The best outdoor experiences on Scotland's west coast this Summer
What better way to spend the fabulous long summer days than drinking in the beauty and perhaps even the exhilaration of Scotland's wild and stunning outdoors?
The glistening white beaches, crystal clear waters, vast Atlantic skies and dramatic coastlines of Scotland's islands provide some of the best outdoor experiences in the country. From enjoying the simple things, to trying a new outdoor experience, or doing more of your own favourite sport in new surroundings - there's no doubt Scotland's islands provide the perfect outdoor playground.
Walking and Hillwalking
A classic option. If you're looking for a challenge, the West Island Way - a long distance walk taking in the length and breadth of Bute is stunning, combining the best and varied landscapes of the island - moor, shore and forest. Arran is well known for its hiking opportunities - the Arran Coastal way takes in most of the circumference of the island - one of the best ways to get acquainted with 'Scotland in miniature'.
If you prefer higher ground, take a walk up Ben More on the Isle of Mull - an extinct volcano. From the top it offers stunning views of neighbouring islands, and as far as Ben Nevis. Skye is a climber's paradise - home to the Cuillin mountain range. Take advantage of guided walks with local experts - offering you summit views of the most stunning mountains in the country, and the reward of a cooling dip in the lochans and pools on the way back.
An exhilarating activity suitable for experts as well as beginners and families. With the help of an instructor, explore the beautiful coastlines of Scotland's islands, jump from low level cliffs, experience the wonders of wild swimming - and maybe even meet some of our beautiful otters and seals which frequent parts of the landscape you wouldn't otherwise see.
Wildlife spotting opportunities start as soon as you step on board with Caledonian MacBrayne with our Orca Mini Cruise Experiences. Once on the islands, chances to see magical creatures continue. From Mull, make your way to the Treshnish Isles, home to a spectacular puffin colony from May to August. Visit the Hebridean Whale Trail and Dolphin Trust Discovery Centre in Tobermory for its jam-packed exhibition. Guided walks are on offer too.
During your island adventures, visit a spot on the Hebridean Whale Trail, 30 beautiful locations on the west coast which are frequented by whales and dolphins. The Outer Hebrides Bird of Prey Trail spans the archipelago with location markers on the best places to catch a glimpse. Islay's Oa walk takes in the island's most dramatic bits of coastline. The headland is home to the American monument and a nature reserve with seabirds and birds of prey living in the area.
Horse riding along beautiful Hebridean beaches is a magical experience. Enjoy spectacular views from the saddle. You'll find opportunities from the Outer Hebrides in the north to Arran in the south - where you can choose from coastal or inland trails.
Pack a picnic and heading to the beach is one of summer's best traditions. The beauty of Scotland's islands makes this a real occasion. It's no secret the beaches here are the best in Europe if not the world - from Bagh na Doirlinnhe on Gigha, with the island's famous twin beaches on either side, West Beach on Berneray, Traigh Ban on Colonsay. On Tiree, swap a picnic for a midnight feast to watch the stars on Balephuil Beach.
Two-wheel outdoor adventures
The five-ferries cycle route is fast becoming legendary among cyclists - a 72-mile circuit, which you can do at a pace of your choosing, taking in the very best of Arran, Kintyre, Cowal and Bute. In the north, the Hebridean Way covers Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis, 185 miles, 2 ferries, 6 causeways and a journey to savour. The natural, wild routes of the isles are fantastic for mountain bikers of all abilities. Arran's 1Ok Castle Route is good for those with less experience, and elsewhere on the island, there's plenty of opportunity for even more adrenaline filled routes.
So with those pictures fresh in your mind, grab your chance to make the most of this season's longer days and head outdoors on Scotland's islands - home to some of the best outdoor experiences in the country. Begin planning your next trip today.