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10 outdoors gems in OCUK

Written by Fiona

December 18 2015

If you follow my blog you will have seen my video diary of some of the great things to do in the Outdoor Capital UK (OCUK). Here I bring you my line up of 10 outdoor activity gems in the OCUK. #outdoorcapitaluk covers the Fort William and Lochaber area and is home to the UK’s highest mountain Ben Nevis.

Mountain biking

Fort William downhill mountain biker. Pic credit: Douglas Cook on Flickr

Fort William downhill mountain biker. Pic credit: Douglas Cook on Flickr

There is a huge range of off-road trails for mountain bikers, from world acclaimed downhill routes at Nevis Range to gentler trails at the neighbouring Leanachan Witch’s Trails. Abacus Mountain Guides offer skills sessions and guided mountain biking outings. Another company to check out is Rockhopper Scotland for mountain bike hire and their fun bike/cruise/canoe day trips. Rockhopper hire bikes from an outlet on the Caledonian Canal at Banavie, near Fort William, which is perfect for an easy going towpath bike ride.

Road cycling

Head away from the main roads and you’ll find a network of quiet single-track roads that are perfect for road cyclists. How about the ride to Ardnamurchan, the most westerly point on the UK mainland, or explore the back roads of the Great Glen and Glen Spean? In the more remote parts of Lochaber, you’ll often have the whole road to yourself.

High Wire Adventure

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A great activity for families, the High Wire Adventure at Nevis Range is a fun series of ropes, bridges, ladders, balance beams and a 100m zip wire. Safely harnessed in you can tackle the Barn Own, Red Fox and Wildcat, before testing your nerve on the Swoop. There’s also a smaller Squirrel course for little adventurers.

Via ferrata

Via Feratta next to the Grey Mare's Waterfall, Kinlochleven.

Via Feratta next to the Grey Mare’s Waterfall, Kinlochleven.

A deep waterfall gorge near Kinlochleven is the place to try a challenging via ferrata activity. Thanks to climbing harnesses and a series of safety wires to clip into, participants can safely ascend the 150m rock wall and traverse almost 450m. Try this with OCUK company Vertical Descents. Also see my blog about the via ferrata.

Walking

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From easy strolls to epic ridge traverses, the OCUK is a Mecca for walkers. See OCUK walks and Walk Highlands for inspiration and routes.

Climbing

Ben Nevis North Face routes.

Ben Nevis North Face routes.

The area is renowned world wide for climbing in summer and ice climbing in winter. From classic gullies and routes in summer to snowed-up rock climbs and water-ice ice climbs or a mixed climbing there’s something for everyone, so long as you have the experience to give it a go. Always check a weather service, such as MWIS before you go.

Camera stalking

Camera stalking offers the thrills of spotting deer up close but without harming the beautiful mammals. There is no season, so it’s a year-round activity and you can take as many “shots” as you want.  Nevispix offer Red Deer Safaris.

Skiing and snowboarding

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Nevis Range is one of six mountain centres in Scotland and a popular place for skiers and snowboarders in the winter months. The Nevis Range gondola is the only one of its kind in Britain and takes skiers from 300ft up to 2150ft on the north face of Aonach Mor, the eighth highest mountain in Britain. Here a wide range of slopes are accessed.

Skimo

An increasingly popular event in Scotland, Skimo combines back country skiing with downhill skiing and a bit of mountaineering. The aim is to complete laps or a set course using skis to ascend and descend mountains. See Skimo Scotland. Two races in the series take place at Nevis Range.

Sea kayaking

f_Beach at Rhu

Canals, lochs and sea lochs offer an array of locations for kayaking and canoeing. How about a sea kayak trip through spectacular coastal, mountain and island scenery with Rockhopper Scotland or paddling the Great Glen Canoe Trail? Check out Paddle Lochaber, Caledonian Canal Canoe Hire and Vertical Descents Sea Kayaking.

More info here:

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