A to Z of outdoors activities to try: Part 1

With a growing range of outdoors activities on offer in the UK, this could be your year to give a few a try. Most outdoor activities are suitable for children and adults (look out for height and age restrictions on some, however) and many providers will happily adapt an activity to suit your aspirations, adrenaline levels and the age range of your group.

Here we bring you a two-part A to z guide to outdoors activities in the UK.

A is for Abseiling: The traditional way is to abseil is backwards, but you can also head down the rock face forwards, too. Whatever you choose, abseiling offers a thrilling challenge for a wide range of abilities.

B is for bugging: Also known as river bugging, this activity sees participants climbing aboard an inflatable “bug” – like a one-man inflatable armchair boat – and heading down river navigating white water cascades, eddies and rapids. There’s little else to compare to this crazy water-based sport, which will also see you bumping off rocks and river banks like a water-borne dodgem car.

C is for climbing: Head to one of a growing number of indoor climbing walls and centres. From child-friendly bouldering and lower grade walls to towering climbing walls there is a climbing challenge for all. It is worth having a few lessons to begin with so that you can then safely climb and belay each other.

D is for Duals: A new snow-based craze that has arrived in the UK is Dual Snowboarding. A cross between skiing and snowboarding, Dual riders have two mini boards attached to each foot. Riding can be done in snow domes across the UK, or on Scotland’s snowy slopes. The Duals are particularly good for performing tricks and stunts. See Stick Your Trick

E is for expeditions: Fancy planning your own bespoke expedition? Many outdoors providers will help you to create a trip to suit your aspirations and budget. Whether on foot, in sea kayaks, in open boats, or on bikes, a bespoke expedition is a great way to take in the UK’s great outdoors. Let your imagination create a trip for 2013.

F is for a Forest Safari: This is a great opportunity to introduce the kids to the wonders of the natural environment during a Land Rover safari trek amid Scottish Highland countryside. In Perthshire is Highland Safaris, which offers a range of safaris that guide you through stunning countryside and with the chance to see animals such as deer and red squirrels and many different birds.

G is for go-karting: A fun activity for all the family, go-karting puts adults and children in an even competitive field as they race around tracks to see who can be the top driver.

H is for hover crafting: It’s not a car, boat or plane. There are no brakes, gears, reverse of wheels. Until you have tried hovercrafting you will never know what it feels like to skim at speed across the ground’s surface on a cushion of air.

I is for ice climbing: The Ice factor at Kinlochleven, in the Scottish Highlands, gives adventurers the chance to try the challenging sport of ice climbing on the world’s biggest indoor ice wall. Some 500 tonnes of snow are used to create this amazing facility with climbing opportunities ranging from easy-ish to extreme. See www.ice-factor.co.uk

J is for jumping: Cliff jumping has become one of the UK’s must-do adventure activities. From mini leaps to adrenaline-buzzing high jumps into deep-water pools the sport most often takes place as part of a gorge walking or canyoning adventure.

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K is for kayaking: Kayaking is one of the fastest growing adventure sports in the UK. You can kayak at the coast or on lakes. Most outdoors providers will be able to customise a kayaking adventure to suit your experience and the ages of people in your group.

Land yachting: Combining the grace of sailing with the buzz of motor racing, land yachting sees participants zooming across the ground or sand and trying to out-race friends and family.

M is for mountain biking: The UK boasts many, many miles of off-road trails that are perfect for family mountain biking. In Scotland, you’ll also discover many mountain biking centres set amid spectacular forestry.  For example, check out the Forestry Commission’s 7stanes network of centres in the Borders. See www.7stanes.gov.uk

Read part two>

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