12 great family activities for the summer holidays
As the Scottish kids break up for the summer holidays, I have written about 12 great outdoor activities for families. Read the Sunday Mail pdf or see the full list below.
12 family outdoors things to do in the summer holidays
Do something new outdoors this summer with the family.
Bushcraft sessions teach back-to-basics survival techniques, such as how to start fire without matches, sourcing fresh water, wild food foraging, building shelters and tracking animals.
You’ll find a number of Bushcraft courses taking place across Scotland.
The aim of Everesting is to set the goal of climbing to the total height of the world’s tallest mountain.
Families could aim to walk hills over the summer and add up the accumulative height as they go. The target collectively is 29,028ft.
3 Pond dipping
Whether it’s your garden pond, a stream or an organised activity at a local park, pond dipping offers a fascinating exploration underwater (without getting too wet).
To enjoy this activity you’ll need a mat to kneel on, a fishing net, a light coloured shallow tray for observation and a spoon for fishing out tiny beasts from your tray.
The RSPB (www.rspb.org.uk) has identification sheets to download so you can identify the creatures you find.
4 Wild food foraging
If you know where to look and what to pick, there are hundreds of edible wild in the countryside.
Join a wild food foraging walk to discover a range of natural foods, including mushrooms, berries, garlic, grasses, flowers, leaves and seaweed.
There are millions of geocaches hidden across the world – and to find the caches you need to sign up to Geocaching.com.
Then, like a modern treasure hunt, you use a smartphone app and GPS positioning to seek out hidden “caches” following a detailed route.
A cache is normally a water-tight container. Once you find it, sign and date the logbook, re-hide the geocache and share your experience online.
Several of Scotland’s gorges provide the perfect location for the organised activity of canyoning or gorge walking.
Dressed in wetsuits, helmets and buoyancy aids participants jump, swim, slide and abseil down the water-filled rocky gorges.
7 Land sailing
Land sailing, or land yachting, combines the grace of sailing with the buzz of motor racing as sailors zoom across the ground or sand and try to out-race friends and family.
The “yachts” have three wheels (two at the back), a sail and a hull for the pilot. In around 10 to 15 minutes most beginners have grasped the basics of accelerating, turning and stopping.
8 Walk at night
A walk can look and feel very different after nightfall. You’ll need a hand-held torch or headtorch, as well as warm clothes, a walking route and a sense of adventure.
Try to stay as quiet as you can while walking and look around with just the beam of light. You might see creatures of the night such as bats or the eyes of foxes and rabbits.
Also turn off the torch and simply stand and listen. You’ll be amazed at what you can hear, especially in the country, woodland or a park.
9 Quad pods
First came the quad bike for adult cross-country fun, then there were
50cc mini quads for younger thrill-seekers.
Now toddlers can get in on the action in a quad pods convoy, which is pulled along by an adult on a quad bike.
Quad pods are offered at a number of Scottish activity centres.
10 Cable wakeboarding
Wakeboards look like snowboards but they are made for skimming along the surface of water.
An overhead cable pulls wakeboarders along and then returns them to the start at the edge of the lake or pool.
There are two Scottish cable wakeboard centres: Glasgow WakeBoard at Pinkston Basin and Foxlake Adventures in East Lothian.
11 Trig bagging
A trig is short for “triangulation” point, or pillar. These concrete pillars were installed between the 1930s and 1960s to help to create the Ordnance Survey (OS) maps.
These days, people “bag” trigs by walking to them and ticking them off a list of more than 6,000 existing pillars.
To go trig bagging, locate a trig point on a map – it’s a small triangle with at dot at the centre – and then walk to this point.
12 Aerial adventures
Scotland is home to a number of centres that offer an aerial adventure in the trees.
Participants can walk on high-rise platforms, cross bridges, traverse ropes and whizz through the air on zip-lines.
There are three Scottish Go Ape centres, as well as two TreeZones, one at Aviemore and one on the shores of Loch Lomond.