Outlander star Richard Rankin reveals Scotland's best off-grid staycations in new interactive map - and you can win a free trip

Richard Rankin was the first to try a secret, off-grid location thanks to Shackleton Whisky - and you can win the chance to experience it too.

Published 16th May 2021
Updated 15 th May 2021

The Outlander star has shared his photography and experiences of an off-grid staycation, ahead of the launch of an interactive map that's showcasing a range of locations that are ideal for switching off.

Most of us have spent the last year using technology and screens to keep in touch with loved ones and do our jobs - so it's of no surprise that many people are now keen to book an off-grid holiday at home in order to really get away from it all.

Now that travel restrictions are easing across the country, those keen to find their tranquil holiday can do so via an interactive map that has been launched by The Shackleton Whisky - and the first person to try it out was Outlander's Richard Rankin.

According to a new study by OnePoll of 2,000 UK adults, Brits spent over eight hours per day glued to screens during lockdown and, now that we can travel within the country again, over a third (34 per cent) are looking for remote staycations with no interruptions from technology.

The map will give people the chance to swap months of video calls, social media, and emails, for uninterrupted, signal-free getaways at forest cabins, tree-house retreats, and accommodation only accessible by boat or long hikes.

Locations on the map have been chosen because they receive poor or no 3G, 4G or 5G signal within the surrounding area, meaning guests can really switch off.

For those looking for something extra off-grid, The Shackleton Whisky has created a free private experience, set up at a hidden, remote location.

Guests of this secret offering will only find out where they’re going after booking for free via Instagram - and will then have to undertake a mini-adventure to get there. 

The retreat will have no phone signal or electricity, dinner will be locally foraged and prepared on an open fire and there will be opportunities for paddle boarding, hiking and biking.

It will also feature its own, well-stocked, Shackleton whisky bar. 

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Outlander star, Richard Rankin, was the first to stay at the secret location as he took a well-earned switch-off from filming season six of the popular show - and now Shackleton whisky are giving groups of up to six the chance to book a free stay through the brand’s Instagram page

Kenny Nicholson, head of modern spirits at Shackleton Whisky, said: The Shackleton Whisky is inspired by Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the greatest explorers in history.

"He believed that it's in our nature to explore and venture out into the great unknown.

"After more than a year being stuck indoors, our need to get in touch with our adventurous side and to enjoy quality time with others has never been stronger.”

“When we step outside and put our phones down, we free ourselves of distractions - and that’s why we wanted to give people the chance to adventure off grid through these staycations this year.”

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Richard Rankin added: “My screen time went through the roof over the last year. Everything had to be done on video calls – from work to seeing family and friends.

“But now that travel restrictions are lifting, the opportunity to get offline is ideal - no signal, no Wi-Fi; just great chat and great whisky.

"For me, The Shackleton Whisky’s off-grid getaway was the perfect balance of gritty adventure, relaxation, and the chance to explore the great outdoors and snap some of my own photos.”

Shackleton Whisky’s Go-Off-Grid map first launched in 2019 featuring the UK’s best offline locations for walks or hikes.

To view those, as well as Britain’s best off-grid retreats, click here

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Scottish retreats which feature on the map

  • Guardswell Farm - An off-grid haven for those who love stargazing, peaceful surroundings, and a chance to watch the world go by.
  • The Lazy Duck  - ‘Come home to slow living’ - the Lazy Duck is a 25 year old organically grown retreat that has ecology and wellbeing at its core.
  • Lower Polnish - "Recently renovated with a glass extension and panoramic views - who needs neighbours when you have a place to stay like this.
  • Pilot Panther - A restored 1950’s Pilot Panther showman’s wagon - with an authentic retro vibe and wood-burner, the wagon is a cosy getaway with ever-changing stunning views over Loch Voil.
  • Laggan - This place is seriously off-grid - think paraffin lamps, gas cooker, and fridge. It's only readily accessible by boat - previous boating skills essential.
  • Treehouse - A lodge in a beautiful woodland setting. It features a high level deck and stunning views over the Cairngorm Mountains.
  • Sanderling Cottage - Sanderling offers fantastic access to some splendid coastal hikes, wonderful woodland walks, and other spots of untouched countryside. 

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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