A walk on the wild side: Outdoor pursuits on Scotland's rugged landscape
- Rowena McIntosh
- 26 February 2020
We explore festivals dedicated to surfing coastlines, racing trails, hiking hills and enjoying nature
Taking place on the most westerly island of the Inner Hebrides, the Tiree Wave Classic (10–16 Oct) is the world's longest-running professional windsurfing event. As well as watching the pros from Tiree's beaches, visitors can windsurf and paddle board, before sampling some evening social events.
For land-based thrills, Muckle Toon Adventure Festival (19–21 Jun) offers an adventure-filled weekend with trail races for runners, a summit challenge series for hikers, and mountain bike races for those on two wheels. Events start at Langholm Rugby Club, where there's a kids zone, climbing wall and live music.
For youngsters, Wildhood (6 & 7 Jun) is a curated weekend of adventure and nature for families, held in the fairytale grounds of Kinross' Tullibole Castle. A packed programme offers foraging, storytelling, sports and performances, as well as workshops including circus, singing, graffiti and bullying awareness.
Scotland is famed for its walking, with 282 Munros to bag and multiple long-distance routes traversing the length and breadth of the country. Walk Islay (19–24 Apr) takes place across the isles of Islay, Jura and Colonsay. Routes take in natural landmarks and bird watching, and at £5 a walk it's great value. Galashiels Walking Weekend (24–26 Apr) is led by experienced local guides and offers easy walks as well as strenuous climbs.
Newton Stewart Walking Festival (8–14 May) returns with 30 different routes. Some walks are accompanied by experts in history, geology and wildlife, and many will end at pubs and cafes. Isle of Arran Mountain Festival (15–18 May) lays on easy wildlife walks, night-time ascents of Goat Fell and extreme ridge scrambles. Ballater Walking Festival (16–22 May) has led 221 different walks through the Cairngorms but features new routes this year.
Spend the long summer days exploring award-winning coastline at the Moray Walking and Outdoor Festival (12–21 Jun) with cycling and white water rafting available. Scottish Borders Walking Festival (5–12 Sep) is in Jedburgh for the 26th edition and features a mix of paid guided walks and free strolls. Crieff & Strathearn Drovers' Tryst Walking Festival (22–25 May) takes advantage of the autumn colours in Perthshire and hosts evening events including talks and film screenings.