Unique Scottish Cooking and Cultural Experience

Summary

Itinerary

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.

Highlights of the Trip

  • 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

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 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.

Your culinary host for this vacation is cook Jane Chaplin. Jane has had many years experience in traditional and modern Scottish cooking and is absolutely the best person to showcase the incredible culinary potential of the rich surrounding land.

Jane’s passions are firmly rooted in the Scottish countryside, where she spends her time visiting remote locations and islands, seeking inspiration to help her combine unique combinations of natural Scottish ingredients to create both classic and contemporary Scottish dishes.

What's Included

  • Return private transfer from Glasgow International airport (GLA) to Mid Argyll
  • All transport throughout the holiday to other activities
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in a private room in a Scottish Highland cottage
  • Pictures show a representation of what you can expect. Your actual accommodation will be notified to you at the time of a confirmed booking and will be determined by the number in your party
  • 4 Scottish cooking sessions (3 to 4 hours each session)
  • 7 Daily breakfasts, 6 of these will be self-catered from a basket full of Scottish produce
  • 7  boxed lunches, picnic-style
  • 6 Traditional Scottish dinners
  • On one evening, dinner is not included, this will be an opportunity for you to visit a local pub or restaurant on your own to sample other local Scottish cuisines
  • Local guided walks for the collection of wild ingredients used in cooking sessions
  • Whisky tasting sessions
  • Engraved, personalised Scottish Whisky flask
  • Scottish cooking apron
  • Scottish recipes

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities

Location Information

Arrival

Your vacation starts on your chosen arrival date where you will be met and collected by arrangement from Glasgow International airport (GLA).

If you choose to fly in and out of Edinburgh there are shuttle services that you can take between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Please inquire for details. You are strongly advised to use Glasgow airport when possible for smooth onward connections.

Please note that the earliest meeting/collection time from the airport 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.

Departure

You will be returned to Glasgow airport via private transfer. The private transfer journey time is approx 2 hours to Glasgow (GLA), it’s essential to avoid departing flights that leave before noon.

Other Information

Detailed holiday and course information:

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.

Excursions and Visits

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

Free Time

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.

(a) Crinan canal, short and long walks

(b) Ardishaig and Lochgilphead

(c) Dunardy forest walk, near to nature trail.

(d) Dalriada Heritage trail

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

Some of the food you will taste:

  • 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
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