The daddy of all festivals starts at the end of next month when the Scottish Outdoor Access Festival hits the hills with over a week of events.

There are more than 270 events planned, and they’re happening all over Scotland. If you can’t find an activity to interest you, you probably haven’t got a pulse.

The festival kicks off on 28 April and runs until May Day bank holiday on the 7th. There’s an amazing variety of activities, including some you wouldn’t necessarily imagine in an outdoor festival. There is the usual guided walking and cycling stuff, but someone has been using their imagination too.  Here’s a selection of some of the other events:

  • Land Rover rides with a local shepherd
  • A natterjack toad safari
  • A journey to Skye by kayak, bike or foot
  • Powerkiting and microlighting
  • Clay pigeon shooting
  • Mountain rescue challenge
  • Building a woodland den
  • Orientreeing – using trees only to find your way around a course
  • Dealing with litter and dog fouling
  • Climbing for over 40s and women only
  • A parade of unwanted dogs for you to choose from
  • A wild-camping workshop
  • Deerstalking
  • Introduction to raft guiding
  • Monster machines of the forest
  • Nordic walking
  • Downhill mountain biking
  • Wildlife photography
  • Quad biking and scrambling
  • Gamekeeping
  • Orienteering
  • Farming and crop growing
  • Dog competitions and doggy games
  • A bat walk
  • Path maintenance on John Muir Trust estates
  • Forest cycle and horse rides
  • Canoeing and sailing
  • A 4am walk to hear the birds’ dawn chorus

There’s heavy emphasis on responsible use of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, with input from landowners and managers as well as recreational users. It’s something countryside users south of the border could well do with taking note of.

All the events are on the festival website, along with details and times and, where appropriate, cost of the activities, though most of the walking events cost nothing.

So, you’ve no excuse: get out there and enjoy the Scottish countryside.