Cairngorms Spring Retreat
May 9th – 13th 2022
Twin Room – £1195pp (+ booking fee) – FULLY BOOKED
Private Room – £1420pp (+ booking fee) – FULLY BOOKED
29th May- 2nd June 2023
CONTACT US to register your interest for 2023
Join SwimWild for a relaxing week of swimming, gentle walks and yoga in the Cairngorms National Park. Based at the Dell of Abernethy, a stunning Highland lodge that specialises in fresh, locally sourced seasonal food, you’ll get the chance to experience the magic of the Cairngorms with like-minded swimmers.
This retreat is a chance to unwind, re-connect and breathe deep. There will be the chance to enjoy a couple of guided swims each day, followed by restorative yoga sessions in The Dell’s beautiful tipi and plenty of time to chill and enjoy the magical woodland surroundings.
About The Dell
Our base for the week is the beautiful Dell of Abernethy. The Dell is nestled in the forest of Nethybridge, in the Cairngorms, within close reach of many idyllic swim spots. The Dell is where the BBC made its base for the filming of SpringWatch and WinterWatch, and we’ll have full use of the facilities, including the iconic Scandinavian Tipi with outdoor open fire, which doubles up as the bar area! This gorgeous setting is the perfect place to relax and unwind!
Our accommodation is spread across the main four-bedroom Dell Lodge and the adjoining three-bedroom West Dell cottage. We have twin share and private double rooms available. Each cottage has a lounge area and shared bathrooms. Meals are created by our expert retreat chef and her team. You’ll be served an abundant and delicious menu using produce grown at the lodge or nearby. Meals will be mainly plant-based but may include some locally sauced meat and game.
Despite its’ world away’ feel, The Dell is easily accessible. The closest train station is in Aviemore, around a 20-minute drive away. There is a direct day and night train service from London to Aviemore, and we can arrange pick-ups from the station (see arrival/departure information for timings).
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Is this retreat for me?
Swims: This week is suitable for beginners and more advanced swimmers, although ideally, you should have some form of cold water acclimatisation to participate in this week. Water temperatures are likely to be between 7-14 degrees, so there will be a mixture of short dips and longer swims (if the temperature allows). If you are not sure what we mean, feel free to contact us and ask for some advice.
If you want just to dip, that is perfectly fine. We will have a fully qualified swimming coach as part of the guiding team so, you may be surprised how much you can achieve over the week!
Walking: Most walks will be on relatively good tracks, but there may be some opportunity to visit some of the more off the beaten track locations, which will require sturdy walking boots and walks of up to 45 minutes (each way) on narrow tracks with some steep sections.
Yoga: Again, this will suit both novices and the more experienced. The asana practice includes flowing sequences that coordinate breath with movement. We will enjoy a mixture of sessions, from the relatively dynamic to restorative stretching and relaxation. The instructor will always adapt the sessions to individuals in the group, and you remain in control of the intensity.
Expect swims in spectacular locations, relaxing yoga, home-cooked food, and comfortable accommodation in a fabulous location. The week will include freshwater loch and river swims, subject to weather conditions. So come with a sense of fun and adventure, plenty of warm kit and a big appetite!
Please note that this is a very rough guide and that we will adapt the weekend carefully to suit the group and the Scottish weather conditions!
Monday – Welcome to the Cairngorms!
Meeting in the Highland town of Aviemore, we arrive in the afternoon ready to discover beautiful swim locations and share experiences with like-minded swimmers. We’ll settle into our rooms at The Dell, have a safety briefing and chat about plans for the week before setting off on our first evening swim adventure to a local loch – the perfect introduction to our week in the UK’s biggest national park!
Tuesday – Highest Beach and the Fairy Loch
Today we’ll feel the sand beneath our toes as we swim at Loch Morlich beach – the highest freshwater beach in the UK! We’ll swim with spectacular views over the Cairngorms Mountain Range before heading for a walk through the ancient Caledonian pine forest to our second swim spot of the day – An Lochan Uaine. Also known as the fairy lochan, local legend says it gets its green colour because the fairy folk wash their clothes in it! We’ll return to the lodge in the mid-afternoon for a restorative yoga session, followed by free time to relax and enjoy the stunning forest surroundings and a hearty dinner.
Wednesday – The Castle and the Secret Pool
Have you ever wanted to swim around a castle? Well, here is your chance! We’ll support you on a swim to our very own castle ruin on an island in the middle of a loch! Next, we’ll head to a quiet river pool before heading back to base for a relaxing evening yoga session in the tipi and a nourishing dinner at the lodge.
Thursday – Rivers dips and Waterfalls
We will head to a stunning swim spot on the River Spey this morning. We might even see ospreys swooping down over the water as we swim and soak up the views of the distant Glen Feshie hills. In the afternoon, we will delve deeper into Glen Feshie with a walk to a secret waterfall in the woods and a chance to try a fun river swoosh. Later in the day, we will head back to The Dell for a final yoga session in the tipi and a delicious dinner.
Friday – Final Swim and Farewell
We’ll start the day with an (optional!) early morning dip in our local swim spot, followed but a relaxed breakfast and time to pack up. You’ll depart the Cairngorms invigorated, connected and with new friends, carrying memories of your adventure and the time you spent exploring the waters of this wild landscape.
Arrival info –
We will meet you at the entrance of Aviemore Railway Station
3:30 pm on Monday
If arriving by vehicle please arrive at The Dell at 4 pm
Departure info –
Check out from rooms is by 9:45 am on the final day
We will return you to Aviemore Railway Station
By 10:30 am on Friday
- Four nights accommodation at the Dell of Abernethy. These are mainly on a twin share basis, but a limited number of private double rooms are also available if you select that option at the time of booking.
- Swimming, safety cover, guiding. Swims are always escorted by qualified and knowledgeable swim guides.
- Yoga sessions with a qualified yoga teacher.
- Home-cooked breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
- Home-cooked snacks and cakes.
- SwimWild swim cap
- Pick-up/drop-off in Aviemore
- All swim transfers
- Plenty of fun and good memories!
What's not included?
- Travel to and from the Dell of Abernethy (guests are advised to travel to Aviemore station where we can arrange pick-ups)
- Swim equipment, wetsuits and personal outdoor gear
- Any alcohol – although this is available at the on-site bar.
- Private rooms, if not selected at the time of booking.