Scotland delivers an array of incredible outdoor activities. Get active with one of Scotland’s many walking festivals and outdoor events, explore Scotland by bike or on foot on one of Scotland’s Great Trails, or witness whales languishing in the western waters of Mull. Whatever your tastes, Scotland is the perfect destination of any outdoor enthusiast.
Mountain Biking in Scotland
Scotland is a world-class destination with something to offer all mountain bikers, from purpose-built trails to natural, wild routes amongst the great landscapes. Families and adults looking for an introduction to the sport can hire bikes here and get some introductory tuition to the sport at an excellent range of mountain biking trails, centres and parks with well-maintained pathways and manmade jumps to practice on. Scotland is home to undulating trails with amazing climbs and descents on both double and single track. Many of Scotland’s trails are natural and ‘rustic’ ancient paths and ‘passes’ where you can choose your own route through this wild and rugged landscape. Some popular mountain biking trails for avid bikers include:
- Glentress, near Peebles – Located just an hour away from Edinburgh, this popular mountain bike trail offers a combination of easy routes for beginners and challenging routes for experts.
- Kirroughtree, in Galloway – Kirroughtree has a multitude of mountain biking trails for all kinds of bikers, from gentle routes to challenging ones for the pros.
- Forest of Ae, near Dumfries – Ae offers up an eclectic variety of blue, green and red grade trails, for different mountain biking skill levels.
- Mabie, near Dumfries – From beginners through to experienced mountain bikers, different skill trails are available in Mabie.
- Dalbeattie, near Dumfries – Dalbeattie offers a beautiful range of technical trails, coastal fringing views and challenges for all kinds of mountain bikers.
- Innerleithen, near Peebles – Well-known for offering 4 downhill trails, Innerleithen is a dream location for mountain bikers seeking grand adventures in Scotland.
- Isle of Arran – Isle of Arran offers many mountain biking trails that are mostly rough and require skilled handling.
- Gypsy Glen, near Innerleithen – The 20km Gypsy Glenn offers tough ascents through the bracken and heather, and showcases breathtaking views from the Kirkhope Law summit.
Climb or Ski On Ben Nevis
If you’re looking for serious adventure, try climbing or skiing on Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. Grab some experienced friends and climb the mountain via the tourist path. For more of a challenge, hire a guide and tackle Ben Nevis from its more demanding side via Carn Mor Dearg arête.
An estimated 125,000 complete and 100,000 partial ascents occur on Ben Nevis every year, with walkers using the well-constructed Mountain Track from the southern side of the mountain. Climbers and mountaineers will particularly be interested in the 600-metre high cliffs facing the north. These are some of the highest cliffs in the UK and offer some of the best rock climbs at different levels of difficulty. The summit, at 1,344.527 metres above sea level, unusual for a mountain in Scotland, features the ruins of a building, an observatory, which was permanently staffed from 1883 until its closure in 1904.
The Highland Fling
If you fancy getting your adrenaline pumping with the thrill of a bungee jump, fear not, you do not have to cross the world to experience such a thrill. Head to Perthshire’s ancient woodlands and try out the Highland Fling, the UK’s first static bridge bungee jump! Experience the feeling of freefall as you plunge 40 metres towards the magnificent River Garry.
The Highland Fling Bungee jump is a once-in-a-lifetime free-fall experience of 40 metres towards water from a bridge Bungee jump platform. An airborne flight of a few seconds at over 50 mph before a special Bungee jump cord springs you back to normal, upright, life. The jump takes place near to the famous site of the Battle of Killiecrankie. A specially constructed bungee jump platform is suspended below the Garry Bridge over the beautiful River Garry near Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire, Scotland. This is perfect for free-spirits, thrill seekers, outdoor enthusiasts, sports enthusiasts and adrenaline-lovers.
Diving At Scapa Flow
Scotland is one of the top ten diving destinations in the world due to the wreckage of an entire German fleet sunk at Scapa Flow in the Orkney islands in 1918. You won’t believe your eyes as you uncover battleships, merchant trawlers and German ships in these sheltered waters, one of the most exciting dive sites in the world!
Scapa Flow ranks as one of the world’s top diving destinations, but many people who will never even get their feet wet are fascinated with what lies beneath its surface. With a world-class wreck resource set in the rugged beauty of the Orkney landscape, visiting Scapa Flow is an unparalleled experience. Some wrecks offer a fantastic introduction to wreck diving, others a stimulating challenge for technical divers.
Walk the West Highland Way
Break out those hiking boots and explore the West Highland Way – a tremendous 154 kilometre route that runs from Loch Lomond to Fort William. Along the way you will experience some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery including the atmospheric Glen Coe and the imposing summit of Buachaille Etive Mor.
Splash White Water Rafting
Many adventure seekers come to Scotland to enjoy the excitement of the country’s famous white water rivers. Perthshire based Splash White Water Rafting is the only provider of river bugging in Europe. Climb aboard one of the armchair-style inflatable bugs and bump your way down the river – a must do on any adventurer’s list!
The West Highland Way route is spectacular, following the banks of Loch Lomond, across the wilderness of Rannoch Moor and into the breathtaking beauty of Glencoe and the very heart of the Scottish Highlands. The West Highland Way ends close to the foot of Ben Nevis, whose climb can make a wonderful addition to your trip.
Charter A Converted Fishing Trawler
The family-owned Majestic Line has converted two jaunty fishing trawlers into luxurious small passenger cruisers with just six cabins each. This year they’re also adding a third bespoke vessel. You can charter one of the boats for your own private cruise around the western isles. Lie wrapped in a tartan rug on the old-style wooden loungers on the deck as you chug across the waves, curl up with a book in the cosy galley and tuck into slap-up gourmet dinners.
Complete The North Coast 500
Billed as ‘Scotland’s answer to Route 66’, the route covers over 800 kilometres of the coast of the northern Highlands, which stunning beaches, idyllic coastline views and delicious food & drink stops (such as Cocoa Mountain in Durness – yum). So, make like Thelma & Louise (without the ending, obviously….) and get your best pals together for the ultimate Scottish road trip.
The route starts in the northern city of Inverness, weaves along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the bustling towns of Torridon and Ullapool. From there, you’ll venture to some of the most northerly coastal points in Scotland, passing by Caithness and John o’ Groats before heading south again through Dingwall and finally back to Inverness.