Even just driving through the highlands is quite often an awe inspiring experience when you catch the light just right, caressing the rugged and untamed land. With frequent and affordable ferry crossings from several ports off the west coast, these activities can be extended to the Hebrides and Clyde Islands. Each island offers something different in terms of scenery and activities but a common thread that links them all is whisky. Now I am not suggesting drinking whiskey is a sport, although maybe it should be, certainly takes practice. Sport or not, it is a lovely way to end your day and you couldn’t be in better part of the world for it.
Kayaking and canoeing are two more fun activities that Scotland has in abundance. Whether you take to one of the many lochs dotted around the country or brave the seas there really is something magical about seeing the country from the water. We suggest heading up north, where there are numerous Sea Kayaking Safaris. You could see whales, seals, and an abundance of birds and fish.
If you’d prefer a less strenuous way of experiencing the wonders of this fantastic landscape, take to the air with some paragliding. Although easier on the knees, it may take a toll on your nerves but once over the initial freedom leap into the sky the adrenaline rush your body will be experiencing can only amplify the stunning sights in an almost euphoric way.
The home of golf, Scotland has some of the most beautiful courses in the country. If you’re looking for a relaxing day swinging a club while taking in the stunning surroundings, this is the sport for you. From ancient ruins in St Andrews to sea breezes in North Berwick there are plenty of iconic courses up and down the country.
Venturing further south, if you are looking for a guaranteed adrenaline rush or to test the strength of a relationship with a loved one why not try a tandem bungee jump off the famous Titan Crane in Glasgow. Nothing will make you appreciate life more than plummeting face first towards the icy waters of the River Clyde with an elasticated cord attached to your feet for your inevitable rescue.
Being the colder and bolder end of the UK does have its perks. Aside from beautiful snow capped mountains and icy moorlands frozen into submission by the elements, the weather provides an array of snow sports for anyone brave enough to venture out and embrace the cold! Snowboarding, skiing, ice climbing and snow-angel creation are all possibilities when you explore Scotland.
For an in-depth guide to Scotland’s snow based activities, see below;
*** SNOW SPORTS ***
Scotland is home to the only natural ski and snowboard resorts in Britain. There are 5 areas in which to ski and all have invested heavily over the last few years to rival the standards in many European resorts.Cairngorm, Glenshee and the Lecht resorts can be found in the Grampian mountain range, while the Nevis Range and Glencoe are situated in the west of Scotland near Ben Nevis.
Snow sports take place between December and April, depending on snowfall. Winter operating hours usually between 9am and 4pm, depending on daylight. Here at Trax we’ve always found it pays off to do your research. Find out what the snow conditions are like at each resort and check up that the access roads are open and most of all safe for travel.
With Scotland’s ski resorts all being within 2 and a half hours drive of each other you can afford to pick and choose according to the best weather conditions, and what better way to make this journey than in a campervan. From February to April, Trax offer some of their cheapest campervan hire rates making it the perfect time to take advantage of our great savings on your trip to the Scottish slopes. We have everything you could need; transport with accommodation, on board heating and even full cooking facilities so that you can make yourself a hot chocolate at the end of a hard day on the slopes.
If you prefer to slide off the slopes and into your shorts then why not consider the indoor year round skiing facility at Glasgow’s Xscape?
There are more than 30km of ski runs as well as a fully maintained snowboard park; with cross country skiing also popular and Disability Snowsports UK offering snow sports tuition for the disabled.
Trax favorite Ski Centre offers the UK’s most extensive skiing and snowboarding facilities, with an impressive 22 lifts and 36 runs the resort offers an amazing diversity of natural terrain for all standards of skiers and Snowboarders.
Scotland’s oldest Ski Centre Glencoe has a reputation for being a great venue for the more experienced skier. With stunning scenery and your choice of 19 runs including the famous ‘flypaper’ (the UK’s steepest black run), Glencoe is a must visit destination for the more experienced skier and snowboarder. In our opinion Glencoe is best after a good snow and it also benefits from being the closest resort to Glasgow.
Nevis Range, Fort William, is home to Scotland’s highest mountain, the mighty Ben Nevis. Here you can ride Scotland’s only gondola to the slopes and find fantastic skiing and panoramic view points.
This natural playground offers exciting winter activities, ideal for all levels of skiers and snowboarders but especially good for beginners and intermediates. A total of 12 different lifts, including a 3man chairlift and a magic carpet travelator to get novices going on day one. Tubing is available depending on the conditions, (descend the slope out of control in a large tyre).
The 200m long indoor main slope is covered with over 1700 tonnes of fresh snow, with 2 poma lifts. There is also a dedicated lesson slope for beginners
If surfing is what tickles your fancy then you’re in luck. Scotland just happens to be one of the best places in the world for stroking the barrel of a ferocious wave. Why not utilize our strong and steady winds by adding a kite and seeing where you end up.
Surfing in Scotland is a totally exhilarating experience. Once you’ve taken that initial cold dip, the fantastic waves, beautiful scenery and a 5mm wetsuit will soon make you forget the cold.
Big Wave Surfer Al Mennie, part of the team who surfed the largest wave in history in Portugal last year has nothing but praise for the surf conditions in Scotland.
“Both Ireland and Scotland are fantastic up and coming venues and are competing at the surfing world stage with established surf spots like Hawaii and Australia. We don’t have tubes of sun cream here; instead we have 6mm wetsuits. It’s a much more rugged experience”
With some of the best surf conditions in Europe and average water temperature between 4 and 14 degrees centigrade it’s easy to see why Scotland has been the home to the Cold Water Classic competition for 6 years.
The event’s patron, Andy Bain, said the event was attracting the attention of some of the world’s top surfers, despite the cold conditions.
He said: “Scotland has always been under the radar in terms of its surf but it’s starting to get recognised now.”
Some of our favourite spots for surfing can be found in the 40 known breaks between East Lothian near Edinburgh and Eyemouth in the eastern Scottish Borders, where people have been surfing since the late 60’s.
In the west there are great breaks off Machrihanish in the Kintyre peninsula, the Island of Tiree and particularly off the west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides where you’ll find white sand beaches, turquoise waters and big breaks.
In the north the waves off Thurso are legendary. Thurso East is a right-hand reef break over a flat, kelp covered rock shelf, best on a big north-west swell when you can find surfable waves of triple overhead and more.
With around 6200 miles of mainland coastline and nearly 800 islands you’ll often find you have more than enough waves all to yourself. As always in a good swell if there is a line up treat the locals with respect and take your turn. Joining the queue and asking for local knowledge always goes down well.
If you’re considering surfing in Scotland a campervan has everything you could need; transport with accomodation, onboard heating and even full cooking facilities so you can make yourself a hot cup of tea when you get out of the sea.