Scotland is likely one of the last places you’d expect to go on an exotic animal expedition. But from mid April through late September the Inner Hebrides play home to a dizzying celebration of the area’s ecosystem, with the Mull Week of Wildlife.
If you book the 7-day tour you’ll be treated to sights of the beguiling basking shark, porpoises and even majestic minke whales off the islands of Mull, Coll and Eigg. While the mighty marine life is unforgettable, seeing thousands of nesting puffins on the Treshnish Isles shouldn’t be underestimated. Captivating simply doesn’t cover this mesmerising event.
The Newton Stewart Walking Festival continues our celebration of Scottish outdoor events at a brisk pace in early May. Set over seven days and with 28 different walking routes, the ‘gateway to the Galloway Hills’ takes in both Munro-rivaling summits and a stunning wealth of scenery.
During the festival you’ll cover wonderful woodlands, pristine lochs and breathless coastal detours. So whether you’re looking to face the ‘Awful Hand’ - a daunting range of hills reaching heights of up to 2,766 ft - or simply want to take in the picturesque, waterfall-strewn scenery, this event is ideal for anyone who appreciates the outdoors.
Come to the Cairngorms
Situated in the humbling surrounds of the eastern Cairngorms National Park, the Ballater Royal Deeside Walking Festival is perhaps the most eclectic event of its kind in Scotland. Taking place in late May, the festival includes a range of easy, medium and strenuous walks. Whether travelling through beautiful birch woods during a gentle jaunt from Inver to Auchtavan or tackling the taxing ‘Streak of Lightning’ path on the Bachnagairn Circular, the Cairngorms’ vast glens can’t fail to inspire the imagination.
To the southeast, discover the Scottish Six Day Trial. The world’s most challenging bike trial takes place every May in the Lochaber area, attracting over 270 of the globe’s best riders. The Trial remains a thrilling prospect for spectators, as competitors cover over 100 miles of rocky crevices and rugged moorland each day. The event even begins with a spectacular pipe band cavalcade through Fort William.
If you cherish your walking boots more than your car the Angus Glens Walking Festival is an essential event. Taking place between late May and early June, it’s situated in an area often described as Scotland in miniature, thanks to some stunning, constantly changing topography. Spanning both exquisite lowlands and enthralling mountainous regions, walkers can experience everything from seeing golden eagles in Glen Doll forest to spotting dolphins off the Red Sand Stone Cliffs.
While there are many sporting shows held throughout the Highlands, there is nothing to compare with The Games. The Braemar Gathering is held on the first Saturday in September and remains the most prestigious set of Highland Games. Not only is Her Majesty the Queen patron, but the Royal Family attends every year. From the InterServices Tug of War to the magisterial sounds of the Massed Pipe Bands, the Gathering is perhaps Scotland's definitive outdoor event.
Later in the autumn the Perthshire 'Big Tree Country’s' Enchanted Forest is home to one of the UK’s most utterly unique outdoor light shows. Recently celebrating its tenth anniversary, this audio visual feast regularly attracts over 25,000 people every October. Illuminating from the woodlands near Pitlochry, the award-winning festival provides sensational sights for the senses like no other event in Scotland.
The Mersehead Nature Reserve’s Goosey Ganders event also means October is a month to note for wildlife lovers. One of Scotland’s most idyllic reserves set on the shores of Solway, this intriguing tour gives visitors a guided walk to see the Svalbard Barnacle Geese. These creatures are one of the world’s most distinctive migratory waterbirds.
Witnessing whales languishing in the western waters of Mull. Seeing Her Majesty’s Forces battle it out in a relay race in Braemar. Taking in the exhilarating sights and sounds of a motorcross trial. Whatever your tastes, Scotland is the perfect destination for any outdoor enthusiast.