A Sense of Renewal

One of the guests on our Orkney Creative Retreat in November 2021 also happens to be features editor at the US-based travel publication International Travel News. While she’s already checking out our 2022 programme to pick her next trip she’s kindly written an article on her Wild at Art experience for the magazine’s latest edition.

I love her description of how the experience made her feel. What she describes is exactly what my co-host, photographer Margaret Soraya, and I had in mind when we planned the retreat. Mission accomplished – we love happy guests!

International Travel News article


Coming soon – artist retreat space for hire

From Spring 2022 I’ll be offering a fantastic new opportunity – an art studio for holiday hire!

I’ve recently purchased a small property right on the seashore in my village in Argyll (West of Scotland). The space will become a retreat space for artists from all other world to use. It will consist of a small working studio with sea views, a bedroom for 1-2 guests, a kitchen and a shower room – all tastefully furnished and well-equipped.

At the moment it’s still a building site, but I’ll add photos to this page once the project is taking shape.

Take some time out to create and let Scotland’s scenery inspire your work. Come and paint, draw, write, sculpt or whatever your thing is! Oh, and just across the street there’s a fab spot for open water swimming :).

Sign up for the Wild at Art newsletter to be among the first to know when more detailed information – including prices and how to book – becomes available. Sign up here

See you soon!

Ute x

Create a travel journal in our new online workshop

Wild at Art creative experiences are about being and spending time in a location. About getting this special sense of place and really connecting with its nature and people. About seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling. That’s why we’ve been reluctant to follow the huge trend to moving our activities online.

But when Cassandra Barron, an excellent and inspiring bookbinder based in Edinburgh, approached me about offering an online workshop where creative travellers can make their own, personalised and refillable travel journals from scratch, I loved the idea! It’s the ideal preparation for travelling again, and a very enjoyable one as well!

Tuition is via a live zoom session followed by video tutorials which you can work through at your own pace. You’ll get a kit with all tools and materials – including a couple of Scottish goodies to fuel your crafting – posted to you in advance.

The finished book will be a great travel companion for holding your travel stories, notes, sketches, treasures as well as your travel documents. And you can use the tools and newly acquired bookbinding skills to make more travel journals for your creative friends :).

Places are limited, so make sure you secure yours!

Find out more


We’re good to go!

Good to Go Industry Standard logo

We’re pleased to let you know that we’re holding the Good to Go industry standard, which has been created across all four nations in the UK to show that we as a business have followed the government and industry guidelines, have a risk assessment in place and a process to maintain
cleanliness and aid social distancing.

You can download our We’re Good to Go certificate here.

Art experiences during Covid-19

Bech in Argyll

Artist Karen Beauchamp led a week-long residential art retreat at her studio on the Kintyre Peninsula in September. It was the first event since before the Covid crisis. So, with all the precautions that needed to be in place to keep everyone safe – was it as enjoyable as these art weeks usually are? I asked host Karen and two of her guests how it felt to them.

Karen on hosting the retreat

“Well – the group were delightful and quite varied in their needs, but as we specialise in individual teaching that was not the challenge as much as remembering to be socially distant! We managed very well as the studio is large and airy and each person had their own table and set of equipment.

We had cleaning materials and hand sanitiser at various points around the house for general use. Also, each of the guests had their own bathroom.

I changed the eating arrangements so we all sat at the really large dining table in the entrance hall, and consequently socially distant. Food was either served individually ready plated up or on a trolly for self service. Each person was responsible for placing their dishes on the trolly for taking to the dishwasher.

There were a few juggling acts but on the whole it worked well.

Working outside of course was not a problem especially as the weather was quite breezy. We managed a picnic and food was in individual portions and we had colour coded cups, all very jolly !

Enough about Covid – the art course went very well and I hope I gave guests another insight into their particular media. They all managed a number of pieces and exploratory sketches together with colour samples and gathered pebbles, driftwood and dried seaweed for reference.

I really enjoyed the week and was stimulated by the results!”

What guests said

No safety concerns before attending 

“I follow a fairly strict safety regime and was confident prior to attending the week that the correct safety measures would be in place. These included having a room and bathroom to myself, eating and socialising arrangements, and art demonstrations/ work in the studio and outside.

How it felt for me

I was comfortable with all the arrangements in place. The appropriate measures were adhered to throughout the week and I did not consider my safety was compromised.

Impact on enjoyment of the week

I enjoyed the week greatly and consider it worked well in the format dictated by Covid.That meant that there were only three guests and that social distancing was necessary at all times. I have little doubt the enjoyment of the holiday would have been even greater if the group had been larger and relaxation easier. So saying I was delighted to have attended this course in person.”

What I got out of it

It provided an opportunity to attend an art course in the home and studio of a talented design artist in a lovely rural setting, to meet fellow painters, to enjoy the delights of the location and excellent food with a local bias. I personally benefited from the guidance given on how to approach drawing and painting out of doors. The course certainly broadened my understanding of styles , technique and materials.

Creative enjoyment wins

The last 9 months have taught us all these new and different ways of behaving in each others’ company – keeping the distance, being suspicious of every surface that has, or might have, been touched by someone else etc. Who would have thought a year ago that this would become the new normal, at least for the foreseeable future! So, running a week-long, fully catered residential retreat was a somewhat brave undertaking that required a lot more detailed planning in terms of practicalities than usual.

However, the feedback showed it was very much worth the effort and it’s difficult to beat the creative spirit in us that wants to connect, create and enjoy. Having to cut group sizes down to very small numbers wouldn’t be financially viable for hosts in the longer run, but both the host and guests greatly valued the time spent together in Argyll’s spectacular landscapes, in the studio and of course at the dining table.

The current tightened restrictions obviously have put leisure travel temporarily on hold again. But we WILL be able to travel and gather again, and chances are you’ll be in need of some creative inspiration in Scotland once things start to ease.

Karen also offers private art retreats at her studio on the Kintyre peninsula in Argyll – find out more.


Book with confidence

Beach at Port of Ness, Lewis

We understand that in these uncertain times flexibility is key when making any travel plans for the future and we want to make sure our guests can book with confidence.

Easy registration

Considering the ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine rules we temporarily offer an easy registration option until further notice. This is how it works:

  • You can register for any 2021 trip with a low, non-refundable registration fee of just GBP100 instead of the regular deposit stated in the description. The registration fee will later count as credit towards the full cost of the trip.
  • After reviewing the situation in Spring 2021 we will contact you with an update. If it looks likely that you’ll be able to travel and without having to quarantine, we will send an invoice for the remaining deposit. Otherwise we’ll discuss options with you.

We trust that you only register if you plan to join the trip providing travel from your country to the UK is possible and you wouldn’t have to quarantine once you get here.

Additional flexibility

All bookings made between 1 June 2020 and 31 March 2021 have additional flexibility in that you can move your booking up until 10 weeks before departure to any future date within 24 months of your original holiday date.

We also wish to reassure you that as a member of The Travel Vault all payments made to Wild at Art Ltd are protected through financial failure insurance and therefore as a customer you have 100% financial security.

So, enjoy browsing our upcoming trips and secure your place – click here to explore.