Dhearg.

Highlight:  Sgorr Dhearg is visible from Alltshellach. At the end of your walk you can relax at Alltshellach and gaze upward at the peak you have climbed.


Option 1 - Mamore Lodge

Distance: 6.2 miles (9.9km)

Ascent: 1600ft (470m)

In Summary: We follow paths and the Old Military Road along the flanks of Sgurr an Fhuarain, Na Gruagaichean and Meall An Doire Dharaich before heading back to Kinlocheven.

Highlight: Exploring the history of the Old Military Road and looking at the views of the Mamores and Loch Leven.

Option 2 - The Lairigmore

Distance: 8 miles (13km) 

Ascent: 2,050 feet (620m) 

In Summary: Walk from the northern shore of Loch Leven to the village of Kinlochleven. We’ll take a steep path up the hillside, then contour behind Mam na Gualainn to join the West Highland Way. 

Highlight: Follow the West Highland Way, Scotland’s premier long distance path, along part of General Wade’s 18th Century military road. 

Option 3 - Beinn na Caillich

Distance: 8 miles (12.5km) 

Ascent: 3,200 feet (980m) 

In SummaryFollow the undulating mountain ridge over the summits of Mam na Gualainn and Beinn na Caillich, before descending to join the West Highland Way to Kinlochleven. 

HighlightThe 'Corbett' summit of Mam na Gualainn commands a fine view over Loch Leven and provides a good warm up for the bigger peaks later in the holiday. 

 


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


Alltshellach

Situated in a stunning location on the shores of Loch Leven, Alltshellach is a stately Scottish house set amid a rugged landscape. The house is a picture of Highland solidity, with spectacular views of craggy mountains and grassy slopes beyond the loch. This pocket of domesticity lets you admire nature at your leisure though, sipping tea or G&T as you watch clouds scud across the sky. In fact, this one-time home of the Bishop of Argyll & the Isles has been recast as a hiker’s hotel, with an air of old-world splendour, excellent accommodation, a generous indoor pool, three lounges and a supremely cosy Highland Bar that’s well-stocked with local beer and whisky, all of which is (almost) enough to distract you from the vast vistas over the waters. But it’s the great outdoors you’re here for and the house is ideally situated for accessing the Mamores, the mountains of Glen Coe and tackling Ben Nevis as well as bagging munros and spotting local wildlife.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

Following the relaxation in government guidance on 19 July, we are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas.

In Scotland and Wales physical distancing is still in place so this will be adhered to indoors and outdoors. Guests will need to wear face masks in public areas except when eating and drinking. The Scottish and Welsh governments are reviewing their guidance in August and we will adapt our measures in line with any updated guidance at this time.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

At this time the evening social programme has been replaced by individual or small group walks talks which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options with leaders. All of our swimming pools have opened as planned, except for Brecon and Glen Coe, which have delayed pool re-openings. Guests may need to book a time when they wish to swim (30-minute slots) if the number of guests exceeds the pool capacity. 

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

There are 38 comfortable bedrooms, all in the main house, with a range of ‘Good’, ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ options to choose from. Rooms radiate cosiness thanks to little touches – a remedy for even the dreichest day. Those with a view are worth the extra spend, as you’ll be overlooking the gardens and loch. The Best rooms include Room 21, a spacious corner room with lovely views of Loch Leven, while Room 23 is a stately showstopper that was once the official Bishop’s bedroom, complete with original features and cracking views.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger televisions – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive gardens, heated indoor swimming pool, multi-purpose ballroom, library and board games to borrow

After a day exploring, return to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Stroll the gardens that dip down to the loch. The small peninsula at the bottom of the lawns is called An Dunan and often becomes an island at high tide – look for prehistoric rock art cut into the slabs on its side. Make time too to plunge into the heated indoor swimming pool (currently closed) and do a couple of lengths under the watchful eye of the mountains through the panoramic windows. Inside the house, head for one of the communal areas: you’ll have three to choose from and can kick back, relax and catch up with other guests. Later, stop in the Highland Bar for a nip of whisky or a nightcap – the comfy seats make a fine spot for a dram and there’s a range of good single malts to choose from that’ll have you believing you’re living a laird’s life.

Food & Drink

As at all of our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Alltshellach is full of Scottish flavours and focusses on locally sourced and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when you might be treated to Cullen Skink Soup and a trio of smoked salmon, mackerel pate and steamed mussels with Highland oat cakes, while mains may include Highland game and ‘Barlotto’, a type of nutty risotto made from barley instead of rice. Finish off with a spoonful of Iron Brew Ice, chocolate and marmalade mouse and Atholl brose, a luxurious blend of honey, whisky and carefully selected herbs for a flavour of the Highlands.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Alltshellach

10682_0005 - Alltshellach - Exterior

Getting to Alltshellach

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner
  • Sun hat and sunscreen (we may just get lucky and have some festive sunshine!)

Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2022
23 Dec - 27 Dec 2022
4 Christmas £855 Available Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
4 nights
Type:
Guided Walking
Walking Grade:
3 & 4

4 nights from £855pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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