Thursday, 23 December 2010
Friday, 10 December 2010
Thursday, 18 November 2010
The best way to learn how to navigate the Scottish hills is to get out there and try. Our brilliant instructor ML Mike is a firm believer in learning as you go along and so his Glentrek navigation skills days include a walk to the summit of a hill or to a meaningful destination.
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
A new report has revealed just how important Scotland's amazing landscape and and abundant wildlife are to the economy. The study by Scottish Natural heritage (SNH) shows that "nature-based tourism" is worth £1.4 billion to Scotland. It also supports some 39,000 full-time jobs.
When you take a closer look at the report Scotland benefits by £900 million thanks to walking and landscape enjoyment. People visit Scotland for a wide range of walks, from gentle strolls to mountain challenges.
Of course, we already knew that many people come to Scotland - or stay for a holiday on home turf - to enjoy walking pursuits and holidays. But it's great to have this confirmed by an investigative report. Indeed, we're delighted to be part of this growth industry.
The SNH research also found that wildlife tourism, including bird watching, whale watching, guided walks and practical conservation holidays, brings in £127m and is the main reason for more than one million trips to Scotland each year.
Adventure activities, such as mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking, are worth £178m.
Commenting on the study, Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland’s wonderful natural environment and fascinating wildlife have so much to offer and it’s exciting that there are visitors coming here to appreciate our world-class landscape.
“Tourists obviously enjoy what they see and there’s such a wide variety of activities on offer, whether it’s walking in the glens, spotting some of Scotland’s iconic species or getting involved in conservation.
"Nature based tourism generates significant benefits for the economy, including thousands of jobs. It’s vital that work on the conservation and enhancement of our natural environment continues to ensure we can deliver these benefits for generations to come.”
Ian Jardine, SNH chief executive, added: “We have always known that landscapes and wildlife are one of the main reasons why visitors come to Scotland. We also know that enjoying nature is one of the key activities they like to do when they get here.
"Now we know just how important that is to the economy of Scotland. With spending on nature activities worth nearly 40% of all tourism spending, nature-based tourism can generate significant benefits for the economy."
Great news indeed!
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Just because it's colder, wetter, windier and darker it doesn't mean you should give up on walking in Scotland. As we've been blogging all year, walking is a great form of exercise and a fantastic mood booster so giving up shouldn't be an option. However, winter walking does come with more dangers than in the summer months so it's important that you're prepared for the weather conditions.
Lower-level walking in winter in Scotland
Rain, lighter winds, some ice and perhaps even snow will be the challenges facing the walker in the lower-level hills.
The minimum kit should include: Robust, waterproof walking boots, wick-away base layers, fleece, waterproof jacket, trousers, waterproof overtrousers, warm hat and gloves.
Pack in your rucksack: Extra base layers, an extra fleece, another pair of gloves, water, a flask of hot tea or coffee, food and energy bars or cereal bars, a compass and a map.
High level walking in winter in Scotland
Walking in Scotland's higher hills or mountains in winter is for the experienced only. Alternatively you could hire a guide. Weather conditions can rapidly change and it's vital that you know how to navigate in very low visibility. Expect ice, deep snow, high winds, white outs, heavy snow fall and rain.
Essential kit needs to be carried on your back so you should also be fit.
The minimum kit should include: Four seasons walking boots, wick-away base layers, fleeces, waterproof jacket, trousers, waterproof overtrousers, warm hat and warm gloves.
Pack in your rucksack: Extra base layers, an extra fleece, another pair of gloves, an extra hat, crampons, ice axe, a shelter in case of an accident, mobile phone, water, a flask of hot tea or coffee, food and energy bars or cereal bars, a compass and a map. A GPS gadget is a good idea too but you can't rely on this so a map and compass (and the ability to use them) are vital. A first aid kit would be a wise addition.
Always check the latest weather reports and avalanche warnings before setting out. If in doubt, it's best not to go, instead choosing a lower level alternative.
Monday, 25 October 2010
A new study has revealed yet another reason to get out walking in the Scottish hills. The American survey found that people who walked at least six miles every week had less age-related brain shrinkage than people who walked less.
One of the results of brain shrinkage in later years is memory problems. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, also kills off brain cells and reduces the volume of the brain.
But the University of Pittsburgh research found that people who walk regularly had larger brain volumes.
It was found that people who walked roughly six to nine miles a week halved their risk of developing memory problems.
Thursday, 14 October 2010
While some schoolchildren in Scotland are already enjoying their October break, others in various places in Scotland and most children in England are still looking forward to their traditional mid-term break. We said, the children are looking forward to the holiday! But what about the parents?
It only seems like a couple of weeks ago when the kids were off school for the summer holidays - and now there's another week (and in some cases, two weeks) to keep the little darlings busy and happy. Thankfully October often brings some lovely clear days for outdoors fun. (Outdoors fun = lots of energy burned off!)
You will need to wrap up warm but when the skies are blue, the trees are turning their gorgeous autumnal shades and and the air is crisp and dry it's difficult to think of a better place to be than Scotland.
In fact, here at Glentrek we can't think of a better time to head out for a spirit-lifting walk. (Of course, we might be a little biased but we'll be surprised if you disagree!).
Autumn does bring with it a few more potential dangers on the hills. Walkers should take care to check the weather forecasts and always take the right kit with you. Make sure you have enough emergency clothing, food and water if things turn out to be a bit less than easy-going. It is vital that someone in the group is also good at navigation. (Why not check out our navigation courses?)
And if you're looking for walks to suit the family then we recommend the Angus Glens. The area boasts a wide range of lower level trails and hill walks as well as some of the "easiest" Munros, including Mayar.
The glens also offer a fascinating geography lesson for kids (and even the adults).The Angus Glens comprise five separate glens (or valleys), which are described as resembling the fingers of a giant's hand.
Scoured by huge glaciers during the Ice Age these glens, including Clova, Isla, Prosen, Lethnot and Esk, stretch from the flatter lowlands - known as the Straths - gently upwards like outspread fingers towards the summit tops of rounded hill tops and mountain summits.
While walking in the glens it's easy to spot the work of the glaciers including huge valleys, ribboning rivers, corrie lochs and tumbling waterfalls.
If you're looking for a lower level walk then you could head to the Cateran Trail for a day's hike. The 64-mile long-distance walk is normally completed over five days but much of the walk can be broken down into shorter sections that would be ideal for a family hike.
And while you're in the area you could take the opportunity to try a few other family activities, including cycling, mountain biking and gorge walking. Rainy days are also well catered for in the area with cultural and family friendly attractions such as J M Barrie's birthplace in Kirriemuir, Glamis Castle and RRS Discovery, Dundee.
There's a host of outdoors fun to be had in Angus this October.
Thursday, 7 October 2010
We love to hear about epic walking challenges in the great outdoors. Just this summer Munro bagger extraordinaire Steve Fallon completed his 14th (yes, 14th!) full round of 283 Scottish Munros. What started as a mild distraction some 15 years ago has turned into a full-on hobby and even a business, as Steve now leads people who want to climb Munros.
And now fellow mountaineer Alan Hinkes has succeeded in his attempt to climb all 39 of England’s highest peaks in his latest adventure: the County Tops Challenge. Alan, who was the first British person to climb the world’s 14 highest peaks, took just eight days to reach the summit of the highest peak in each English county.
This is a challenge that Alan had always wanted to do and originally he planned to spread it out over a few years but then he had the opportunity to do the challenge with Pro Trek while raising funds for mountain rescue.
His epic journey began in his home town of Northallerton, from where he headed north, then to Lincolnshire, up the west side of the country and finished in the Lake District. As well as the need for strength and endurance, Alan said that driving and finding the peaks was hard going.
Despite experiencing the wonders and scenery of much higher mountains, such as Everest and K2, Alan is still very much passionate about his home country. He is reported as saying: "My heart is in the British hills."
We couldn't agree more!
Monday, 27 September 2010
For the first time in a long while I set off for a weekend that didn't include plans of hiking up a mountain. I confess it did feel a little strange to be off on a trip with Husband (a defiant non-walker).
The Glenuig Inn accommodation extends to places for 35 people, of which nine are bunkhouse beds and the remaining are various bed combinations in six separate rooms. Prices start at £25 pp B&B
Monday, 20 September 2010
Friday, 17 September 2010
Thursday, 9 September 2010
It's green: Walking and walking holidays are environmentally friendly. If you also arrive on public transport or via bike then you will further reduce your impact on the environment.
What are you waiting for?
Thursday, 2 September 2010
River walk, Airlie Estates, Angus.
Heading from Cortachy Bridge to the Sawmill Bridge, this walk was originally laid out in the 1870s to celebrate a forthcoming visit by Queen Victoria. Unfortunately Her Royal Highness never did arrive, but the trail has been carefully maintained ever since. The magnificent conifer trees were planted at this time and include Wellingtonias, Douglas, Silver Firs and Sitca Spruce. Stunning rhododendrons were planted by successive generations of the Airlie family. There is also a footbridge of note, "The American Bridge ", on the walk, which was formally opened by the American Ambassador of the day, Charles Price. This is a lovely walk in all seasons but in autumn it is particularly gorgeous.
For further directions and information about the River Walk, Airlie
Another stunning walk on the Airlie Estate, the 8km circuit takes in a memorial tower and wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. On a clear autumnal day the vistas are hard to beat.
See Monument Walk
Rocks of Solitude River Walk, Edzell
An impressive gorge in all seasons, the 10.5km circuit via woodland paths and across Gannochy Bridge is simply wonderful. You’ll love kicking through the piles of colourful, crunchy leaves.
See Rocks of Solitude River Walk
Cateran Trail, Perthshire
Know as Big Tree Country, Perthshire offers a wealth of fabulous walks in autumn. A five-day walk along the historic and atmospheric Cateran Trail (see Glentrek's 5-day Cateran Trail break) begins in Big Tree Country. This first day heads through gorgeous woods with lots of colour, which is ideal for soaking up the atmosphere of autumn.
Glen Doll, Angus
Head to the ranger base and choose from a range of wonderful short walks around the glen and forest here. From here you can take a longer walk into the awesome Corrie Fee National Nature Reserve and to several Munros (Scottish mountains more than 3000 feet), such as Mayar and Dreish.
Friday, 27 August 2010
Friday, 20 August 2010
Big Tree Campervans). Both reveal a growing desire from the general public for outdoors holidays but with a bit of luxury thrown in. So instead of seeing camping as a muddy, uncomfortable affair, Glamping was created to add all kinds of modern touches to camping.
In the purest sense, Glamping is apparently more to do with static yurts and tents, which are kitted out with a wealth of 21st century luxuries, including heating, toilets etc. However, there are Glampers who organise their own tent and camping kit, and simply throw into the car as many modern gadgets as possible to make their camping holiday just that bit more glamorous.
Outdoors shops now sell a wealth of 21st century camping accessories such as solar showers, toilets, toilet tents, blow up mattresses, double sleeping bags, armchairs, proper cooking stoves, glasses, cutlery, crockery etc.
Glampervanning is similar except there's the added luxury of a warm van in which to live and sleep. While many campervanners still love the nostalgia of a VW van, increasing numbers are finding there are huge benefits to hiring or buying a more modern campervan. (That is, it's much less likely to breakdown/burn your bank balance in petrol!). And so an outdoors holiday in a modern campervan has been coined Glampervanning.
Whether you like the sound of Glamping or Glampervanning both offer a great base for an outdoors holiday whether you're looking for the convenience of a campsite or the get-away-from-it-all tranquility of a wilder spot. You'll also feel a great deal more inclined to embrace some of Scotland's great outdoor pursuits, such as walking, cycling, climbing, surfing.. oh the list is endless!
So many times I've found the weather in September and October to be ideal for an outdoors weekend or break during the school holidays. Who's up for a bit of Glamping or Glampervanning these next couple of months?
Friday, 13 August 2010
We're happy to oblige as the Angus Glens and the wider Angus region has a great deal to offer the active family. There are lots of beautiful off-road tracks for cycling and lovely flattish trails for walking.
Perhaps, too, this is part of the trend for an increase in staycations. Instead of flying overseas, the stats tell us that more Brits are vacationing at home, in England, Wales and Scotland. The sector for which this is proving most popular is families.
Thanks to Scotland's fantastic outdoors landscape, our country offers the ideal destination for all kinds of active aspirations. In Angus we're a wealth of mountain biking and hiking trails, as well as other activities, such as white water rafting, canyoning, gorge walking, climbing, sea kayaking, Canadian canoeing, sailing and coasteering.
If you want to find out more about what Scotland has to offer - and the wide range of accommodation options - Glentrek will be happy to advise and tailor an active holiday to suit your family.
Monday, 2 August 2010
Every year the Tour de France inspires a host of people to rediscover their bikes. And what a great choice of transportation and fitness cycling offers!
Cycling at even leisurely speeds will burn off an average of 150 calories every 30 minutes. Riding at a moderate pace of 12 to 14mph burns double the calories.
There are a wealth of other positive health facts associated with cycling:
* One study found that regular cycling reduces the risk of premature death from ill-health by 39%.
* Research found that by cycling for half an hour most days of the week, you'll lose as much weight as doing three aerobics classes a week.
Go off-road on countryside trails or to one of Scotland’s many mountain biking centres and the health benefits increase. Riding uphill, going fast downhill and cycling on uneven surfaces will increase fat-burn and offer greater all-over-body toning.
Cycling is also a fantastic way to get around Scotland. Thanks to a wealth of off-road trails, purpose-built mountain bike centres and a network of quiet roads and traffic-free routes, there are many, many miles of countryside to cycle - and explore.
Most people are capable of cycling for an hour or so at a time and you’ll be surprised how far you travel in that time. And once you build up your strength and fitness, you’ll find that a bike offers a great way to get about.
Many more people are also discovering the delights of cycle tour holidays. Whether guided or self-guided, there are plenty of options and companies keen to organise routes, accommodation, bike hire and luggage transfer for you.
The advantage of following a route and schedule is that you are more likely to visit recommended places and benefit from the knowledge of local guides and cyclists.
Companies such as Glentrek know all the best routes in their area and can tailor a cycling tour to suit your aspirations and fitness. The cycling holiday could be a couple of days or a week or two. It might be off-road, on a long-distance cross country route or on quiet roads. It could be self-guided or part of a guided cycling weekend.
The choice is yours. But whatever you decide you’ll most likely lose weight, improve your fitness, meet new people and discover a host of attractions all in one holiday.
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Most of us are looking for way to be more active. For many adults it's the promise of weight loss and improved health that offers the motivation to get off the sofa and out the front door.
If you're trying to find an activity that is accessible, flexible and leads to new and interesting places then walking could be the answer.
The facts make for good reading. Assuming one hour of walking for a person who weighs 10.5 stones then:
* Walking on the flat and at an easy-going pace burns 170 calories.
* Hiking or faster walking on off-road surfaces and up hills burns up to 400 calories.
* Backpacking, ie carrying a backpack while walking off-road, burns around 450 calories.
Almost anyone can take up walking as an activity. For those who are less fit then it's vital that you start slowly and build up steadily. Why not start by walking to the shops or out and about with the kids? Switch off the TV for half an hour in the evening and take your partner out for a walk.
You will see the benefits of walking within a week or so. Being outside and walking in the fresh air will give your skin a healthy glow, boost your energy and help you to start to lose weight. In the long-term it will also tone leg and bum muscles.
Over the next few weeks you should increase your pace a little and walk further. Then, once you can walk at a good pace for more than an hour, including some uphill sections, it's time to take your exercise off-road.
Walking on trails and in the hills burns more calories and boosts muscle tone - but it's also a great way to see more of the countryside. In or near to most villages, towns and cities you'll find a network of fantastic paths and trails that are ideal for walkers. Start by exploring some of those close to your home and then, at weekends, why not travel further?
Scotland boasts numerous waymarked trails to walk, along rivers, in valley, along glens and over hills. The views are usually guaranteed to be wonderful and if you take along some friends or your family then you can enjoy a walk and a chat at the same time.
Before you know it you'll be signing up to a guided walking holiday or taking part in a charity walking challenge. Oh, and the chances are you'll have also lost some weight.