Sports & Activities
Football is Scotland's most popular spectator sport. Scots have an insatiable appetite for the game with huge crowds gathering at grounds around the nation once or twice a week from September through May to support their teams.
One of the best ways to enjoy Scotland is by walking through or climbing over its many mountains and glens. Every part of the country offers some form of hill-walking or rambling and the rewards are plentiful. There are certain prescribed routes for the more serious walker while casual ramblers will find a host of pleasant walks.
Skiing in the Cairngorms and Grampians is popular if a little unreliable. There are winters where the climate remains mild and not enough snow falls throughout the season. Poor visibility and rain can also make it rather miserable.
White-water rafting, canoeing and sailing are all available along the major inland lochs and rivers. Surfing may not be Scotland's best known sport but the breakers around the north and west coasts provide some of the best surf in Europe. Diving around the west coast and the islands is surprisingly popular, in crystal clear waters with white shell sand. Usually very cold, the water contains many sights such as part of the World War I German fleet scuttled around Scapa Flow in Orkney.
Hunting, Shooting and Fishing
Hunting and shooting are popular on estates throughout the Highlands and Border uplands. This can be arranged through the local Tourist Information Office which will put you in contact with estate gillies or stalkers that can take you on to the hills for deer or grouse. The 'Glorious 12th' of August is the start of the grouse shooting season and rows of 'beaters' drive the birds on to the line of guns. These sports can be expensive and attract a rather elitist clientele.
Fishing is the most popular participant activity in Britain, and Scotland has some of the best-known salmon and trout beats in the world. The River Tay is considered by many to be the finest salmon river in Scotland with its source at 3,708ft (1,130m) on Ben Lui. It flows 117 miles (188km) to the sea on the east coast at Dundee. The Tay has a catchment area of some 2,800 sq miles (7,258sq km), which helps to maintain good water levels from January to October. The Tweed is most popular too, with fees ranging up to £1,000 per rod for a few days. The Dee is similarily popular and pricey. Salmon fishing has been struck by the effects of over-fishing in Greenland and netting near the mouths of the rivers. Spring salmon enter Scottish east coast rivers as early as November and are well distributed throughout the system. Fly fishing is very popular but instruction on how to cast properly is essential to be effective as well as to stop you becoming exhausted after an hour. Courses are available throughout the country.
Wildlife remains one of Scotland's greatest assets. Scots are used to seeing plovers, chaffinches, seals, and deer. But for the visitor, they are often struck by the numbers of native birds and animals that can be easily spotted when, at home, they rarely come in contact with anything more than sparrows or pigeons. It is luck more than skill to spot Scotland's rarer species such as a golden eagle or wild-cat, confined, as they are, mostly to the north-west Highlands.
Thursday, December 26th, 2019
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