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.