How to get fit through jogging, swimming, skateboarding, frisbee and tennis
Put your feet through their paces
Why walk when you can run? There are many great running routes around the parks and green spaces of Glasgow and Edinburgh (try www.mapmyrun.com or www.walkjogrun.co.uk for ideas) and several running clubs to help you make the most of them. In the west the Glasgow Running Network encourages people to embrace the spirit of exercise, while the similarly-named Edinburgh Running Network does the same on the east coast.
Official events in each city also provide great opportunities to strap on your trainers, with the 10k or half marathon Great Scottish Run in Glasgow now open for applications before the starter’s pistol in September. Registration costs less than £25 at www.runglasgow.org. Entry for the Edinburgh Marathon (and Scottish half-marathon) is now closed but the event, held on Sun 23 May this year, is worth considering for 2011. Also look out for the MoonWalk – a full (or half) marathon around the night-time streets of the capital in aid of breast cancer.
It’s entirely possible that none of this sounds challenging enough – why stick to roads and pavements? Par kour (or free-running as it’s better known over here) is alive and thriving thanks to some unique architectural opportunities in both cities. Spots around the universities in both Glasgow and Edinburgh are popular if you want to catch young people imitating flying squirrels. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, why not enter the Rat Race – an annual competition in which teams run, bike, kayak, climb and abseil in a mad scramble around the capital.
Slowing the pace, Milngavie, on the outskirts of Glasgow, is bustling at this time of year with folk about to walk the West Highland Way – a 96-mile trek to Fort William that takes in some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery, including Loch Lomond and Glen Coe.
The Great Scottish Run, Glasgow, Sun 5 Sep. Register at www.runglasgow.org/GSR-2010/enter-online.php
Registration has closed for the Edinburgh Marathon and the MoonWalk, but you can still cheer on participants on Sun 23 May and Sat 19 Jun respectively.
Make a splash at the pool
Even a few lengths every now and then will help you stay trim, and you don’t need the feet of a platypus or a total absence of body hair to give it a go. Glasgow has plenty to offer in the way of watery workouts, with 11 pools across the city, including the 50m competition pool at Tollcross Park Leisure Centre and the Easterhouse Pool at The Bridge, home to some great kids’ facilities. The best for taking advantage of good weather has to be Bellahouston Leisure Centre, with an outdoor pool in addition to its main, leisure and baby pools inside. Best of all, the Glasgow Kidz Card means the little ‘uns swim for free.
Edinburgh also has a variety of pools: the Portobello Swim Centre has a standard swimming pool as well as Turkish baths, with three hot rooms, a steam room and a plunge pool, and Leith Waterworld has tons of chutes, flumes and rapids if you want to entertain the kids. More straightforward swimming is available at six other pools across the city. We’d recommend a dip at the newly refurbished Glenogle Swim Centre when it re-opens on Fri 2 Jul.
Tollcross Park Leisure Centre, 350 Wellshot Rd, 276 0801. Easterhouse Pool at The Bridge, 1000 Westerhouse Rd, 276 9696. Bellahouston Leisure Centre, Bellahouston Drive, 276 0767.
Visit www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/Sports_Fitness/SportsFacilities for swimming pool opening times and information on getting a Glasgow Kidz Card.
Portobello Swim Centre, 57 Promenade, 669 6888. Leith Waterworld, 377 Easter Rd, 555 6000. Glenogle Swim Centre, Glenogle Rd, 343 6376.
Visit www.edinburghleisure.co.uk for swimming pool opening times.
Get your skates on
Glasgow has some great locations for rolling of all kinds. Just outside the city in Dumbarton is Unit 23, the UK’s largest indoor skating arena. Outdoor thrills are provided in town at Kelvingrove Skate Park. Scotland’s crowning skate location, though, is still Livi Skate Park – nearly 30 years old but still the best mass of outdoor concrete heaven in the UK.
The freshly-built Edinburgh Skate Park (or ESP to the hip young chaps) is open and ready for business at Saughton Park, finally gracing the capital with an outdoor development nine years in the making (see panel, above right). Meanwhile, Transgression down at Ocean Terminal is still a great spot for any variety of wheeled trickery, be it in-line, skateboard or BMX, and they offer lessons. If you’re more of a team sports fanatic, though, there’s always the Whip It world of roller derby in a city near you – visit list.co.uk to read up on our previous roller derby coverage, and check out Glasgow and Edinburgh’s home team sites for news on the next bouts and Fresh Meat intake sessions.
Unit 23, Castlegreen St, Dumbarton, 01389 768333, open Mon–Fri, 4pm–10pm; Sat–Sun noon–8pm.
Livi Skate Park, Almondvale, Livingston.
Edinburgh Skate Park, Saughton Public Park, Balgreen Road.
Transgression, Ocean Terminal, Leith, 0131 555 3755, open daily, 10am–10pm.
Glasgow Roller Girls’ next match is on Sat 22 May. Visit glasgowrollergirls.com for more details. Auld Reekie Roller Girls’ next event is a fundraiser at Sneaky Pete’s, 73 Cowgate, Edinburgh on Sat 15 May. Visit myspace.com/auldreekie_rollergirls for further information.
Fling an ultimate frisbee
There’s nothing like adding the word ‘ultimate’ to something to make it more thrilling. The competitive version of everyone’s favourite flying disc game involves two teams trying to secure points by successfully passing a Frisbee into the opposing team’s ‘endzone’ – kind of like netball (as you’re not allowed to move with the Frisbee) crossed with American football (with that whole ‘endzone’ business).
Many ultimate frisbee teams are university-affiliated, so if you’re a student, check out Ro Sham Bo (Edinburgh), FarFlung (Glasgow) or Dark Horses (Strathclyde) to sign up. If you exist outside academia, the Fusion team recruits what it classes as ‘elite’ players from Edinburgh and Glasgow, the women-only Swift team accepts female players from all over Scotland, the grandly-titled Principality of Sealand accepts men and women from Glasgow, and the Glasgow-based DiscMen specialise in indoor frisbee-flinging.
More details on the university teams are available at their websites: Ro Sham Bo – www.ultimaf.eusu.ed.ac.uk; FarFlung – www.guultimate.com; Dark Horses – www.dark-horses.co.uk
For info on Fusion, contact Philip Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org; for Swift, contact Sarah Breen at email@example.com; for Principality of Sealand, contact Shaun Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org; and for the DiscMen, contact Derryk Boyd at email@example.com
Enjoy a spot of tennis
What about more traditional sports, like tennis? Worry not, as we’ve got that covered too. Wimbledon kicks off on Mon 21 Jun, but you can get a head start on all those Johnny-come-latelies for whom the fine sport of tennis is inseparable from strawberries and Cliff Richard.
In Glasgow, Broomhill Lawn Tennis & Squash club, Western Health & Racquets Club in the West End and Newlands Lawn Tennis Club are just three of the many membership-seeking clubs in the city. For the less committed, Scotstoun Leisure Centre, which often hosts the Scottish Indoor Open Championships, offers simple pay-and-play facilities.
Amid the plethora of member’s clubs around Edinburgh, the Thistle Lawn Tennis Club at Kingsknowe and Craigmillar Park Tennis Club are open for new memberships. For the more casual tennis player, pay-per-play facilities are available at the Meadows, Craiglockhart Tennis & Sports Centre and the University of Edinburgh Peffermill courts (which are open to everybody, not just students).
Broomhill Lawn Tennis & Squash Club, 399 Crow Rd, Glasgow, 334 2519, www.broomhill-tennis-squash.co.uk
Western Health & Racquets Club, 30 Hyndland Rd, Glasgow, 339 0065, www.glasgowwestern.co.uk
Newlands Lawn Tennis Club, 18 Mochrum Rd, Glasgow, 632 1742, www.newlandsltc.co.uk
Craigmillar Park Tennis Club, 6 Old Mill Lane, Edinburgh, www.craigmillarparktennis.co.uk
The Meadows Tennis courts, 07766 774529. Craiglockhart Tennis & Sports Centre, 177 Colinton Rd, Edinburgh, 443 0101. Peffermill Playing Courts, Peffermill Rd, Edinburgh, 667 7541 – info for all at www.edinburghleisure.co.uk
Sweat it out at a sports centre
Aside from all the sporting activities listed above, there are a number of spiffing multi-purpose centres that serve any other athletic requirements you care to think of. On the west coast, X-Scape Braehead has managed to put a roof over traditionally outdoor pursuits, such as skiing and snowboarding (with the Sno!zone indoor ski slope), rock climbing (including the Sky Park aerial adventure course) and even sky-diving, with the Fan Drop experience. There’s also the Monkey Bizness kids’ adventure area, which has sprawling mazes of ball pools, tunnels and slides - and there’s one of those in Edinburgh as well at the Fountain Park complex.
Also in Edinburgh the Meadowbank Sports Centre offers numerous indoor courts for badminton, squash and table tennis; outdoor hockey and football pitches; the very velodrome used by Edinburgh Olympian Chris Hoy; and running, jumping and throwing areas for track and field enthusiasts, as well as the Rainbow Room soft play area for the tykes.
Sport Centre Info
X-Scape Braehead, Kings Inch Road, Renfrew, 0871 200 3222, open Mon–Sun 8am–midnight.
Monkey Bizness Edinburgh, Fountain Park, Dundee Street, 0131 257 4412, Sun–Thu 9.30am-5pm, Fri–Sat 9.30am–8pm.
Meadowbank Sports Centre, London Road, 0131 661 5351, open Mon–Sun 7.30am–10pm.