Unique Scottish Cooking and Cultural Experience

From £1995 pp

Argyll & The Isles, Scotland , Cairnbaan

8 days

Private retreat for 2 people

Unique Scottish Cooking and Cultural Experience

From £1995 pp

What You'll Do

Get truly off the beaten track and escape the crowds, as you throw yourself into the wild, majestic natural landscape of Western Scotland, and discover the culinary riches that await in this stunningly beautiful part of the world.

The location for this unique Scottish cooking vacation experience is in Dalriada, once the ancient kingdom of Scotland,  located in the pristine, unspoilt coastal region now known as Mid Argyll.

Your accommodation base will be near Dunadd (an ancient hillfort dating as far back as the iron age), the historical capital of Scotland, where, in the past, Scotlandcrowned its kings.

Whilst staying in Dalriada, not only will you learn fabulous Scottish recipes you will also experience the wild, wonderful nature of rural Scottish way of life, totally immersed in the incredible beauty of the unique Scottish Highlands area.

You’ll be surrounded by incredible sweeping glens, fresh, wild rivers, towering mountains and clean, pure coastal air, and with all this natural beauty comes a richness in the landscape that offers a wealth of abundance when it comes to culinary delights.

This has allowed Scotland to develop a culinary repertoire of exceptionally quality and diversity of ingredients, just some of which includes…

Wild game – partridge, grouse and the pheasant from its remote moorlands, succulent venison from the wild red deer roaming the mountains, salmon and trout swelling the freshwater Highland rivers, rare and succulent beef and lamb from the famous Highland herds, and incredible shellfish of all kinds.

Using ingredients like these, you will discover and learn how to develop a range of mouth-watering, wholesome feasts, where you will be able to really taste the freshness and the quality of the ingredients you are cooking with.

The presentation and delivery of this Scottish cooking and cultural vacation will be very informal, friendly and personal, cooking is about enjoyment after all.

The cooking sessions with be based in a fully-equipped, traditional Scottish family-style kitchen and each vacation and course will be limited to a maximum of 4 guests.

Expect a fun-filled week on this Scottish activity holiday exploring the landscape, foraging for food, cooking up incredible dishes, and experiencing the real, authentic Scotland in all senses, from the rural communities and cultures, the exquisite food, and the beautiful environment.


Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring wilderness of the Scottish Highlands

Create incredible dishes using the riches of the wild landscape

Discover the true, authentic Scotland in rural communities and culture

Your Local Host:


Brian spent around 15 years working in Community Development and Social Work for various public and private agencies and always had a serious interest in outdoor education and skills. He has achieved various coaching certificates and in 2005 decided to put his skills to good use in his own business, with his passion for the outdoors, in particular around his home on the west coast of Scotland and his 'second home' Greece.

Brian runs several trips in Scotland and in Greece, during the year, coordinating activities for both regions, and has a deep knowledge of both locations, the people, places, culture, food and recipes, and will be very excited to meet you and share his knowledge and love of each country with you.

Experience Itinerary

Welcome to the Highlands

You will be met at your pre-arranged location by our representative, who will accompany you by private car transfer to Mid Argyll the base for your holiday.

On arrival you will be introduced to Jane Chaplin and any other guests or staff who will be involved in your vacation during the week; this will be followed by the opportunity to relax and settle in for a couple of hours.

Depending on the time of year, you may wish to go for a walk or to explore the local area or to simply relax. Dinner will be served around 7pm when you will discuss further and plan the aspects of your stay, and ask any questions that you may have.


The cottage is a well equipped, modern 2 bedroom, two story holiday cottage, set in a very peaceful location, 60 yards from the Crinan Canal. There is free car parking in a private car park adjacent to the cottage.

1. Ground floor: Porch area for boots, coats etc. Living/dining room with 2 x 3 seater sofas, dining area with table and 4 chairs. French doors to the back garden. Well equipped kitchen. Bathroom with bath, shower cubicle and toilet.

The first floor has 2 double bedrooms. The large bedroom has a King size double bed, sleeps 2 adults. The smaller bedroom also has a double bed, suitable for 2 adults. The maximum occupancy is 4 guests.

Explore and cook

You will have free time until your cooking lesson to explore the local area.

You will meet up again around 4pm to start your first Scottish cooking session. Dinner will be served around 7pm.

Explore and cook

Enjoy the day as you choose. After lunch around 3pm, you will participate in your second Scottish cooking lesson before dinner is served around 7pm.

Free day

Today is a free day to get in some of the wonderful local activities around. Your hosts will be happy to help you plan the perfect day. Dinner is on your own tonight, so you can try a place of your choice.

Explore and cook

Your Scottish cooking session will meet up at 4 p.m.,  followed by dinner at the cooking school. Enjoy the day at your leisure.

Free day

Take some time to plan a local activity and find a cosy pub for a local dinner.

Explore and cook

After breakfast your morning is free. In the afternoon you will begin your final Scottish cooking session.

Farewell to Scotland

After breakfast you will have to say farewell to Scotland, with new memories you can cherish forever.

Return transfers are either coach from Lochgilphead to Glasgow or train from Oban to Glasgow. All associated costs are included in the price.


Location Information


Your holiday starts on your chosen arrival date. You will be met at your arrival point in Glasgow and transferred to your accommodation.

Please note that the earliest meeting/collection time is 10.00 am. The latest arrival collection time is 6.00pm. You will be taken by private car transfer to your accommodation in Mid Argyll.


Your return transfer to Glasgow will either be by coach from Lochgilphead to Glasgow or by train from Oban to Glasgow, all associated costs are included in the price. The journey time is approx 2 hours to Glasgow.

  • Return private transfer by either coach from Lochgilphead to Glasgow or train from Oban to Glasgow
  • All transport throughout the holiday to other activities
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in a private room in a Scottish Highland cottage
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 lunches (box and picnic style)
  • 5 dinners with wine, beer at Cairnbaan cook school
  • 4 Scottish cooking sessions
  • Tea and coffee
  • Maps and guide books
  • Towels, toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Daily guidance from your host and staff


Depending on your chosen month of travel excursion, experiences will vary.

Scotland benefits from long summer days from around the beginning of May to late August when daylight remains until around 11.00 pm.

These seasonal variations will not affect the course itinerary, but may assist you in planning your trip to your own preferences; Scotland offers fantastic visitor experiences during most seasons.

This vacation is operated and provided on a Saturday arrival and departure day basis. All itinerary items will be provided but some alterations to the specific daily activities will be required.

Depending on what month you choose to visit, daily itineraries will be seasonal and variable and actual day activities may change, but all inclusions will be covered.

These will be determined by the month you choose to book. After confirming a booking, guests will be provided with a detailed description which will assist them in choosing from the various options shown in the list below. Guests may choose one full day and two half-day excursions. All excursions are guided by a qualified member of staff.

Full-day guided excursions: Subject to availability

(a) Non-landing scenic cruise to the island of Colonsay with dinner on board

(b) Non-landing scenic cruise to the island of Islay with lunch or dinner on board

(c) Island of Luing/Atlantic Islands centre/Easdale Island

(d) Island of Mull, Tobermory and visit to Tobermory whisky distillery

(e) Island of Mull and visit to Duart Castle (seat of the clan chief MacLean)

(f) Oban, visit to Oban whisky distillery & Dunstaffnage Castle or Dunollie castle estate

(g) Town of Oban and a visit to Inverawe Estate and falcon display

(h) Hike through the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada and Kilmartin Valley (6 miles)

(i) Cycle trip in the Crinan Canal / Kilmartin valley area (easy ride of 9 miles)

(j) Explore the Crinan Canal, guided walk Cairnbaan to Crinan return (8 miles)

Half-day guided excursions: Subject to availability

(a) Farm visit/meet & feed Scottish lambs - (April and May only) and subject to availability

(b) Seaweed foraging, explore the shore and collect seaweed to incorporate into some recipes back at the cooking school

(c) Forage for wild mussels along the shoreline

(d) Forage for wild garlic, make your own wild garlic pesto to eat & take home (April/May)

(e) Castle Sween (oldest castle in Scotland) and Kilmory Chapel with ancient gravestones

(f) Guided walk to visit Cairnbaan and Achnabreac ancient rock carvings

(g) Gulf of Corryvreckan whirlpool boat cruise, passing by the islands of Scarba and Jura

(h) Trout fishing, only available up to 30th September

(i) Inveraray town and Inveraray Castle (seat of the clan chief clan Campbell)

(j) Forest walk to Barlusgan nature reserve where beavers have been reintroduced into Scotland

(k) Guided walks through Kilmartin Valley, Templewood stone circle, Dunadd Fort

(l) Visit to Crinan, can include a small walk, followed by cream tea and scones at Crinan

During the week you will have plenty of free time. The local area offers a wide variety of self-guided activities and opportunities - walking, cycling, exploring and sightseeing. Below are some of the areas that we would recommend. We will be able to supply you with a detailed map and further guidance to explore these areas.

- Crinan canal, short and long walks

- Ardishaig and Lochgilphead

- Dunardy forest walk, near to nature trail.

- Dalriada Heritage trail

- Visit the local pub Cairnbaan hotel (5 minutes walk from your accommodation)

- Explore Kilmartin Valley and the Neolithic standing stones and stone circles

- Take a boat trip

- Visit Oban and the famous distillery

- Explore the Mull of Kintyre

- Cullen skink (Smoked fish soup)
- Braden Rost (Hot smoked Scottish salmon)
- Oatcakes and shortbread
- Traditional meat Scotch pies & meat Bridies
- Cranachan (oatmeal, raspberry, cream, oats, dessert)
- And of course Haggis, the famous Scottish delicacy

During high season (July-August) you can book for 2 people ONLY.