A dreamscape suited to true solo serenity, the archipelago of St Kilda is noted for its remoteness and spellbinding sea stacks and cliffs, which play host to Europe’s most essential seabird colony. Uninhabited since 1930, when the last remaining 36 St Kildans were evacuated, St Kilda can be accessed by charter boats, private yachts and cruise ships. To quote naturalist James Fisher in 1947: ‘The future observer of St Kilda will be haunted the rest of his life, and tantalised by the impossibility of describing it, to those who have not seen it’.
There’s nothing like a good leg stretch to put matters into perspective. Whether the high tundras of the Cairngorms, the hidden pockets of Scotland’s vast wilderness or the famous West Highland Way, taking some ‘me time’ for a walking holiday is invigorating. The scenery, the wildlife, the fresh air, the sunsets and the sweet, sweet sound of silence.
Awash with a canvas of machair and pristine beaches, Barra is a stunner of an off-grid destination. But first, you have to soar in on Scotland’s most epic runway at Cockle Strand, a beach runway that becomes submerged under dancing waves at high tide. There’s no need for phones to cloud your thoughts with the treasure trove of engaging activities on offer. Think sea kayaking, scenic strolls and exploring Kisimul Castle, the Castle in the Sea.
Hitting 100 likes doesn’t even hold a candle to the adrenaline rush released from skiing down a mountain slope at high speed. Add the breathtaking Scottish scenery to the equation and it’s verging on adventure overload. Scotland’s five ski resorts cater to all kinds, from the vertigo-inducing slopes of the Nevis Range to the otherworldly location of Glencoe. Give your thumb a rest from scrolling and take in the surrounding sensory riches.
A recipe for decompressing and decluttering the mind, Scotland’s 282 Munros are imbued with an almost supernatural aura. Less of an arduous climbing obsession and more of a mindset, the act of Munro-bagging plays to the passions of outdoor lovers and those up for a spontaneous challenge. While Buachaille Etive Mòr boasts sublime beauty, A’Mhaighdean is one of the most remote. Then again, Sgùrr Dearg is the one with a peak that can only be summited by rock climbing.
Suited to those craving a touch of elevated luxury, Cameron House is fitted to moments when life demands you slow down. Although the grand lodgings, gourmet food whipped up by Michelin-starred superchef Martin Wishart and championship golf course are second to none, the star of this show is the spa, complete with its 17 treatment rooms, a Rasul mud chamber and a relaxation suite. The rooftop infinity pool boats unparalleled views over the enchanting banks of Loch Lomond. No need for Wi-Fi!
Ranging from the adventuresome to the bridled, Scotland’s fleet of cruises are a dreamy alternative to escaping the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle. With the wind caressing your hair and the natural wonders gracing your eye line, suddenly your mind dances. Top picks include dolphin spotting at the Moray Firth, the glass-bottomed boat from Kyle of Lochlash (Seaprobe Atlantis) and the views of the Cuillin from bonnie Loch Scavaig.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that yurts are all the rage these days! Thankfully, Scotland is home to a whole host of yurts dotted in the most unsuspecting places, from eco-sensitive wild-glamping sites trimmed with clifftop vistas to complete rural seclusion surrounded by nothing but natural beauty.
Bothies are a mind-boggling facet of Scottish culture that must be respected. These ‘but and ben’ abandoned croft houses, cottages and shacks are maintained by a small team of selfless souls looking to keep ‘bothying’ alive. Free from creature comforts like electricity, running water and heat, staying the night in a bothy requires getting back to the basics. Bothies like Eagle’s Nest cliff cave make it all worthwhile. Camouflaged with the wilderness around them and mostly unmarked on the map, these isolated shelters are literally off the grid.
Take a leaf out of George Orwell’s book and search for some tranquility on Jura. Situated off the west coast of the Scottish Kintyre Peninsula, this untainted place plays host to more deer than people. After all, Orwell sought out Jura to flee the demands and distractions weighing down on his inspiration. He finished his most prominent work and cult classic, 1984, from Barnhill Farmhouse on Jura. Devoid of people and noise pollution, pack a book and ‘find yourself’.
Want more from Scotland? Check out these seven must-try activities for adventure junkies.