Horses galloping on the beach from the Wilder ways business supported by HIE

Argyll firm creates more wild ways for adventure tourism

Published: 05/11/2019

Plans by an adventure tourism company in Argyll to create more choice for visitors and extend to year-round operations, have secured a £70,000 contribution from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Horses and riders from Wilder ways trekking, a business supported by HIE
Cara Gelati and Nikki Dayton of Wilder Ways, with Uisge and Ava

Wilder Ways has been offering bespoke horse riding adventures and holidays since 2015 in rural Argyll and other parts of western Scotland.

After buying Glen Kerran Farm in Kintyre as its home base, it now plans to develop adventure tourism facilities, including new stables, an indoor arena and guest accommodation.

The purchase of this farm and their £250,000 development project will enable Wilder Ways to extend the season into the winter months and introduce new adventure holiday products, supporting year-round tourism and employment.

The investment is expected to more than double the company’s turnover within three years, secure four full time jobs and create two additional part time posts.

It will also cut emissions through less travel, while the horses will be used for conservation grazing to help improve local wildlife habitats.

Morag Goodfellow, HIE area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said:

“This project will help enhance Kintyre’s appeal internationally as an adventure tourism destination. It will create a valuable local venue for sport and leisure. And a move to year-round operations will strengthen job security for employees.

“The environmental benefits of the project are also important as Scotland moves towards an economy based on net zero emissions.

“We are very pleased to be able to confirm our support and look forward to working with Wilder Ways as they progress their plans.”

More than 200,000 trips a year are made to the Highlands and Islands for horse riding and related activities, generating an estimated £15m expenditure.

A study commissioned by the British Horse Society Scotland estimated that there are more than 83,000 horses in Scotland, contributing £326m to the country’s economy.

More than half of Wilder Ways turnover is from overseas customers.

Cara Gelati, director of Wilder Ways, said:

“After three years of operating holidays on a pop-up basis we are thrilled to have a permanent base in Kintyre. The area offers spectacular off-road riding, which we know will draw in visitors who want to ride on the wild side. An indoor arena gives our business long-term sustainability, will allow us to ride year-round and introduce some really exciting new products such as horse-back archery and horsemanship clinics. We simply couldn’t have considered this project without HIE’s support.

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