Regenerative Travel. How Can We Give Back More Than We Get?

27th October 2021

By Eloise Leeson

Sustainable. Environmentally-friendly. Green. Responsible. Regenerative. Are these words that come to mind when you think about travelling or tourism?

We’re often used to thinking of travel as a temporary, finite experience – and yet it’s one that has a profound, long-lasting impact on people, places, and the planet.

As the world begins to open, many of us are asking: how can we visit other communities and nations in a more responsible, and respectful way?

A new philosophy of regenerative travel may have the answer. But what does regenerative travel actually mean? And what does it mean for a country like Scotland?

Image by Trees for Life

While there’s no globally accepted singular definition, regenerative tourism is strongly aligned with the belief that the future of travel has to be one where travelling means that we give back more than we take out.

Regenerative travel was discussed at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021.  Among many other things, this important conference ensured that Scotland continues to be synonymous with the fight against climate change.

A number of Scottish initiatives, such as the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, are calling on ministers to commit to making Scotland the world’s first Rewilding Nation. Rewilding is an approach and philosophy that works with nature – not against it – to help landscapes and seascapes recover and flourish.

This holistic process aims to restore biodiversity – often cited as our only way out of the climate crisis – to our rivers, seas, forests, wetlands, grasslands, peatlands, and more.

As with so many things, big changes happen when the consumer demand for them increases. When more and more travellers choose regenerative tourism (which often includes rewilding principles), the positive impact of this philosophy will be more widely felt.

Image by Sarah Johnson

One of the joys of what we do here at Away from the Ordinary is helping our clients discover truly hidden gems, out of the way places, and small Scottish businesses, partnering with local guides to do so.

We work with initiatives such as Trees for Life, and do a number of other things to help our guests make their visit to Scotland one that protects, gives back to, and nurtures our land and those who live there.

When introducing people to the realm of regenerative possibilities, one of the first ways we do this is to show them the amazing work of the Alladale Wilderness Reserve.

Image from Alladale Wilderness Reserve

This stunning lodge is at the forefront of European conservation efforts and is devoted to helping people discover the wild side of the Highlands through their rewilding and regeneration efforts.

Whether you opt to stay in the Victorian manor itself or retreat to Deanich Lodge or Ghillie’s Rest cottage, the 100km reserve offers you so much more than stunning scenic views (although they have those a-plenty!).

You can soak up the luxuries of peace, quiet, and space, or indulge in delicious meals prepared by their on-site chef – with produce picked from their very own aquaponic gardens.

Image from Alladale Wilderness Reserve

The term ‘aquaponics’ was created to designate the raising of fish and plants in one interconnected soils system, and solves the major problems presented with both freshwater aquaculture and hydroponics.

This ground-breaking approach supplies about 90% of the fish, vegetables and herbs used in their guest menu, and Alladale encourages you to pick your own ingredients too. Their chef acts as your guide as you explore and forage in Scotland’s natural larder.

If the idea of getting personally involved with rewilding and regenerating Scotland’s natural environment appeals to you, you can join also in with Alladale’s incredible tree-planting initiative.

This vital work supports native species like the red squirrel and Scottish wildcat, who like to create sheltered dens in forested areas.

Image from Lundies House

But it’s not just Alladale who are setting an example for regenerative tourism. With Away from the Ordinary, you can also discover Lundies House – tucked away to the far north of the Highlands.

Lundies House is part of the Wildland project, an ambitious 200-year plan that is focused on investing in the restoration of our native habitat and working with local people, communities, businesses to do so.

Their aim is to support natural Scottish habitats, protect wildlife, and reverse the erosion of many ecological processes across a vast area of Scotland – letting nature heal, grow, and thrive.

Effortlessly blending iconic, luxurious accommodation with a strong ecological ethos, Lundies House is a delight for all your senses. From sustainably caught seafood to hyper-local herbs snipped from their kitchen garden, their chefs curate menus that are a real reflection of what’s in season.

Image from The Fife Arms

Head south to the Cairngorms National Park and experience the warm welcome of The Fife Arms hotel with Away from the Ordinary.

As with too many beautiful, historical buildings, The Fife Arms was formerly unoccupied – standing empty and neglected. But, in just a few years, its new owners have lovingly restored it to its full, five-star glory.

In the true spirit of giving back more than you get, The Fife Arms’ team also spearhead and manage multiple local conservation projects, establishing a Wild Resources department that ensures they implement sustainable practices and continuously reduce their impact on the landscape.

These projects include work like planting 140,000 trees along the banks of River Dee to support the repopulation of British freshwater ‘pearl’ mussels, washed away with a storm several years ago.

Image by Steve Neal – Visit Cairngorms

At Away from the Ordinary, we are always looking for new green partners and ways to improve. And although regenerative travel is perhaps only just starting to take hold in the common consciousness, one thing is certain – we really can give back more than we get when we visit other places

By choosing regenerative travel, you are nurturing the natural beauty, stunning wildlife, and local communities of Scotland with every trip you take.

Read more:

Mindfulness and Travel

Scotland’s Amazing Sealife