Guest Author - Asha Sahni
Sports are popular in Scotland, with some sports such as climbing and snowboarding particularly suited to the climate and terrain. Sports opportunities are a draw for tourists and Scotland’s sporting facilities have attracted world class events such as the Commonwealth Games, golfing tournaments and surfing competitions. Scotland has bred some outstanding sportsmen and sportswomen including rower Katherine Grainger, cyclist Chris Hoy, tennis player Andy Murray and swimmer David Wilkie.
Climbing. Scotland’s mountains provide rich opportunities for ice climbers, mountaineers and rock climbers. Popular climbing locations include the Aberdeen’s sea cliffs, Ben Nevis, the Cairngorms, the Cullins on the Isle of Skye and Glencoe.
Curling. Curling, a sport with Scottish roots, is an Olympic and Paralympic sport. Two teams – four players in each – compete by sliding stones granite across an ice rink, the object being to get their stones to the centre of a blue, white and red coloured circle on the ice called a house.
Fishing. Scotland’s abundance of lochs and rivers offer rich pickings and spectacular scenery if you enjoy fishing. You can stay on the mainland or try your hand at island fishing on locations such as North Uist and Orkney. You will find fishing opportunities all over Scotland, with a tourist industry geared to meet the needs of visitors.
Golf. It is said that the Old Course in Musselburgh is the oldest golf course in the world; rumour has it that Mary Queen of Scots played there in the sixteenth century. Scotland’s golf courses are plentiful, many – for instance courses at Dornoch and Nairn – with stunning outlooks over water. St Andrews is home to a world famous golf course and the British Golf Museum.
Highland Games. Highland Games include competitions such as throwing the hammer, tossing the caber and tug of war. These are lively events reminiscent of festivals – attractions include Highland dancing, running events, pipe bands and food and merchandise stalls.
Munro Bagging. Sir Hugh Munro catalogue all the peaks over 3,000 feet (now called Munros) in Scotland. Once you have climbed to the top of a munro you are said to have bagged it. Serious enthusiasts aim to climb all of the 283 munros in Scotland.
Shinty. Historically shinty, a predecessor of hockey, was a game played between teams from different local communities on feast and festival days. Players use a stick called a caman to hit a ball round a pitch, the aim being to score the most goals – the ball is allowed in the air and can travel great distances with one hit.
Snow Sports. The skiing and snowboarding season in Scotland runs from around Christmas to early April (exact dates are, of course, dependent on weather). Visitors from other parts of the United Kingdom often make short trips to Scotland for winter sports in preference to going abroad – the best locations, most likely to have snow, are in the Highlands.