January 24, 2011

Och aye – 'Active Scotland' events for 2011

Scotland has launched a year of exciting activities and events with the announcement of Active Scotland. The year-long programme of events, festivals and activities will outline Scotland as a must-visit active and adventure destination and showcase the best of Scotland to the world.

Pic by Dave Conner

From gentle coastal walks to long-distance treks through challenging terrain; open canoeing on a tranquil loch to the thrill of white-water rafting down a fast flowing river; or the fun of a family bike ride to the rush of mountain biking through forests – Active Scotland has something to offer those of all ages and abilities.

Scotland offer endless opportunities for adventure, from snowboarding and ice climbing in the mountains to canyoning in the water, and from skiing in the Cairngorms to mountain biking in the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway and Fort William, visitors are spoilt for choice. Not forgetting that visitors can get out and about in the Home of Golf, with over 550 golf courses throughout the country.

Here are just some of Scotland’s active and adventure events for 2011.

Melrose Sevens, Scottish Borders, 9 April

Rugby 7s was founded in Melrose in 1883. The game of rugby 7s is now played on an international stage from Hong Kong to Scotland and is testimony to its founder in the Scottish Borders town, Ned Haig. 2011 is the 128th playing of the Melrose Sevens and it is proposed to continue an extended tournament with guest teams coming from far and near.


Pic by Spider Dog

St Andrews Golf Week, St Andrews, 10-16 April

The St Andrews Golf Week is an annual event for amateur golfers and is held in St Andrews – The Home of Golf. The St Andrews Golf Week was established in 1974 and continues to attract golfers from all over the world. In 2010, there were golfers from fourteen different countries including USA, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Scotland, Germany, Norway, India, Ireland, Singapore, France and England.


O’Neill Cold Water Classic Scotland, Thurso, Northern Highlands, 29 April – 6 May

Lying at 59 degrees north, Thurso is the most Northern wave spot on the planet to host a professional surfing event, with waves which on their day can rival the north shore of Hawaii.

With its inspired mobile format, the Coldwater Classic Scotland is free to choose between Scotland’s prime surfing venue and the fast reef break of Thurso East, the shallow hollow at The Bowl of Brim’s Ness, and the classic beach break of Strathy.


The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Speyside, Aberdeenshire, 1 – 10 May

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2009. Held each year during the first long weekend in May, the festival creates an opportunity for visitors to enjoy a visit to Speyside before the start of the main tourism season. The Festival invites visitors to celebrate Scotland’s national drink through an inventive and wide-ranging programme of whisky-inspired events, some educational, all of them fun. There are unique tours and tastings, many at distilleries not normally open to visitors, opportunities to meet whisky experts, matching food and whisky events, a local food fair, master classes and lectures, wildlife walks with whisky treats, art and craft, mountain biking tours, family fun days and many more entertaining events.


The Drambuie Pursuit, Highlands, May

The Drambuie Pursuit has always been an amazing experience. An epic journey for strong minds, wills and bodies. Just as Bonnie Prince Charlie inspired an army, changed history and nailed the impossible because of something he truly believed in – we now want you to run in his footsteps for a cause that you hold dear. The Drambuie Pursuit is a once-in-a-lifetime, energy-charged adventure challenge across the Scottish Highlands, starting on the Isle of Skye and ending in Inverness. En route, you’ll compete in an array of exciting mental and physical challenges, including white-water rafting, abseiling, mountain biking and kayaking.


Highland Games, Throughout Scotland, May-September

Around 100 Highland games and gatherings take place in Scotland each year. Each one has a mix of piping, athletic events and Highland dancing.

Emirates Airlines Edinburgh Rugby Sevens, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, 28-29 May

The Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens is a rugby union sevens tournament, part of the IRB Sevens World Series, held at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. It has the honour of being the last event in each season’s IRB Sevens.


Angus Glens Walking Festival, Angus, 2-5 June

The Angus Glens Walking Festival is a walking opportunity which will open your eyes, stimulate your senses and reveal to you many of the hidden treasures of this enigmatic part of Scotland.

The award winning 4 day Festival is now engraved in the very fabric of Scotland’s outdoor activities calendar. Each year the festival includes evening entertainment as well as walks to suit all tastes and abilities. Experienced mountain leaders, guide groups, Countryside Rangers and Estate Managers support the walkers’ experience with their knowledge of local history, wildlife and farming.


UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Fort William, 4-5 June

A stunning celebration of two-wheeled action in the Highlands. The Fort William World Cup is one of 9 events taking place in Europe, Canada and USA, from April to September. At a World Cup, riders can compete as individuals, for factory teams or for their National Teams and there are few restrictions on entry other than a minimum standard of UCI points.

Although the Olympics (XCO only) and the World Championships medals are the best recognised titles in mountain biking, they are both one-off competitions, whereas the World Cup overall title is the best reflection of performance over a range of different courses through the season.


Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh, 23-26 June

The Royal Highland Show is held by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, founded in 1784 to promote the regeneration of rural Scotland. Occupying almost a three hundred acre site right next to Edinburgh Airport on the western fringe of Scotland’s Capital City, the event is an annual ‘must’ for the major herds, flocks and studs across the UK as well as being firmly in the calendar of a huge variety of businesses which take trade stands to promote and sell their products.

The 170th Royal Highland Show in 2010 attracted 187,600 visitors over 4 days making it an all time record for the event and ensuring it continues to be one of the UK’s top agricultural shows and Scotland’s leading international agricultural event.


Barclays Scottish Open, Loch Lomond, 7-10 July

The Scottish Open has been played at Loch Lomond since 1996, just two years after the course was opened. In that short time the tournament and the venue have grown in stature, with brilliant notices from the world’s best golfers, to become a highlight of the European Tour. The course nestles in 660 acres of the Clan Colquhoun Estate and is surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of the mountains and loch. The course is criss-crossed by streams, awash with marshes and cloaked in fabulous mature trees.


Johnnie Walker Championship 2011, Gleneagles, Perthshire, August

Diageo is proud to be the host and sponsor of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles on its 11th anniversary. Held over The PGA Centenary Course, venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup, this is one of the leading events on The PGA European Tour International Schedule of Events and will welcome some of the best golfers in the world to one of the most beautiful places in the world.


Cowal Highland Gathering, Dunoon, Argyll, 25-27 August

The biggest highland games in the world, the Cowal Highland Gathering has all the traditional elements of a highland games. The Highland dancing competitions and the heavy events are always the crowd pleasers, especially tossing the caber! But is also a great family day out with lots of other entertainment on offer, including a food fair, with a focus on Argyll speciality produce.


Braemar Gathering, Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, 3 September

Each year the village of Braemar in Royal Deeside, Scotland invites people from all over the world ‘to come over the hills’ to attend the Braemar Gathering and Highland Games. The Gathering is always held on the first Saturday in September and it is perhaps the most famous Highland Games anywhere. It features the finest Pipe Bands, pipers, Highland dancers, and athletes in a beautiful setting surrounded by hills. The patron of the Gathering is Her Majesty the Queen.

The Braemar Gathering has been regularly attended by members of the Royal Family since Queen Victoria first attended in 1848. Indeed, King Malcolm Canmore held games nearby almost 1000 years ago so there is a long ‘pedigree’.


Tiree Wave Classic, Inner Hebrides, October

2010 marks the 24th anniversary of the Tiree Wave Classic; a festival which attracts top windsurfers from all over the world. The backdrop on the remote island of Tiree also pulls in photographers and film crews to capture stunning shots. The festival also incorporates an Event Village giving visitors the chance to try out new activities and hone their skills.


For more information on things to do during the Year of Active Scotland go to www.activevisitscotland.com or

About Megan Singleton


Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this blog as well as on radio every week and a few newspapers and mags from time to time. I set off on this travel blog malarkey 17 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!)I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

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