Friday, 25 November 2011

Grown ups just wanna have fun not boring exercise

If exercise is fun, then it stands to reason that we're more likely to keep at it. It seems that the problem with many keep-fit activities is that they are just too dull and repetitive. As well as a lack of time, another big reason for adults shunning exercise is "it's too boring".

But if you think a little outside the boundaries of "normal" exercise, such as going to the gym, running and swimming, it's possible to see a range of opportunities for fun and engaging fitness activities.

For example, have you thought about climbing? Whether indoors or outdoors, climbing is great for strength and toning and also offers advantages of flexibility and cardiovascular benefits. Climbing is more of a "leisure pursuit" and also involves chatting while sorting out belays and next climbs, and breaks for nice cake and coffee. Trying new routes and challenges keeps this sport interesting.

Mountain biking is also high on the fun factor, and great for body toning and cardiovascular fitness. The challenges are there to suit a wide range of people, ages and aspirations. Again, chat and coffee stops are all part of the culture – and you'll rarely repeat the same trail or bunny hop twice so it's very unlikely to become boring.

Outdoor adventure pursuits, including canyoning, gorge walking, surfing, white water rafting and coasteering can be enjoyed on a regular basis. This sports are high on adrenaline and also require you to be physically active. There is no chance of being bored taking part in adventure activities and you'll find yourself pleasantly physically and mentally tired by the end of a session.

Hill and mountain walking: Walking is one of the most accessible, and cheapest, forms of exercise. Walking to the shops or walking your kids to school might become a bit boring, but heading to Scotland's hills and mountains for a walk is completely different. A day in the hills offers physical and mental challenges and will leave you feeling de-stressed and high in spirits. Walking is also a great muscle toner and calorie burner.

Next time you imagine that keep-fit is boring, try thinking of a new activity.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Great outdoors activity ideas for October

The October school holidays are almost upon us again! It only seems like yesterday that the children were off school for the long summer holidays - and now you'll be called on to by Chief Entertainer again. But don't worry, we have a list of great ideas to keep the kids (and mums and dads) busy and active in the October school break.

Great activities for families

A is for: Abseiling and archery. Not together, but perhaps one after the other? If you dress for the weather, with warm winter outdoors clothing and accessories, there are so many possibilities for enjoying days in the outdoors in October. Abseiling is a great challenge and can be adapted to suit most abilities. At Highway2Adventure we pride ourselves on finding brilliant places for abseiling and for encouraging children and adults to enjoy the thrills of descending crags in the knowledge that they are safely harnessed and roped. Our expert instructors will show you how to have fun and push your limits just a wee bit.

And after the challenge of abseiling, why not try archery. This activity is growing in popularity and allows children and adults to compete on an even playing field. See who can score the most bullseyes in your session.

C is for... Climbing, canoeing, caving and coastal walks. Wow, there are so many activities to choose from! Why not decide on a couple of sessions and combine them in one day of full-on fun, or choose a different activity for each day of the week? Again, don't worry about the chill factor, even on the water, as we have all the right kit to keep you warm even on a cool Autumn day.

M is for... Mountain biking and mud. Highway2Adventure knows all the great off-road and mountain biking routes in the Cairngorms, Perthshire and Angus so while you enjoy the trails and views, we'll lead the way. Mountain biking is great for children over the age of 12 and adults, and we can tailor our sessions to suit your ability. You'll find you're as warm as toast, whatever the weather, within a couple of minutes of setting out on a bike.

* Coming soon: Keep an eye on this website for our 2012 Activity Adventure weeks for children.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Make the time for Scotland's great outdoors

It seems so hard to believe – especially when you live in Scotland – but research has revealed that half of Brits claim they are just too busy to enjoy the beauty of Britain. Apparently, it's their work and home lives that take up too much time, and this leaves them unable to get out into our great outdoors, and enjoy what the countryside has to offer.

The study by One Poll found that almost two-thirds of people say that they take the beauty of the countryside for granted, while just over half feel they are caught up in the same old routine and can't find the time to take notice of rural surroundings.

But does it really require a huge effort to get outdoors and into the countryside? We don't think so. There are a multitude of simple ways for you to enjoy a little nature. And all too often you don't have to travel that far to enjoy the outdoors.

Most people in Scotland live within a short drive or train journey of fabulous countryside. And even within the boundaries of towns and cities there are a host of places where you can see wildlife or enjoy a rural-style wander. One great new campaign is the Scottish Natural Heritage's campaign Simple Pleasures, Easily Found. This website and guide reveals many places within Scottish cities where you can walk or cycle in pockets of greenery, and discover a wealth of natural treasures, including lovely rivers, birds, wild animals and gorgeous plant life.

Another way to easily access the countryside is via the ever widening network of walking and cycling paths created by Sustrans. Many routes head from villages, towns and cities into the countryside or through urban areas on canal towpaths or river banks.

Why not agree a day once every month or so when you and the whole family go to the coast or walk a hill? If the date is marked in your diary then there is a much greater chance that you will all take the opportunity to get away from the house and enjoy the great outdoors.

As a treat, you could book an adventure activity once every few months. Or book a week's break in Scotland and join a range of adventure activity sessions, perhaps climbing, coasteering or canyoning. It needn't break the bank and in any case it's difficult to put a price on the benefits of quality family time.

Another way to encourage your family to make more of the outdoors is embark on a walk or cycle along a long-distance waymarked route. There are many routes criss-crossing Scotland and you could divide the entire distance into shorter, manageable half-day outings. Check out:

The Cateran Trail

Southern Upland Way

West Highland Way

Scotland is too beautiful to simply overlook it. And summertime is definitely the right time to make the most of what is on our doorstep.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Hot new trend for the "playcation"

First there was the staycation, now the hottest holiday trend for this summer is the “playcation”. According to research almost four in 10 British families are planning an activity-based break this year.

The study by revealed that more than half of those asked are keen to try new sports and reported that their playcation would be their main holiday.

One reason for taking a more active holiday is to “spend time with family”. It seems that because busy home and work lives have a major impact on the amount of time spent being together as a family, many parents are now keen to get away for an all-inclusive children and adult activity holiday.

Another factor is that many parents now believe that children aren’t satisfied by a lie-by-the-pool vacation. Instead they are keen to try holidays with their kids that include hiking, cycling, canoeing and horse riding.

The more daring also said they will be doing assault courses, climbing and archery or shooting while on holiday.

Highway 2 Adventure is delighted that more families are planning an active holiday. Owner and instructor Mike McLaggan says: “It's great that so many families are planning adventure holidays as a way of getting together and trying something different. Being outdoors and having fun is such a great way to spend time together."

Friday, 6 May 2011

Why kids love outdoor climbing

Looking down from his position six metres above the ground, 10-year-old Thomas cracks a broad smile and briefly lets go of his grip with one hand to give a thumbs up sign. After several minutes of determined climbing, some highly audible huffing and puffing and a fair amount of scrabbling, the youngster’s determination to reach the top of a tricky crag face located amid picturesque Perthshire countryside has paid off.
His 11-year-old friend Ryan is almost as pleased with Tom’s efforts. “Awesome,” he says, gazing upwards. “He’s really good at climbing already, isn’t he? But surely it’s my turn now.”

And so the second that a rosy-cheeked Tom returns to firm ground following a smooth abseil off the summit, Ryan begins to busy himself with the task of tying a rope into his harness and belay system.

For Tom, Ryan and another friend Hollie, also 10, a chance to learn the basics of outdoors climbing for Tom’s birthday treat offers fun challenges and lots of rewards.

Coached by an informative and child-friendly instructor during a morning session the young climbing trio learn how to put on a harness and how to safely configure the rope, harness and belay system via an anchor at the top of the crag.

They have also been shown where to stand while other people are climbing and how to tackle a rock climbing route.

In just a couple of hours the youngsters have made around 10 ascents of increasingly challenging routes along a low but long “sport climbing” crag near Crieff.

Highway 2 Adventure instructor Michael, who can organise bespoke climbing trips and group climbing parties in Angus and Perthshire, says that children are quick learners and make natural climbers. “Most kids instinctively want to climb up and over things and they have this in-built enthusiasm so the activity of climbing is perfect for them,” he says.

“As soon as you show them a few tips about where to put their feet and hands and a bit about body positioning they’re off.”

Michael also explains that climbing does not have to be about reaching the top or being competitive. “The great thing about climbing is that it offers all kinds of goals for all kinds of
people,” he says.

“For some kids simply putting on the harness and getting a few feet off the ground feels like a really big achievement. Others aren’t happy unless that have topped out. But either way there is a lot to be gained for children both mentally and physically.”

In fact, many experts believe that climbing offers an ideal “alternative” fitness activity for youngsters. According to Kevin Howett, development officer at The Mountaineering Council of Scotland, climbing appeals to children who aren’t so keen on traditional sports, such as football or hockey.

Kevin says: “There are no set rules for climbing – other than the safety guidelines – and participants can move and progress at their own pace without needing to form part of a team. Many children love the freedom that climbing brings.”

To find out more about the fun and challenges of climbing outdoors please give Highway2Adventure a call or send an email.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Water way to enjoy yourself!

With summer now warming Scotland's great outdoors, and a wealth of long weekends and holidays, now is the time to book a water-based adventure. Whatever your experience or aspirations, Scotland's rivers, lochs and coast offer numerous opportunities for lots of fun. Here we bring you a guide to great water-based outdoor activities for a range of people:

For families:
You only need a sense of adventure and the ability to swim to enjoy the great family adventure activity of Gorge Walking . Wearing a wetsuit and buoyancy aid, participants take to water-filled gorges and have the chance to really let themselves go! Gorge walking can involve a whole range of ways of traversing the gorge, including sliding down rapids, swimming in frothy water, whizzing down flumes and leaping from big rocks into deep pools.

For couples and friends
Canyoning is brilliant fun especially if you're looking for an activity that is more on the adrenaline side of bonkers. Ideal for couples, groups of friends, hens or stags and families with older children, canyoning involves traversing and descending the natural landscape, heading along rivers and down water-filled gorges. Thanks to expert leaders you'll learn how to climb, abseil, swim, jump and swirl around in deep ravines set amid fabulous Scottish scenery. With Highway 2 Adventure, canyon adventurers will experience the thrill of a 75ft abseil into the foot of a gorge followed by an exciting swim down water into a jump pool.

For shore huggers
View Scotland's coast in a new and up-close way thanks to the adventure activity of coasteeering. This sport sees adventurers navigating their way along sections of Scotland's shoreline, using a combination of swimming, scrambling, rock climbing, sea level traversing and jumping. It's fun, exciting, thrilling and a great way to take in the shoreline.

What water-based activity will you choose to do in Scotland this summer?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Spring into outdoors action with your family

Spring is here! Most children are off school – or are about to break up for their Easter holidays – so how about planning a great quality day out in Scotland? Scotland's great outdoors is the ideal environment for enjoying some family time together and there is little to beat a few fun and adrenaline-fuelled activities.

Research has shown that families that take part in fun activities together tend to communicate more and with greater effectiveness. They are also more likely to have fitter and healthier lifestyles. And if parents want to set a good and healthy example to their children, then getting out and about in the fresh air is one of the best ways to go.

A day in the outdoors could be as simple as a walk and a picnic. Cycling is another great activity for families as it is highly accessible for a wide range of ages and abilities. Why not check out Glentrek for some great walking ideas in the Angus Glens?

If you are looking for an activity that is a little different and offers a lot of fun and adventure then why not try one of Highway 2 Adventure's sessions based in the Eastern Highlands of Scotland? There is something for everyone, regardless of your fitness and adrenaline-seeking ideas.

Gorge walking is perfect for families with younger children (aged over 12). Your kids do need to be able to swim confidently but it is possible to tailor each activity to suit the family.

Mountain biking is another great activity for children of all ages, and grown-ups of all fitness levels. Highway 2 Adventure can guide you to the perfect mountain biking location for you. Will you choose self-guided, guided or perhaps a skills based session?

Or how about taking on the challenge of climbing and abseiling? No prior experience is required and the activity can be extremely rewarding when you realise how high you've managed to climb after just a couple of hour's of instruction. A lot of the fun is in the descent, too.

For families with older and more confident children, then canyoning and coasteering make a thrilling choice.

Whatever your outdoor aspirations, let Highway 2 Adventure show you how to have a day of fun with your family.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Find out more about ... Gorge walking in Scotland

If you thought that the gorgeous gorges and rivers of Angus, Perthsire and Aberdeenshire were just for looking at then you will not have found out about the fun of gorge walking. Certainly these picturesque locations set in the heart of some of Scotland’s best scenery make great eye candy for visitors but they also provide the ideal setting for the great water-based activity of gorge walking.

Gorge walking is an adventure pursuit that sees participants ­ – dressed warmly in wetsuits ­– walking and swimming through rivers and down waterfalls.

Getting wet is all part of the entertainment with this activity that is ideal for children and adults.

The idea is to walk, swim and traverse from A to B along a gorge chosen by the experts at Highway2Adventure for its safety and range of natural features. Once in the water you can expect to slide down water rapids and over huge rocks, swim in washing-machine style frothy water, whizz down water flumes, jump from rocks into deep pools and generally enjoy an adventure with a difference.

Gorge walking is ideal for anyone aged over 12. It's important that you can swim and that you have a bit of confidence in the water. Apart from this the instructors at Highway2Adventure will show you all you need to know, such as how to jump off rocks safely.

Many families enjoy gorge walking but it would also suit a group for a birthday, a stag or hen celebration or a corporate day out.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Find time for fun time with your family

Doing activities as part of a family is shown to have a very positive affect on children and their relationship with their parents. Research has revealed over and again that family activities promote relationship bonding and increase communication. And, of course, being active with your family is a great deal of fun. But we all have busy lives so it’s not always that simple to create time to enjoy activities as a family group. Here we bring you a guide to making more time for activities with your family.

Plan ahead: Put a large wall chart-style family calendar up in your home and get every member to write in their commitments and personal activities. This way you will be able to clearly see when everyone has space to get together as a family group. If you mark on a fun activity that the whole family will be doing then it also gives everyone something to look forward to.

Why not plan a weekend away trying new outdoors activities such as gorge walking, canyoning or coasteering? Highway2Adventure can tailor a day to suit all ages and aspirations. Doing something new and adventurous with the whole family will bring you closer together and give you something new to talk about.

Keep talking: Find a time every day when you can all sit down and chat. It could be your family dinnertime or just before bedtime when the children are winding down. If you all know that there will be 10 minutes each day when you can talk about problems or the day's highlights then communication avenues will be kept open.

Fun and games: It could be a board game, a computer game, the Wii or an old-fashioned go at skipping or hopscotch. Let each family member take a turn of choosing the game and set aside a period of time each week when you will all get together to play the game. Although you should encourage a bit of healthy competition between family members, it is also important to ensure that everyone finishes the game on friendly terms. For a more organised group activity for a family day out or a birthday party check out these ideas with Highway2Adventure.

Getting out and about: Fresh air and exercise are vital for healthy and fit children so make sure that you find time every weekend or holiday for an outdoors adventure. Allowing each family member to choose their favourite walk route, bike ride (and café stop) will keep everyone smiling. And as a holiday treat why not book a totally new outdoors activity such as kayaking, mountain biking or climbing?

Time for one: If you have more than one child then it can be a great idea to find a time every month or so when one parent spends time with each of the children alone. On a one-to-one outing you’ll perhaps discover more about what your child is thinking or hoping to achieve than if they are part of the big family group. Family together time is important but so is special time with just one-parent-to-one-child.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Find out more about... coasteering in Scotland

Jump into some great coasteering fun in
the north-east of Scotland this year

Like children picking treats in a sweetie shop the range and variety of outdoor adventure activities in Scotland is exciting yet sometimes mesmerising. We will be blogging about the different adventure activities on offer with Highway 2 Adventure so that you can make the right choice for you and your friends or family.

What is coasteeering?

Coasteering is a fun and exciting activity that sees participants of all ages navigating their way along sections of Scotland’s gorgeous shoreline. Coasteering takes in a range of pursuits, including swimming, jumping, scrambling, climbing and seashore traversing.

The chances are you'll encounter Zawns (rock slots that cut into sea cliffs), Buffer Zones (the swell drop-offs behind rock outcrops) and Pour Overs (areas where waves push over boulders).

No two coasteering trips are ever the same because of differing weather and sea conditions and Highway 2 Adventure can tailor trips to suit different adrenaline desires or ages.

Why Highway 2 Adventure?: The east coast of Scotland offers a fabulous setting for coasteering adventures. The scenery is wonderful and coasteering offers a great way to explore some remote and hard-to-get-to places set amid stunning scenery. You may also be lucky enough to catch sight of some of Scotland’s wildlife, including seabirds, seals and dolphins.

Who will enjoy coasteering?: Participants should be able to swim and have a sense of adventure but you do not have to do anything you do not feel comfortable with. Everyone is shown how to safely jump into pools or make a traverse so all you need to do is let yourself go and have some fun.

Why not ask about Highway2Adventure's bespoke hen and stag do coasteering trips or coasteering for family groups? Highway2Adventure can tailor trips for families to suit ages and desires.

What's more: A coasteering trip usually takes place in spring or summer and participants will wear wetsuits for warmth.Other kit that is provided incudes buoyancy aid, boots and helmet. You’ll need to wear a swimsuit underneath. A session lasts around 2 hours and is priced from around £35 per person.

Go on..why not give this fun outdoors adventure activity a go this spring or summer?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Scotland the adventure destination

Scotland has become renowned worldwide as a top destination for outdoor adventure seekers. Thanks to the stunning and varied landscape, as well as the enthusiasm and expertise of outdoor activity providers and instructors, people come from across the UK and overseas to enjoy easy access to a wealth of fun outdoor pursuits.

Situated in the beautiful southern Cairngorm National Park, yet still close to the vibrant city of Dundee, we reckon Highway2Adventure is in one of the best locations to offer a wealth of outdoor activities, and for all ages and desires.

We enjoy a fabulous coastline on our doorstep with numerous sandy beaches, coves and cliffs.

The shoreline is ideal for adventures such as coasteering, sea kayaking and climbing. Here you’ll also find lots of Scottish wildlife, including seabirds and marine life.

Inland within the Cairngorms National Park are the green and rolling hills of Angus Glens. Waterfalls, rivers, moors and mountains offer the perfect terrain for outdoor activities, including canyoning, gorge walking, climbing/abseiling and mountain biking.

What are you waiting for? Why not book your next trip to Scotland and join us for a great outdoors adventure?