Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Get Outdoors this Autumn

Autumn is a great time to get outdoors in Scotland, whatever your level of fitness and personal interest.  Low-lying mists and the smell of fallen leaves add to the autumnal atmosphere, whilst wild geese flying overhead herald the changing season.

Walking and Climbing

Crisp trails, dazzling colours and cosy bothies; walking in the Scottish countryside in autumn is a beautiful experience. Grab your boots and head for the hills! Our Independent Hostels not only offer comfortable and affordable accommodation but also a great choice of outdoor experiences to enjoy in autumn.

If you’re looking for adventure, then you can’t go wrong with a bit of “Munro-bagging”.  The Munros are the Scottish mountains over 3000 feet high and there are 283 in total throughout Scotland. Or you could head for one of our many long-distance routes; the West Highland Way is one of the most famous, but there are many others across the country. Try out our newest long distance paths; The John Muir Way which stretches from coast to coast across the central belt and the Ring's of Breadalbane walks in the ancient and undiscovered heart of Scotland. You will find our member Hostels dotted along these iconic trails, happy to provide a warm welcome and excellent local information.

SIH tips:

Cullen Harbour Hostel on the Moray Firth Coast recommends a challenging 6 harbour walk and the lovely stroll from Cullen to Findlater Castle along the coast.

Comrie Croft Hostel in the Highlands recommends The Clan Ring (part of the Ring’s of Breadalbane),  a 6 day circular walk. It goes right past their door and takes in some of the Southern Highlands very best scenery and history.

Fraoch Lodge runs mountain navigation weekends where you can learn all the skills for the hills!

Forest Trails for cycling and mountain biking

Many of our hostels hire out bikes or can recommend someone nearby; it’s a great way to see some of the remoter parts of Scotland as well as navigate the city streets. For the more adventurous cyclist, Scotland has more than 1150 miles of off-road routes marked by The Forestry Commission. From tracks suitable for adrenalin junkies to leisurely trails perfect for the whole family; there are a fantastic range of trails to suit all levels, complete with stunning scenery.

SIH Tips:

Galloway Activity Centre is situated right in the middle of 5 out of the 7 Stanes venues.  With a large boat shed providing secure storage on site, drying room, washing facilities and bike stands. Marthrown of Mabie Hostel is also located on the 7 Stanes Mountain Bike Trails, right in the centre of Mabie Forest.

Comrie Croft Mountain Bike Trails Centre is getting rave reviews, promising hostellers the very best of Scotland's mountain biking scene on their doorstep.

Portree Independent Hostel is an ideal centre when touring the Isle of Skye. If arriving on your own bike, store it on the hostel courtyard. Or you can hire a bike right next door.

Gulabin Lodge Outdoor Centre offers a wide range of outdoor activities in the autumn in Glenshee in Perthshire including a full range of mountain biking services.

Wildlife Watching

Wildlife is pretty active year round in Scotland, but autumn is a great time of year to spot iconic creatures such as red kites, red deer and red squirrels.  The vast wilderness of the Highlands means that you can see creatures living in their natural habitat without disturbing them too much.  The red deer become easier to spot in the autumn as they move to the lower ground for the colder months.  


SIH Tips:

Fraoch Lodge runs wildlife tours in the Cairngorms National Park, which is home to a quarter of the UK’s rarest species.


Scotland is a popular playground for sailors and watersports enthusiasts with rivers, lochs, canals and 10,000km of beautiful coastline. From sailing and canoeing to white water rafting and canyoning, Scotland is the place to unleash your adventurous side. 

SIH Tips:

Lochaline Dive Centre has access to the clear waters of the Sound, which boasts some of Britain’s best-known wreck dives, in addition to an abundance of drift, shallow, scenic, and shore dive sites.

Uist Outdoor Centre near Lochmaddy offers instruction in kayaking on an idyllic Hebridean sea loch, surely the only way to learn!

Astronomical Adventures

We couldn’t finish without mentioning the dark skies experience.  It’s the perfect activity in some of the clearest night skies anywhere in Europe, just pop outside and stair upwards, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll see. 


SIH Tips:

Coll and the Cosmos: A stargazing break on the Isle of Coll which makes the most of the island’s incredible dark skies, using state of the art astronomical technology. The break has been specifically designed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Stay in the cosy Coll Bunkhouse.

Experience Dark Skies in the Galloway Forest Park. Stay at SIH’s Galloway Activity Centre.

Get out and enjoy those autumn colours before we start talking about the white fluffy stuff and the great winter sports Scotland has to offer!  

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