The Benmore Estate is running six luxury breaks in the spring and summer of 2021 to help people further the passions that they've been pursuing during the lockdown of 2020.
The Prince of Wales wrote a beautiful and heartfelt article in Country Life this week highlighting many of the ways in which the coronavirus has changed how we see the world. Amid the gloom and suffering there are countless tales of selflessness, courage and joy lifting our hearts; who will ever forget Captain Tom’s marvellous fund raising efforts? Or the sight of millions of people clapping their appreciation for key workers?
Life will get back to some kind of normal — and hopefully before too long — but one thing that we must hold on to as it does is the refusal to take things for granted, and the determination to make the most of our lives. In that vein, it’s inspiring to see initiatives such as the one which has been put together by the Benmore Estate, on the Isle of Mull.
Most of us have had far more time in 2020 to indulge in our passions, and Benmore are helping people use this momentum to keep things going as thoughts turn to 2021. They’ve teamed up with some of Scotland’s leading photographers, artists and tour guides to offer all-inclusive weeks at Knock House, their classic West Highland sporting lodge.
Guests will enjoy a bespoke itinerary created with the help of the experts and the estate staff to find the best way to immerse themselves in the wilderness of Scotland and further their hobbies and interests. And, of course, they’ll be able to do so while enjoying six nights in luxury at a truly beautiful Highland lodge in one of the most picturesque spots on the planet.
There are six different options available — full details (and downloadable brochures) are on the Benmore website, but here are a few details on each to whet your appetite:
Painting with Johnathan Shearer
24th April – 1st May 2021. 10 places available, £1,495 per person.
‘I hope to convey the changing seasons in the highlands. The hue of the earth through wet and dry days, the gathering and fleeting clouds working their dramatic transformation on the mountains, the play of the elements in the wild places,’ writes artist Johnathan Shearer of the week at Benmore which he’ll be hosting in April next year.
Among the activities on offer during the week with this award-winning international artist are tuition in everything from charcoals to oil paints, the exploration of a private island and guided trips to spectacular spots to create your own masterpieces.
Health & Wellbeing
9th-15th May 2021. 10 places available, £1,295 per person.
As well as the yoga, mindfulness and wellbeing sessions you’d expect of such a holiday, there are some truly unique options for those taking up this week. Top of that list is a trip in the estate’s 46ft Targa motor launch to take you to the places on Mull untouched by the tourist trail, for a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery. You can even experience a wild swim, a profoundly restorative experience providing a sense of elation and relaxation that soothes aching muscles, relieves depression and boosts the immune system.
Walking & Wildlife
23rd-29th May 2021. 10 places available, £1,295 per person.
Seasoned walking expert Tony McLean is the guide on hand for this week of walking and climbing among the wild and untamed landscape of the Isle of Mull and surrounding islands. The beaches of Iona, Fingal’s Cave and a hike to the summit of Ben More — Mull’s highest peak — are all on the itinerary.
Photography with Colin Prior
30th May – 5th June 2021. 10 places available, £1,495 per person.
Colin Prior has photographed everywhere from the Argentinian Pampas to the Australian Outback, but is best known for his work in Scotland, not least through his books Highland Wilderness and Scotland — The Wild Places. ‘My interest in photography did not begin with books or mentors,’ he explains, ‘but evolved through a fascination with the natural world that shaped all parts of my life and brought them together.’
Colin’s itinerary will take guests all across the island and out to sea on the Estate’s boat, as well as tips, tutorials and an in-depth feedback session to help people improve their own photography.
Exploring Mull & Iona
2nd-8th May 2021. 10 places available, £1,295 per person.
From the man-made magnificence of Duart Castle to the natural majesty of Fingal’s Cave, this week-long tour of the area lets you make the most of your time at the Benmore Estate’s 32,000 acres — complete with hidden lochs, ancient and native woodland — as well as many beautiful nearby spots. There’s the charm of Tobermory, the caves that dot the coastline, mountains and beaches and trips to uninhabited islands where puffin colonies, dolphins and sea eagles roam freely.
Birds & Botany
13th-19th June 2021. 10 places available, £1,295 per person.
From the white tailed sea eagle — Britain’s largest bird of prey — to golden eagles, divers, merlins, peregrines, buzzards, hen harriers, goldcrests, warblers, oystercatchers and, of course puffins, Mull and its surrounding islands are a bird watcher’s dream, with beaches, lochs, cliffs, mountains and nooks to explore. The plant life is equally enthralling, with almost 6,000 different species from ancient ferns to the 13 different types of orchid. This week focusing on the flora and fauna of this amazing area promises to be truly unforgettable.
Find out more about all these trips at www.benmoreestate.co.uk.