The UK and Ireland have natural environments that are ripe for adventure. From hiking the Hebridean Way to sea kayaking in Devon, here are 8 inspiring activities to enjoy in the summer months...
Scholar's Path (Mick Blunt)
The Hebridean Way was launched earlier this year. Stretching from the north to the south of the Outer Hebrides and spanning 10 islands, the 250-kilometre walking route is interconnected by ferries and causeways to explore the best of the island offerings, including Uist, Berneray and the Isle of Lewis and Harris. It's a mix of purpose-built sections, footpaths, peat tracks and quiet roads.
The rugged terrain and famously changeable weather make for a typically Scottish hiking experience. Those seeking wildlife will have the chance to spot white-tailed eagles, red deer, minke whales and otters.
You can also try out the Herbridean Way cycling route, covering the same islands, just on a different (more road-based) route.
Llanddwyn Island Lighthouse (Dreamstime)
The Isle of Anglesey coastal path is a still-developing long distance route in an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The path is designed for walking, although there are sections for cyclists and horse riders. It passes through farmland, coastal heath, dunes, cliffs and a few small clusters of woodland.
The trail also cuts through Cemlyn Nature Reserve, home to tern colonies during the summer months. Peregrines and porpoises can also be spotted along the way. The whole route takes around 12 days to complete, with highlights including Holyhead Mountain and Llanddwyn Island.
The path covers 200km, officially starting at St Cybi's Church in Holyhead, but it's been divided into 12 sections for easy-to-manage day-long hikes.
Arisaig is located in Invernessshire on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, the village dotted with white-painted cottages, offering views of the rocky coast and surrounding islands.
From the village, you can kayak along rocky shorelines, exploring remote islands inhabited by sea birds. You’ll have the chance to explore 'the Skerries', a network of shallow channels and small islands, populated with seals, oystercatchers and terns.
Neist Point, Isle of Skye (Dreamstime)
The Isle of Skye is renowned for its sea cliffs and areas of great natural beauty, including fantastic peaks and rock formations: a top spot for mountain climbing. The Inaccessible Pinnacle is considered the most difficult of the Munros, Scotland’s highest mountains.
There is a spread of places to climb with different grades and rock types available on the island, from Neist Point’s impressive cliffs to the hair-raising Cuillin Ridge Traverse. Routes vary in length, with suitable terrain for taster sessions, learning new skills and exploring classic routes with a guide.
Derrigimlagh (Fáilte Ireland)
The Wild Atlantic Way is one of the most successful long distance routes to have launched in recent years, a fantastic way to explore parts of Ireland's coast. For a bit of bog action, you can hire a bike in Clifden, Galway, on Ireland's west coast, and set out on one of the area’s quiet county roads, bringing you through the townland of Derrigimlagh. The journey will take you by the blanket bog where you can stop to view the remains of the world’s first permanent transatlantic radio station. Built by Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi, the station transmitted the first transatlantic radio signal in 1907.
Nearby, there's a white memorial in the shape of an aeroplane wing, which pays tribute to John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown, who, in 1919, were the first pilots to fly non-stop across the Atlantic, before they safely crash-landed in Derrigimlagh Bog.
The mouth of the Dart Estuary in Devon (Dreamstime)
The Dart Estuary in Devon provides gentle kayaking possibilities, with plenty of sheltered bays and inlets to explore, making it a good location for families who like to paddle together. Sea Kayak Devon's guided Family Trip allows you to take in hidden lagoons, discover shipwrecks, and paddle in and out of caves.
You can stop for a rest on a remote beach and toast marshmallows over a driftwood campfire. The company also has wild family camps where you can learn about bushcraft.
Stand up paddle boarding (Newquay Activity Centre)
Stand-up paddle boarding is a mix between surfing and kayaking, standing on the board and using a paddle for steering and balance. It's become all the rage around the world over the last decade. This year, Newquay Activity Centre is taking the sport to ridiculous extremes with giant inflatable paddle boards.
Along with a lifeguard-trained guide, up to eight people can splash along Newquay’s craggy coastline, with the chance to spot dolphins along the way. The town’s world class surfing beaches and lively atmosphere make it an essential stop-off point for those visiting Cornwall.
Walking alpacas (Lingholme Estate)
The Lingholm Estate is hosting 90-minute alpaca walks along the shore of Derwentwater in the Lake District this summer, the National Park recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
12 male alpacas have taken up residence in the grounds, and can be spotted swimming and paddling by the lakeshore. Visitors can feed the animals and take them for a stroll along paths once walked by Beatrix Potter.
The route passes the newly created ‘Victorian’ Walled Garden, on the site of the kitchen garden featured in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Main image: Man hiking in Scottish Highlands (Dreamstime)
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