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art & culture • 5 days, 4 nights

Exploring Scotland Through Sound

art & culture • 5 days, 4 nights

Exploring Scotland Through Sound

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  • Group Size 12 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
  • Travel Style
    Communities Up Close
from $2,775 USD per person
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  • Implemented expansive new safety protocols
  • Reduced trip deposits to just $100
  • Made it easier than ever to reschedule your trip
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Trip Overview

Atlas Obscura is joining forces with Vacation With An Artist (VAWAA) to offer you a unique immersion into making sound art in the Scottish Highlands.

Every sound has a life, a texture, a weight—and, if you listen closely, a story. Join Jamie Smith, a seasoned sound artist, and explore the western Scottish Highlands through its soundscapes and the stories they tell. As we roam along the beach and through the streets of Appin, we’ll collect sounds and take on new recording techniques, capturing everything from the rush of tumbling waterfalls to the chattering of forests full of birds. In the hidden church that doubles as our guide’s home-studio, we'll learn how to thoughtfully weave them together. 

Not only will you leave this trip with countless adventures under your belt, you'll also have a new, self-created soundworld—something scintillating, raw, and entirely immersive—that you can return to whenever you wish. You’ll have discovered a new way of listening to the world, casting an ear to the countless soundscapes that shape it.

Our partner, Vacation With An Artist (VAWAA): In order to curate this experience, we’ve partnered closely with Vacation With An Artist (VAWAA), a global platform to book creative vacations where you can learn directly from remarkable artists and makers around the world. From bamboo bicycle making in India and shoemaking in Czechia to natural textile dyeing in Vietnam, VAWAA is dedicated to preserving global arts and crafts and creating a new way to travel.

  • Mentorship from sound artists and engineers
  • Stunning coastal landscapes and vibrant soundscapes
  • Access to a beautiful recording studio
  • Exclusive rare whisky tasting
  • Expert talk on local marine soundscapes
  • Scottish Ceilidh dance and festivities


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.
Vacation with an Artist
In Partnership with Vacation with an Artist

Trip Leaders

Jamie Smith
Jamie is a composer and sound artist who builds soundworlds from words and voices, field recordings, and music. As a child perpetually in headphones, Jamie was fascinated by the voices and sounds that transported him to the farthest shores of his imagination. He’s spent the last 35 years following this passion wherever his ears take him. He is a participating artist at Vacation With An Artist (VAWAA), an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving global arts and crafts through apprenticeships with remarkable artists around the world.
Charlotte Smith
Charlotte has always been a hands-on kind of person—renovating houses and furniture, repurposing items, and making her world a fascinating and aesthetically pleasing place. She loves to sew, knit, and craft eye-catching and quirky upcycled items with a whimsical style. When she’s not hosting artist retreats and concerts in her home, Charlotte enjoys doing yoga, running, gardening, hiking, and beachcombing.

Additional Info


The listed price of the trip is per person based on double occupancy.

Traveling Solo?

You’re in good company. Solo travelers typically make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the core of our experiences, there’s a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. We have two options for you: 

(1) Shared Room (subject to the latest Covid-19 guidelines): You’ll be matched with another solo traveler of the same gender.

(2) Private Room: Have your own room, subject to availability, for a supplemental cost of $370. After booking your trip, please request a private room when you fill out your traveler information form and we’ll add the option to your booking and final balance. 


Accommodation during this trip will be in lodges at Appin Holiday Homes. Each lodge sleeps up to four people in two bedrooms—one double and one twin—with shared bathroom facilities, living area, and fully equipped kitchen. Parking is available on site. All lodges are located in a south-facing, lochside location overlooking Loch Creran, each with a balcony to take in the views. 

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins with a welcome dinner in Appin on Day 1. The train from Glasgow arrives in Oban at 3:30 p.m. where a minibus will take us on a scenic, half-hour drive along the water's edge to our loch-side lodges. You’ll have some time to settle in before we regroup and head to St. Mary’s for dinner. Our trip concludes in the morning on Day 5. If leaving Appin directly after our trip, we’ll help you transfer to Oban via minibus in time to catch the Glasgow train at 12:11 p.m. If you'd like to extend your trip, we’re happy to provide suggestions for things to do and see in the area on your own.

Activity Level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking two to four miles over the course of each day, spending time in nature, remaining on their feet for long periods of time, and sometimes walking on uneven and steep terrain, including broken ground. The workshop’s activities will be split between the recording studio and field recording locations such as the seashore, woodlands, and mountain valleys.


Transportation to and from evening activities, as well as field trips, will be provided via private minibus. You’ll be responsible for all other transport, including the daily travel to and from workshops at St. Mary’s (3 miles). As public transport is infrequent in this area and limited to major routes, we recommend renting a car (available in Oban, Edinburgh, and Glasgow) either as an individual or as a small group. This will allow you the chance to explore on your own time—in particular on Day 3 after lunch and for two of the evening meals. One of the local pubs and restaurants is within walking distance of the lodges, but all others will require a car. If you’d like to carpool, or if you need help arranging transportation, we’d be happy to help coordinate this in advance.

  • Expert guidance and mentorship from sound artists, composers, and sound engineers.
  • Accommodation throughout the trip at a comfortable holiday lodge.
  • All meals described in the itinerary.
  • Experienced local guides to accompany you for the duration of the trip, as well as special guests throughout.
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers, excited to explore all that Scotland has to offer!
  • 24/7 emergency assistance through Global Rescue.
  • Special access to unique places, hidden sites, and extraordinary experiences.
  • Private transfer from the train station in Oban to Appin.
  • Audio recording and editing equipment.
  • Transportation to and from Oban, Scotland.
  • Transportation from the lodge to the studio, unless included in the itinerary.
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations.
  • Airport transfers (recommendations for travel between the airport and our meeting point in Oslo will be provided).
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages.
  • Applying for a U.K. visa, if applicable.
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Trip FAQ

Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated, though in most cases ingredients can't be substituted or omitted from particular dishes. If you have a severe allergy, please contact us to find out if this is the right trip for you.

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Upcoming Departures

  • May 21–May 25, 2022
    from $2,775
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