There’s more to outdoor activities in the Highlands than just skiing and snowboarding…

Although Scotland traditionally receives the most tourism for high-ticket activities, such as snow sports and fishing; years of investment and diversification have led to dozens of activity centres being built across the thousands of square miles of beautiful Scottish wilderness.

Despite its rather gloomy reputation, Scotland receives good weather throughout the summer, with persistent clear spells of sunshine making ideal conditions for those looking to spend some time outdoors.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on ski hire or chalet rental to get the most out of a holiday in Scotland – there are plenty of sights you can visit for free and some activities that take up an afternoon, which will cost you relatively little:

Loch Insh Watersport and Activity Centre, Kincraig

There are well over 30,000 freshwater lochs in Scotland and although the chilly temperature of these waters might be a little to cold for young ones to brave during the winter, between March and June the warmth of the sun makes it a lot more tolerable. Just outside the picturesque village of Kincraig sits Loch Insh Activity Centre. In addition to offering a wide range of land-based activities, like the obligatory archery and play parks, Loch Insh is large enough to accommodate sail sports and even raft building.

Inchnadamph Caves, Loch Assynt

Tell your kids in a hushed voice that you’re heading to ‘the Bone Caves’ and they’ll be tittering with excitement and nerves for the hour or so that it takes to reach there on foot. The 4.5km circuit has a gentle ascent of 210m and will take you anywhere between two and three hours, depending on how long you want to spend exploring the caves themselves. Stop your car at the car park between Elphin and Inchnadamph on the A837 and simply follow the clear path out the gate and alongside the Allt nan Uamh, you’ll know you’re on our way when you pass a stunning little waterfall.

Treezone, Aviemore

As you’re probably learning now, there’s a lot more to the Highlands than just alpine ridges and snow banks. The area is also home to miles of thick forests packed with wildlife and activities that are bound to test your mettle. Treezone might not be the best place to visit for adults who have trouble with heights, but kids (over the height of 1.1m) will relish the challenge that the TreeCreeper Course will give them. At 6m off the ground, it won’t trouble the older ones, but smaller sprogs will feel like that they’ve overcome a real obstacle. For the braver (and taller) members of the company, the Buzzard Course doubles the height and has twice the amount of challenges.

Cairngorm Sleddog Centre, Aviemore

There are only 5 daily working sleddog centres in the whole of Europe and Cairngorm Sleddog Centre is the only one in the UK. Offering a truly unique experience, a visit to the Centre is a treat for any dog lover. There are over 30 trained sleddogs at the Centre and 18 miles of tracks, covering 4 different routes. You don’t have to visit during the snowy months to make the most of the sled rides, the dogs run just as well over dry land and there’s even a small museum detailing the history of sledding in Scotland. There’s a maximum of 8 people per group and a weight restriction of 15 stone per person – and don’t forget to wear sensible clothing!…

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