Whatever your interests, you will be sure to find a sporting activity to suit when you visit Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. Probably one of the best known sports associated with Scotland is the game of Golf. It is impossible to travel very far without being in reach of one of many, many golf courses, from the world-famous courses at St Andrews, in Fife, to the renowned Gleneagles, set in beautiful Perthshire countryside. Less well known, but equally attractive, are some of the nine-hole courses, such as Tighnabruaich in Argyll, or Gairloch in Wester Ross. The scenery is so spectacular for these courses that the fact of not having eighteen holes seems immaterial – or you can always go round twice!
Whilst the winters do not always lend themselves to the best skiing conditions to be found in the Alps, the main skiing centres of Aviemore, Glenshee and Glencoe offer a challenge for every skiing enthusiast. Aviemore is by far the largest, with some exciting runs in the dramatic setting of the Cairngorms. There is also more in the way of “après ski”, with a wide choice of hotels and restaurants, an ice rink and other activities such as regular ceilidhs. Glencoe, whilst smaller, still retains the brooding presence that still lingers many years after the massacre of the Macdonald clan by the rival Campbells as an aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion.
Walking and climbing are other activities to be found in Scotland’s spectacular landscape. Whilst the Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye are probably the most challenging for serious climbers, there are many beautiful hill or forest walks to be enjoyed across Scotland. In recent years, many areas have been made more accessible with purpose-built walks and cycle tracks, which vary in difficulty and length. Scotland also enjoys the “right to roam”, which means that, providing sensible care is taken of stock or crops, especially during such sensitive times as lambing, you can walk anywhere freely.
Scotland’s islands are all different and offer a wide variety of activities. Arran, like Skye, has some superb hillwalking and climbing, whilst the tiny, uninhabited island of Staffa is renowned for the music written to describe Fingal’s Cave - the Hebrides Overture by Mendelsohn. There are sea tours, travelling by progressively smaller vessels, starting on the Isle of Mull, travelling to Iona, then to Staffa.
So, whether you want to try sailing, skiing, walking, cycling trail riding from east to west coast, or golf, Scotland can provide an experience second to none.