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Spring into ACTION; SPOILED FOR CHOICE: The land of the brave has activities to suit every holidaymaker's hobbies and interests.

No matter where in Scotland you decide to take your holiday, there's always a leisure activity to suit every taste and ability.

From white-knuckle river rafting to a gentle ramble amid the beautiful Scottish countryside, you will find Scots out and about enjoying the fresh air and freedom.

For those who want to relax, what could be more tranquil than a break on a barge watching the grandeur of the Highlands slip by.

Scottish Voyageurs take their clients on a voyage of discovery on Highland lochs, rivers and Firths in canoes designed 300 years ago to open up the Canadian Wilderness.

They provide fresh opportunities to explore and see Scotland in a way which hasn't existed before.

Using the canoes also opens a link to our past when many of the original, intrepid fur-trade voyagers were Scots who found themselves in Canada either as recruits for Highland regiments raised to fight the French or as exiles from The Clearances.

Contact Scottish Voyageurs at Ellon, Aberdeenshire, on 01651-851215.

Croft na Caber, at Loch Tay in Perthshire offers a wide range of activities from river rafting, powerboating, waterskiing, parascending, jet bike rides, hydro-boarding, and canyoning - roped descents of waterfalls, scrambling and plunge pools for the young at heart - to trips on the beautiful Loch Tay or even archery.

Anyone who takes the raft trip through the challenging white water of the Grandtully Rapids will know the meaning of relief when they reach the other side.

And the eagle's eye view from hundreds of feet in the air on a parascender has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Telephone Croft na caber on 01887-830588 for full details.

Fingal of Caledonia is a 126-foot long Belgian barge which was built in the 1930s, and has the proud history of being used to smuggle refugees through occupied Europe in the Second World War.

The comfortable motor barge is equipped with mountain bikes, canoes, windsurfers and sailing boats to work up an appetite for the excellent on-board cuisine.

It's up to you if you want a lazy or energetic holiday, but whatever you decide on, the unhurried pace will leave you feeling well rested.

Caledonian Discovery at Corpach, near Fort William will be happy to supply details on 01397-772167.

For those who love boats, it's hard to beat The Scottish Series - second only to Cowes Week - which has been run in Tarbert, Argyllshire for the past 22 years.

This year's racing will take place on Loch Fyne over the bank Holiday weekend of May 21 to 26. The superb scenery and unspoiled sailing waters are a superb setting for Scotland's premier regatta. Telephone Tarbert Enterprise Company on 01880-820277.

Bigfoot Adventures is based in Boultenstone Outdoor Centre Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, at the foothills of the eastern Cairngorms in a 17th century Drovers Inn.

A wide variety of activities are provided by experienced and qualified instructors, ranging from abseiling, rock climbing, mountain first aid courses, canoeing, river rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, orienteering and raft building. Details on 01975-651312.

The Peebles-based Scottish Border Trails organises relaxed cycling and walking holidays in the Scottish Borders for individuals, families and corporate groups.

An addition is go-anywhere buggies so that mums and dads can take young kids along forest tracks.

The area provides hundreds of miles of country roads and off-road trails to explore as well as friendly towns and charming villages.

It is also studded with castles, abbeys, stately homes and museums which often bear witness to the bloody and exciting history of the area. Call Scottish Border Trails on 01721-720336.

Scotwalk Ltd is another family-run walking business based at Innerleithen, Peebleshire.

Walks have spectacular views, good walking surface and historic interest, and provide an experience which lasts for ever and makes you come back asking for more.

As well as short day walks, Grazyna and Alexander Hamilton also provide longer point-to-point walks where your luggage can be transported for you each day.

One of their latest long walks is St Cuthbert's Way which winds 100km through the Scottish Borders and Northumberland, inspired by the life of the Anglo-saxon Saint.

There are other walks in Argyllshire and The Trossachs. For details call 01896-830 515.

And for those who don't want to walk or cycle through the Scottish Borders, you can hoof it quite literally on horseback there in The Buccleuch Country Ride.

The 57-mile route is the first of its kind in Scotland and provides a three to four-day passage through stunning scenery on bridleways, provate tracks and open country for the independent horse and rider.

Scottish Borders Tourist Board have the details on 01750-20054.

THE first festival of walking to be held in the north east of Scotland will take place from May 30 to June 6 on Royal Deeside.

There will be a programme of free guided walks of varying standards including a full-day ascent of Lochnagar - Prince Charles' favourite mountain and climbed by Queen Victoria in 1848. Call Ballater Tourist Information Centre on 013397-55306.

The Oscar-nominated film Mrs Brown has boosted tourism to the area as visitors flock to relive the story of Queen Victoria and her faithful Highlander, John Brown.

Caledonian Heritage Tours are operating day tours by luxury mini-coach to trace the Queen's steps. Call 01358-789513 for details.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Nairn, John
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 28, 1998
Previous Article:Spurned killer's flaming revenge.

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