Eight amazing adventures in Scotland

North of the border is a land of treasures – Scotland is compact but it’s home to an astonishing amount of wilderness, wildlife and wonderful adventure. This is the land where you can climb mountains, pitch your tent where you wish, spot otters, deer and puffins and really earn yourself a pint at Britain’s most remote inn – all in a weekend. Whether you get to Scotland by sleeper train, tall ship or even private jet charter, these eight adventures should go straight to the top of your bucket list.

Eight amazing adventures in Scotland

Wild camp on a wilderness beach
Scotland offers avid campers a unique opportunity – the chance to legally camp in the wild. Wild camping isn’t permitted in most of Britain, but you you can camp on unenclosed land in Scotland if you follow the access rights established by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. It’s an amazing (and totally free) way to sleep out in the wild. Where you pitch your tent is up to you, but Sandwood Bay’s (above) white sand beach makes for an iconic camp.

Trek to Britain’s most remote pub
You have to reallllllly want a pint for this one. The Old Forge on the Knoydart Peninsula in the Scottish Highlands can only be reached by boat or by a 15 mile hike over the peaks of what is often called ‘Scotland’s Last Wilderness’. It’s a challenging but incredibly beautiful (and not technically demanding) trek that’s well worth the journey for a beer in the sunshine on the shores of Loch Nevis.

Climb Ben Nevis
You don’t have to go too far to find rewarding climbs – Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest peak in the UK at 1,345 metres yet takes only a day to reach the peak and back and requires no technical ability. While the top is wreathed in cloud 80% of the time, if you get lucky you’ll be rewarded with incredible views across the Highlands. 

Hike the West Highland Way
Perhaps the most famous and definitely one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful of Britain’s multi-day trials is the West Highland Way. Expect 96 rugged miles and an incredible ochre, steel and heather palette of mountain and moorland for your viewing pleasure on this trek. Despite its popularity, the WHW is surprisingly remote, and you may find you meet few people along it if you hike it out of peak season – if you’d rather make some mates along the way, join an adventure holiday. Points of interest on this inland hike include Glen Coe, Loch Lomond and Ben Nevis, which hikers traditionally climb to round off this challenging trek.

Image via Scot Mountain Holidays

Snuggle up a snow hole
Are you really a hardened outdoorwoman or man if you haven’t dug and then slept in your own mini snow igloo? The bravest and the maddest wild sleepers should look no further than Scotland, where outdoor adventure companies offer mountaineering weekend courses that often include a night on the wild side – in DIY snow shelters you’ll dig yourself, then sleep in wrapped up in a sleeping bag. The courses are a great way to get to grips with the mountains, as you’ll also learn basic winter skills such as how to use crampons and ice axes. 

Be a lighthouse keeper
Got a sea farin’ soul? I myself always wanted to live in a lighthouse, and believe it or not, it isn’t that expensive to do if it’s just for a few days. The National Trust for Scotland and the Northern Lighthouse Board let out lighthouses from as little as £50 per person for a weekend, and they tend to be in remote, craggy locations, often on steep cliffs above deserted beaches where you can play at being Robinson Crusoe. The lighthouses sleep up to six, so take some mates and have a cosy weekend in. Book a lighthouse through the National Trust for Scotland.

Sleep in a bothy
Want the experience of wild camping but with the comfort of four walls? It doesn’t get much cosier than a night holed up in a Scottish bothy. A bothy, for the uninitiated, is a refuge hut or shelter usually found in the mountains and free to sleep in. They can be pretty basic inside, but some have wood stoves and sleeping platforms – and all are of them are located in incredible wild landscapes, often reachable only on foot. This map will help you find Scotland’s bothies so you can plan hikes to reach them. 

Spot puffins on Lunga Island
This beautiful slice of the Inner Hebridean archipelago, described as “a green jewel in a peacock sea”, has been deserted since the 1850s, but each summer it plays host to a huge colony of one of the most charming British birds of all: the Atlantic puffin. Lunga’s puffins have little fear of humans, and if you stand or sit still to watch them, they will happily potter about very close to you – a dream for bird-lovers and wildlife photographers alike.