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The Living Mountain Retreat
15th - 19th April 2024

'Yet often the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him.'


Nan Shepherd

Of walking in the Cairngorms, Nan Shepherd once said 'my eyes were in my feet'. For those who have experienced that feeling, you will know that walking is not just a means of travel but, when walking as Nan did, a guide within itself. On this retreat to the Cairngorms National Park, we will place foot over foot, using Nan's words to step us both outside of ourselves and deeper within. We will come together in community; walking, cooking, and circling together. Being held by this breathtaking landscape and connecting to sound, silence and wilderness. With the Cairngorms as our guide we hope to discover, as Nan did, that 'to aim for the highest point is not the only way to climb a mountain'. 

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The Details

Come write rest and retreat with us in the wilds of The Cairngorms National Park, Scotland. Over five days and four nights we will reconnect with the land, ourselves and each other through sound, silence, wanderings, wonderings and the writings of Nan Shepherd.

What to expect:

  • 4 nights accommodation close to Nethy Bridge within the Cairngorms National Park

  • Guided walking in the Cairngorms National Park led by a global expedition leader

  • Gentle standing yoga and Qigong

  • Nourishing gong baths

  • Sound and vibration

  • Writing and circling

  • Exploration of self, landscape and community through Nan Shepherds' book The Living Mountain.

  • Medicine walk

  • Hot tub

  • Outdoor Shower

  • Wild Swimming

  • Plenty of time for personal reflection

  • Meditation

  • Silence

  • Breathtaking wild landscapes

  • A chance to be in community with other adventurous soulful women


Our exclusive use accommodation has an incredible location within The Cairngorms National Park itself. An Cala is a haven, surrounded by trees, and permeated by the sounds of the river.  It has the luxury of an outside hot tub and outside shower on the big private deck overlooking the river, a generous kitchen and dining area, four bathrooms and two cosy wood fires.


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Your Hosts


Led by adventurer, conservationist and global expedition leader Catherine Edsell and gong practitioner, writer and poet Katie Flaxman, you are in good hands.  Catherine and Katie met when Katie attended Catherine's transformational adventure The Matriarch Adventure and really did leave forever changed. They bonded over their mutual love of the natural world, walking, writing and poetry.

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An adventurer, conservationist and global expedition leader with over 20 years’ experience, Catherine has worked in some of the remotest areas of the planet. 

She is a Qualified Field Guide of Southern Africa, a PADI Divemaster, and Reef Check trainer, Day Skipper, yoga teacher, TEDx Speaker, published author, ambassador for EHRA supporting endangered desert adapted elephants and creator of transformational extreme wilderness expedition The Matriarch Adventure,.

She has worked alongside some of the worlds most pioneering biodiversity scientists in an effort to further our understanding of the natural world.  

An experienced space holder for women, she is a guide in every sense of the word.




A poet, writer and qualified gong practitioner, Katie is a sensitive, wild introvert with a deep love of the natural world.

She is a lecturer, member of the College of Sound Healing, writer's group facilitator, regular contributor to several publications and has written many meditations published across various platforms including Insight Timer with over many thousands of plays. 

She works softly with poetry, words, sound, vibration and silence to create brave spaces for women to connect with themselves.



Nan Shepherd

In the words of Nan Shepherd 'to aim for the highest point is not the only way to climb a mountain'. Nan was not only a remarkable writer but one of the UK's first true localists. She connected with the landscape of The Cairngorm's so deeply that it also slowly unlocked a doorway to herself. As was her way, she travelled it up, down, sideways and even at times upside down, noticing its nuances, seasons, patterns and moods. On this adventure together we want to offer both challenge and softness, community and connection. Through contact with nature, sound, vibration, words and movement we hope to bring to our own inner landscapes, some of what Nan discovered in this wild and remarkable place.




King Room, Single Occupancy £945*

Twin Room, Shared Occupancy £645

*If travelling with a friend or companion double rooms may be rented with dual occupancy at £645 per person based on two people sharing a bed.

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