25 exhilarating outdoor things to do in Scotland

The start of a year often means setting challenges. If you want a rush of adrenaline in 2017, try one of these exhilarating outdoor activities in Scotland.

Monday, 9th January 2017, 4:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th January 2017, 1:17 pm
President-elect Donald Trump addresses the ill-tempered press conference. Picture: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

1 - Swim with basking sharks around the Inner Hebrides

Entering a cage and getting up close and personal with sharks might not be everyone’s idea of fun. But in the waters that surround the Inner Hebrides you can remove the cage and swap the fearsome Great White Shark for a passive basking shark.

2 - Take on the Craggy Island Triathlon

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It's possible to swim with these gentle giants in the Inner Hebrides. Picture: Contributed

If you fancy yourself as a Jack of all sports, 2017 might be the year to try your first triathlon. Durty Events are staging a triathlon on the beautiful Isle of Kerrera, that will see participants swim, cycle and run their way around the island.

3 - Spot minke whales off the coast of Mull

You don’t need to venture to California, Sri Lanka or Iceland to spot the world’s largest creatures. Majestic minke whales can be spotted off the coast of the Isle of Mull.

4 - Sail through the Corryvreckan whirlpool

Boat trips over the world's third largest whirlpool run from March to October. Picture: Contributed

The remarkable geography of the Gulf of Corryvreckan and strong spring tides result in the roaring Corryveckan - the world’s third largest whirlpool. Seafari Adventures operate boat trips over (yes, over) the whirlpool from March to October.

5 - Witness the Northern Lights over Shetland

Known locally as ‘the Mirrie Dancers’, the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon that are visible from Scotland. The best chances of witnessing the spectacular light show are in the northern reaches of the country - Shetland being a good bet.

6 - Bungee jump from the Titan Crane

Daredevils can bungee jump from the A-listed Titan Crane in Glasgow. Picture: Contributed

If you’re going to do a bungee jump, you might as well do it from the A-listed Titan Crane. Jumpers will reach speeds of up to 50 mph as they plummet head first towards the Clyde.

7 - Run a marathon in Glencoe

Completing a 26.2 mile run is punishing at the best of times, but completing one across the brutal Glencoe terrain , provides that extra level of pain for the masochists amongst you. Glorious views will at least provide runners a distraction.

8 - Skydive over Fife

It's possible to swim with these gentle giants in the Inner Hebrides. Picture: Contributed

A skydive provides the ultimate adrenaline rush for the thrill seekers amongst us. Skydive St Andrews offer tandem jumps every weekend. So now you can see what the Kingdom of Fife looks like when you are hurtling towards it from a height of 10,000 feet.

9 - Abseil from the Forth Bridge

For two days only - one in May, one in October - you can abseil from the UNESCO World Heritage bridge and raise money for Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland in the process. Earlier this year the bridge was voted the best man made wonder in Scotland.

10 - Learn to surf in Dunbar

If you can handle the chill of the North Sea, learn to surf in East Lothian with Coast to Coast surf school. They organise surf and bodyboard lessons on Dunbar’s pleasant Belhaven Beach.

11 - Climb the daunting Inaccessible Pinnacle

Boat trips over the world's third largest whirlpool run from March to October. Picture: Contributed

The words Sgurr Dearg strike fear into many a Munro bagger, due to the 200 ft rock climb that presents itself following a gruelling three hour hike. Scaling the “In Pinn” is a must for Scottish thrill seekers and Munro baggers alike. Skye Guides offer a helping hand to inexperienced rock climbers.

12 - Climb Liathach

Quite simply the most breathtaking pair of Munros in Scotland, Spidean a choire Leith and Mullach an Rathain make up the exquisite Liathach ridge. Jaw-dropping scenery make up for the knee-breaking walk and vertigo-inducing scramble.

13 - Ski a black run at Glenshee

You don’t need to break the bank to enjoy world class ski runs. Glenshee ski centre in Aberdeenshire is home to two exhilarating - and daunting - black runs; Glas Maol and Mogul Strewn Tiger.

14 - Visit Fingal’s cave

Travelling to the myth shrouded Fingal’s cave invokes a sense of adventure in many who undertake the short trip from Iona. The stunning basalt structure can be viewed from boat, or if you’re feeling up to it, from a walkway within the cave itself.

15 - Explore Shetland’s coast in a kayak

Study Shetland’s stunning, rugged coastline from the safety of a kayak. Jagged cliffs, deserted beaches and enormous sea caves are all within reach for the inquisitive seafarer.

16 - Wakeboard on Loch Lomond

Skimming along one of Scotland’s bonniest lochs is as fun as it sounds. Ardlui based Loch Lomond Wakeboard offer up lessons in wakeboarding, wakesurfing and waterskiing.

17 - Race from coast to coast

If a fun run or leisurely cycle isn’t cutting it for you, perhaps the Rat Race Coast to Coast competition from Nairn to the Isles of Glencoe will be your cup of tea. Participants in the adventure race ride, run and kayak the extraordinary 105 mile route.

18 - River bug in Spean Gorge

River bugging is essentially a one person white water rafting experience. Sold? Vertical Descents offer the facilities to take part in the insane activity, operating from Fort William’s Spean Gorge.

19 - Dog sled in the Cairngorms

Dog sledding isn’t reserved for the snowier parts of the world - Aviemore based Sled Dogs offer sleddog safaris that allow you to get up close and personal with herds of red deer, as well as the fluffy pilots of your sled.

20 - Paraglide in Lochaber

Try paragliding in Lochaber and experience a feeling of tranquility like no other as you survey the majesty of Glencoe beneath you. The White Corries at the top of Glencoe and Aonach Mor above Fort William are two of the finest spots to take off from.

21 - Go Land Yachting in St Andrews

Land yachting combines the sports of sailing and motor racing for a thrilling experience. Participants can reach speeds of up to 40 mph on St Andrews’ 2km poker straight West Sands.

22 - Ride a horse along East Lothian’s beaches

Whether its Gullane or Yellowcraig, each and every one of East Lothian’s beaches is stunning. Seacliff Stables in North Berwick offers riders the unique opportunity to ride along the stretches of sands on one of their beautiful horses.

23 - Surf-kayak in Thurso

Thurso’s beaches have become popular with fans of the hybrid sport Surfkayaking. The northern town is home to a world class surf which was acknowledged in 1991 when Thurso hosted the World Surf Kayak championships.

24 - Try bouldering in Glen Torridon

Try your hand - or rather, hands - at bouldering in one of Scotland’s most spectacular beauty spots. The climbs in Glen Torridon vary, meaning an amateur climber will feel as at home among the rugged boulders as an expert.

25 - Take on the Cape Wrath ultra-marathon

If you barely break a sweat during a marathon, perhaps the Cape Wrath ultra-marathon will satisfy you. Stunning Highland scenery await for those with a stomach for 400km of running over eight gruelling days.

Daredevils can bungee jump from the A-listed Titan Crane in Glasgow. Picture: Contributed