What to do at Forest Holidays, Strathyre

I wrote recently about the beautiful cabin we stayed in during our break in the Trossachs of Scotland. Though the accommodation was luxurious, it wasn’t the only highlight of our holiday. We love being outdoors as a family and the location in Strathyre was just perfect for us.

We spent the first evening settling into our home for the long weekend, watching films on the sleek TV and enjoying the spectacular view from the cabin. After a long week at work and school it was a very welcome opportunity to truly relax.

Saturday and Sunday were a whole different ball game though. After our evening of doing very little we were refreshed and ready to get out and experience what Forest Holidays has to offer. There are several different types of activity on offer, ranging from guided evening walks suitable for all the family to in-house spa treatments which are perfect for an anniversary getaway or a Mother’s Day treat.

We booked ourselves on to the Forest Ranger walk and made our way down to The Retreat, the main meeting place, to meet our guide.

Cue, Jack Black McGregor.

Jack is one of the happiest people I think I’ve ever met. He is also one of the most interesting. With his military background he certainly knows a thing or two about survival and his guided tour of the forest taught us far more than we imagined we’d learn on the walk. Adults and children alike listened intently to quick yet detailed lessons on the uses of wild plants, on how to collect and purify water for drinking and on how to make shelter in an emergency. The children learned how to start a fire and had great fun toasting marshmallows and drinking pine needle tea. Jack is such a pleasant and knowledgeable guide and he really did make our forest walk something to remember.

Forest walk - water

A tad wet after our forest adventure we hopped straight into the hot tub back at the cabin and waited for night time to creep in. Louis is a huge fan of bats so we waited for dusk and took another walk with his bat detector. There didn’t seem to be many around, but he did catch the sounds of one or two so he was happy enough with that. Suffice to say, after our day of forest based activity we slept rather well.

view from mountain

Our last full day in Strathyre can be best described as ‘mixed’, though I only mean the weather! We awoke to a clear blue sky and really rather warm sunshine, so we packed a lunch and set off to walk up Ben Ledi, one of the mountains looming over the Forest Holidays site. We stopped many times on the way up; to look at the view, to spot red deer (we did manage a glimpse of one), and to rest little legs. Eventually we made it to a resting place not too far from the summit and had our lunch.

Lunch on a mountain in Scotland, overlooking a loch and drenched in sunshine is a pretty spectacular way to spend your time.

mountain picnic

As we discussed whether or not we should continue up to the summit or head back down the mountain, the first drops of rain began to fall and made our decision for us. Though it had taken three hours or so to get to our highest point, it took only an hour to get back to the warm and dry haven of our cabin. We were completely drenched through to our skin but not one of us was complaining, because that’s just Scottish weather for you! We just treated it as another excuse to get into the hot tub.

As our last morning in Strathyre arrived, we were genuinely reluctant to leave. Being there had been a true escape from the stresses of everyday life and we wanted to stay longer. Alas, work and school aren’t optional for us so off home we went, but I have a very strong suspicion we haven’t seen the last of Forest Holidays.

*Disclaimer: we were invited to stay with Forest Holidays in order to review the experience. All thoughts are my own.

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