21 things to add to your Scotland outdoors bucket list
I wrote a recent Sunday Mail outdoors column about 21 great things to do or try in Scotland in 2018. Read the pdf or see the article below.
21 ideas for your Scotland’s outdoors bucket list
1) Walk the West Highland Way: Scotland’s original long-distance walking trail offers a journey on foot or by mountain bike of 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William. It’s a must do whether you take a week or a long weekend to do it. See www.west-highland-way.co.uk
2) Tick off a trig: Trig points formed the basis of OS mapping before GPS technology. Find one on a map locally and see if you can walk to it on the ground. There are plenty more to discover after that. See trigpointing.uk
3) Sit in eye of the needle: Ben Arthur (The Cobbler) in the Arrochar Alps is famous for its rock-formed “eye”. Some brave folk climb through while others sit in it. If you choose to take on this challenge make sure you do so safely.
4) Go wild swimming: One of the fastest growing outdoor sports in the UK, Scotland’s lochs offer the ideal place for an open water swim. Try a swim in a wetsuit or go skinny dipping somewhere less visited. It’s always safer to go with a friend.
5) Sail to St Kilda: The archipelago is located 41 miles west of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. It’s a World Heritage Site and described as “the islands at the edge of the world”. Take a sailing trip to visit this amazing location.
7) Cycle the Bealach na Ba: The Bealach na Ba (pass of the Cattle) road to Applecross is located in the far northwest of Scotland. The road zig-zags back and forth and climbs more than 2000ft over six miles. It’s on the bucket list of most cyclists.
8) Search for the Northern Lights: The best chances to see the aurora borealis are in the far north of Scotland or head to the Dark Skies Park, Galloway. You need to be away from the light pollution of towns and cities and to be lucky with the weather to have a good chance of a sighting.
9) Spot dolphins from the land: One of the best places in Scotland to see dolphins from the land is in the Moray Firth at Chanonry Point.
10) Climb Ben Nevis: Walk the tourist path, climb a North Face route or take part in charity challenge. However you do it’s a great feeling to stand on Scotland’s – and the UK’s – highest point at 1344m.
11) Go on a micro-adventure: You don’t need to go far from home but you do need to camp out to enjoy a microadventure. Keep it simple and choose a night of favourable weather.
12) Take on a Scottish Via Ferrata: There is a via ferrata located in a high gorge at Kinlochleven, near Fort William. See www.verticaldescents.com
13) Find wilderness: Knoydart is said to be Scotland’s last great wilderness areas. Experienced walkers can hike in from Kinlochhourn to Barrisdale, while others might prefer to catch a boat from Mallaig to Inverie.
14) Ski in Scotland: They say that if you can ski in Scotland you can comfortably ski anywhere. But on good weather day, skiing in Scotland is hard to beat. See www.visitscotland.com/see-do/active/skiing-snowsports/
15) Swim with sharks: Basking Shark Scotland guides people on incredible swims off the coast of the Island of Coll. See baskingsharkscotland.co.uk
16) Visit the Gulf of Corryvreckan: Take a boat trip to the second largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere in the channel between Jura and Scarba.
17) Cycle to a crocodile: Ride the 10-mile road round Cumbrae and spot the crocodile-painted rock near Millport. This is perfect for families.
18) Summer solstice bivvy: Spend the shortest night of the year, June 21, bivvying outdoors. Bivvying means sleeping in a basic bag-like tent, although, of course you can always pitch a tent.
19) Throw a stone from sea to sea: At Mavis Grind, a narrow neck on Shetland mainland, you can throw a stone from the North Sea into the Atlantic.
20) Climb a city hill: Summit Arthur’s Seat, located in Holyrood Park in the heart of the capital city of Edinburgh.
21) See nature’s hexagons: Visit Fingal’s Cave on the island of Staffa, Inner Hebrides, to see the stunning hexagonally jointed basalt columns.
How many have you done already?