Scottish tour operator Rabbie’s has introduced three new day-tours leaving from Aberdeen.
The small group specialist, which is passionate about sustainability and CSR (corporate social responsibility), has launched Dunottar Castle & Royal Deeside; Loch Ness & The Highlands, and a Speyside Whisky Trail to its programme of Scottish tours for 2019-2020.
Rabbie’s has also revealed two new three-day trips from Manchester to popular holiday spots in Wales and The Peak District and doubled its choice of departures from London.
“After the success of launching a departure point in Inverness, we felt ready to bring our ethical small-group tours to new parts of the UK,” says Rabbie’s founder and chief executive Robin Worsnop.
“It’s the right time too – all reports are saying Manchester’s tourism sector is growing, and travellers are starting to discover the fantastic locations that lie on Aberdeen’s doorstep.”
Heather Reekie, director of marketing & sales, said: “When I first found out we were going to connect with the railway lines with our new package tours, I was surprised other companies weren’t already doing this. Travelling by rail is far quicker and more sustainable than using a car to travel long distances.
“We’re hoping a lot of locals in London will see these packages as a stress-free and affordable alternative to taking a flight, booking accommodation, and working out where to go in a rental car.“
Rabbie’s new programme also includes a three-day tour of Lewis and Harris from Inverness, a three-day tour of Mull from Glasgow, and a discovery of the Isle of Wight’s ancient landscape from London with a three-day tour which starts from £149 per person.
To complete the programme Rabbie’s has added a selection of short tours departing from Inverness, Glasgow, Dublin and Edinburgh.
Sustainability and CSR have, since the beginning, been integrated into the core of Rabbie’s business strategy, products and services, with strong impact on rural and remote communities.
By operating small groups, Rabbie’s has access to the back roads and provide affordable travel to make these remote communities accessible to visitors.
The company also supports local community and environmental projects which preserve the communities and wildlife by self-taxing £10 for every tonne of CO2 used. The money is then donated to support community and environmental projects.
The Enchanted Forest 2018 got off to a wild and wonderful start earlier this month with the launch of this year’s Of The Wild theme at Faskally Wood near Pitlochry.
Showcasing the autumnal beauty of Highland Perthshire, the sound and light spectacular released a record 80,000 tickets for its extended five-week run (Oct 6 – Nov 4).
Inspired by the hidden beauty of Highland Perthshire’s wild woods, the multi-award-winning creative team has developed a show rooted in nature and full of surprises.
This year’s show combines breath-taking visuals, state-of-the-art technologies and a powerful musical score against a backdrop of one of Scotland’s most breathtaking woodland locations.
Here are 7 good reasons to visit:
Spend time outdoors in nature & boost your wellbeing – The Enchanted Forest works closely with Forestry Commission Scotland to enhance the natural features of the forest and encourage more people to embrace Scotland’s woodlands.
2. Experience the ultimate in forest bathing – The forest contains 25 recorded species of tree, a handful of which are native: Scots Pine, Silver and Downy Birch, Ash, Oak, Rowan, Common Alder, Hazel, and Bird Cherry. The oldest known tree is around 200-225 years old.
4. Support Scottish tourism – It’s estimated The Enchanted Forest’s impact on the local tourism economy is around £3 million a year.
5. Support ecology and conservation – In 2017 The Enchanted Forest donated £500 to Tayside Bat Group (TBG) to install around 30 bat boxes in Faskally Wood. The forest already provides suitable habitat for a range of bat species but these boxes increase available roosting sites for them. TBG volunteers placed the new nesting boxes in a strip of trees along the edge of Loch Dunmore.
6. Embrace Scottish culture & feel inspired – Now in its 17th year, The Enchanted Forest has won numerous awards, most recently being named finalist for Best Cultural Event at the Scottish Thistle Awards for the fifth year in a row. The event also took the coveted Best Cultural Event at the 2016 UK Events Awards in London last winter.
7. Dine out, carbon-free (well, almost) – On-site catering is by Lov Events UK, whose pop-up cafe bars offer a selection of wood-fired pizzas finished off with edible flowers, burgers and fries, mulled wine and more. All cutlery and crockery is Edenware from Go-Pak and fully compostable.
Ian Sim, chairman of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, which operates the event, said: “From humble beginnings as a three-night event with just 1500 visitors in 2002, it’s phenomenal to see how much The Enchanted Forest has grown during its 17 years. The love and support we have received is amazing and we are looking forward to welcoming a record 80,000 visitors this year.
“Our reputation as one of Scotland’s and the UK’s must-see autumn events is partly testament to the time we have spent over the years growing a community of dedicated partners, volunteers and followers, believing in what we are doing and listening and responding to feedback so that we can come back better each year. Despite growing significantly we are still a very intimate event and that’s what people seem to love the most. We don’t ever want to lose that.”
Faskally Wood is home to a diverse range of wildlife. There are kingfishers and herons, and goldeneye ducks that nest in the trees. The 2018 Environmental Impact Study found that the wildlife in the forest shows no signs of being affected by the activities surrounding the event.
As the show goes from strength to strength, supporting the ecology in Faskally Wood is important to the continued success of The Enchanted Forest.
“We have always been keen to ensure that the event has minimal impact on the beautiful environment in which we operate, and the wildlife who call Faskally Wood their home,” says Ian.
An independent Environmental Impact Study in 2018 confirmed that the Enchanted Forest team takes all possible measures to minimise impact on the forest environment and the wildlife in the forest.
And, when conservation work changed the landscape around Loch Dunmore, the creative team were quick to react to this new opportunity. They removed non-native rhododendron plants to encourage biodiversity and open up more of the loch – which inspired the name of the 2017 show: Oir An Uisge – ‘edge of the water’.
Rhododendron ponticum forms dense thickets and shades out native plants. If left uncontrolled, it will eventually dominate the habitat to the virtual exclusion of all other plant life.
Forestry Commission Scotland plan to replace to replace the rhododendron – which it classes as Scotland’s most invasive non-native plant – with more typical riparian vegetation, such as hazel, willow, alder and aspen.
Faskally was purchased by the Forestry Commission in 1953. It covers 365 hectares and is divided in two by the old and new A9. The area where the Enchanted Forest takes place is approximately 66 hectares in size.
Faskally is derived from the Gaelic for “stance by the ferry” which probably relates to an old ferry crossing on the river Tummel.
The forest attracts approximately 70,000 visitors a year, excluding those to the Enchanted Forest.
When The Spa at The Principal heard that the average UK worker only takes around 20 minutes of their lunch break (for fear of not being able to complete all their designated daily tasks), the team wasted no time in developing a range of express spa treatments to help time-poor city professionals reclaim some of their free time.
The Spa, which is part of The Principal Edinburgh – Charlotte Square hotel, believes all employees deserve to take their full lunch break and time to relax. That’s why it’s introduced a new series of 25-minute express treatments, all of which can be taken during a break, after a stressful morning, or as part of an extended Friday lunch.
Holistic Scotland Magazine headed along to the Edinburgh spa to sample an ishga Express Massage and find out just what can be achieved in 25 minutes.
We discovered that the ishga part of the massage is the natural skincare range developed here in Scotland from organic seaweed and that the spa’s expert therapists really can work tension-relieving wonders in less than half-an-hour (thank you, Reagan!)
This particular massage focuses on the back, neck and shoulders to target areas of tension, release stress and relax the nervous system, while the Invigorating Body Oil works its seaweed-based magic to stimulate, revitalise and encourage self-repair.
Seaweed has been used for hundreds of years for its therapeutic and natural healing properties and contains a number of vitamins, including A, C and E, as well as trace elements and amino acids. It can help to contribute to healthy, glowing skin and has been said to improve certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.
Other treatments in the 25-minute range include the ishga Express Facial, comprising a professional cleanse, tone and moisturise with; ishga Salt & Oil Scrub, whose Hebridean scrub and body wrap is said to detoxify and nourish the skin, and ishga Foot Recovery, which combines a Scottish seaweed foot scrub, foot massage, and cooling foot mask.
The only problem is, after 25 minutes of relaxation and therapeutic bliss, you really don’t want to go back to work! Nevertheless, we think this is a great addition to The Spa’s treatment portfolio, which also includes a range of OSKIA facials and OPI ProSpa manicures, pedicures and nail treatments. And we love the fact that you can mix and match and try them all! You can create a bespoke spa experience, for example, and bolt on as many treatments as you like.
Holistic Scotland Magazine recommends the Champagne Spa experience, which includes a 55-minute treatment and a 25-minute treatment plus lunch or Twilight Tea in The Garden and a glass of champagne. And, of course, you can take advantage of the pool, sauna and steam room while you’re there.
Everybody should put ‘24 hours outdoors’ on their list of New Year resolutions.
That’s according to the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018, whose new research has found that those who camp are happier, healthier, less stressed, and spend more quality time with family and friends.
Research conducted by The Camping and Caravanning Club revealed that 93% of campers agree with the notion that camping makes people feel happier. Nearly half of non-campers also agreed. 97% of campers said camping generates happy memories, while 76% of campers are satisfied with their quality of life compared to just 59% of non-campers. 70% of campers believe camping and caravanning is a good way to make new friends, of which 40% said they’ve made ‘friends for life’. Those who camp say it’s a great social leveller and is accessible to everyone regardless of income.
With The World Health Organisation estimating depression-related illnesses will become the greatest source of ill-health by 2020^, 85% of adult campers feel camping can make individuals healthier and almost half think it should be prescribed on the NHS. Campers aged 55 and over are more likely to regard themselves as fit and healthy for their age than non-campers. 79% of youngsters who have never camped say they would like to go camping and one in three believe camping would make them healthier.
Studies also show that families who camp together have better relationships, with eight in ten campers agreeing that camping brings families closer: 91% of children say spending time exploring the outdoors with a parent would make them feel happy. Children who have camped are significantly more likely to have experienced activities such as kite flying, tree climbing, den-making, and cooking on a campfire.
The campaign encouraging all to spend ‘24 hours outdoors’ in 2018 is endorsed by the world’s greatest living explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who will appear alongside other celebrities at the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018.
Sir Ranulph said: “With the New Year upon us, there’s never been a better time to take charge of your mental health, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to spend more time outdoors in the fresh air. No matter your age, everyone can add a little adventure to their life, but don’t feel you have to commit to long expeditions or wild escapades, a night spent in the garden can work just as well and is also a lot of fun!”
Also supporting the initiative is female-adventurer Anna McNuff, who added: “Getting outside doesn’t have to mean embarking on arduous mountain treks or cycling for hundreds of miles. Heading to your local hill to watch the sun go down, taking a Sunday walk through the woods or spending an afternoon at the local park can do the trick too. All these things will do wonders for your physical and mental health.”
73% of all adults say camping is something every child should experience, with 46% of campers believing camping improves children’s behaviour. Parents who take children camping cite the top benefits as kids’ freedom within a safe environment, an escape from technology and enjoying a simple life outdoors. Other benefits include family interaction, developing community values and social skills as well as the opportunity to explore new places and cultural attractions.
Parents also feel that camping and caravanning has a positive effect on their child’s education, with 82% saying camping broadens experiences, encourages them to think for themselves, gives insight into nature and topics such as geology and provides stories to share in class. 52% of tent users felt that cooking when camping had a positive effect on their child’s learning and 77% of campers say camping introduces new skills. 60% of non-campers also acknowledged this to be true.
The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018 takes place at Birmingham’s NEC from 20 to 25 February and showcases the latest in leisure vehicles, camping, caravan holiday homes and lodges, as well as must-have accessories. Tickets are on sale now.