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Adventure Travel Scotland – Shotguns and Quads

You might imagine I’m writing about a camping or hunting trip in the back woods of the US when I start talking about riding quads (ATVs or 4-wheelers) and shooting at things. But it can be real fun to get your redneck on and that’s exactly what we did on a recent trip to Scotland.

adventure travel Scotland

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Shooting Skeet in Scotland

adventure travel Scotland

Granted, we didn’t strap our shotguns to the back of the quads and head out for a “Deliverance” style weekend getaway. Instead, we were on a road trip through England and Scotland and on the lookout for fun and interesting things to do.

Of course, we spent plenty of hours trekking through the spectacular scenery of the Lake District and enough time in castles and cathedrals to practically earn honorary titles. So when we came across a coupon for skeet shooting we really couldn’t pass it up.

adventure travel Scotland

After all, Corinne had been talking about this for a few years and we just hadn’t found a time or place for it. What could be better than trudging out on the Scottish heath and taking aim at a few pigeons scattering through the air?

Don’t worry, we’re talking birds of the clay variety here; I don’t think our hotel would have appreciated bringing in a few bags of pheasant to be cleaned and hung in the bathroom.

adventure travel Scotland

We arrived at the Central Scotland Shooting School, just south of Falkirk and the famous Falkirk Wheel, on a sunny afternoon, a real rarity in Scotland even in the summer.

We really had no idea what to expect, so we weren’t too surprised to find a low, single-story club house with an old, sleepy Scottish Labrador lying in the middle of the floor. He waggled his tail and lifted his head quizzically as if to see if these newcomers had brought in treats, but then quickly went back to snoring and dreaming of his younger days retrieving ducks from the pond out back. Don met us and quickly had us geared up and paying attention to his mixture of stories and safety lessons.

Adventure Travel Scotland

Once we had the basic safety gear on and knew where not to point the shotguns we were heading out to the skeet field. Judging by the layer of orange clay under foot the battle had been going on for years and the clay pigeons were definitely on the loosing side.

Don, showed us how to load, aim and shoot the flying targets, and we were soon calling “pull” and blasting merrily away. We each had 40 shells and we massacred nearly as many clay pigeons. Thankfully, Don was a patiently great teacher. I’ve shot skeet before but never from an over-under, double-barreled shotgun and never in Scotland. It was an experience we are keen to repeat at some point in time, wherever we may find it in the world.

Quad biking the Scottish Highlands

For our second adventure we had come across a pamphlet for quad bike tours somewhere on our travels in Scotland. We figured we’d already been out blasting away on the shotguns, why not tear up the gravel on a quad (as they’re more commonly referred to in the UK).

And Quad Bike Tours has sole proprietary access rights to the vast Ardverickie Estate on the shores of the beautiful Loch Laggan in the Scottish Highlands. We’ve been quad biking before but never in such a majestic backdrop–castle and all!

Scotland-1-68

We met up with our guide at the old service station across from the Loch, filled out all the required paperwork, and followed the guide up and into the estate where we would get our quads.

We were a little nervous about the weather, this was a much more typical Scottish summer day, and not sure at all that we were properly dressed. Not to worry, however, as the company has enough rain gear, gloves, and Wellies to gear out an entire squadron of riders of all sizes.

After a quick run through the training course we were ready to hit the trails. We had a couple of inexperienced riders along with us so we started out slower than I would have liked, but I quickly found that I could hang back slowly for a little bit and build up a nice big gap between myself and the rider ahead.

Then, I could jam down the throttle and take some turns at speed, power-sliding through them like a pro. Soon enough, however, the others were learning from the bad example I had set and we were bouncing and sliding along at a perfect speed.

Later we went through some hairy technical trails that challenged everyone. Not to worry if you’re more of wimpy rider, there was always a side trail you could take to bypass the scarier climbs or descents.

We finished off with a ride along the beach, throwing sand and sliding around to our hearts’ content. We had opted for the half day tour on this trip, but I’d be happy to go back on the full day or two day trek!

adventure travel Scotland

I knew our road trip through Scotland and England would take us to some incredible castles and cathedrals, and along some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world, but I had no idea that the adventure options would be so affordable and accessible.

What was your best quad bike tour? Are you a master marksman? We’d love to hear about any adventure tours you’ve taken so we can ad them to our ever-growing lists!

Practical Information Central Scotland Shooting School Garbethill Muir, Wester Jawcraig, Falkirk FK1 3AL, United Kingdom Quad Bike Tours/ The Old Filling Station, Camus Cillean, Kinloch Laggan, Inverness-shire PH20 1BX, United Kingdom. (Just to be clear, we were not hosted on this trip!)

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

eileen g

Saturday 19th of November 2016

what a cool adventure. Rich and i used to sport shoot in upstate NY, but it's an expensive hobby so we've dropped it for now. I've had many a bruised should but a padded shoot vest helps, as does really wedging the stock into your shoulder. I used a smaller shotgun, too., I think 20-gauge instead of 12 (or the other way around), you give up a little bit of distance but the kick is easier, too. And for something like skeet I don't think it matters.

Corinne Vail

Sunday 20th of November 2016

Eileen, I totally enjoyed the day, but I don't know how often I will be able to do it. Great tips!

Paula McInerney

Monday 14th of November 2016

"get your redneck on" - laughed at that one. I hate guns but I do love quad bikes. I could do this part of it.

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Paula, It was all so much fun. I'm not a big fan of guns either, but this was very controlled.

Kathy Marris

Monday 14th of November 2016

It looks like there are adventures aplenty to be had in Scotland. I would love to try both of these and of course visit Scotland at some stage.

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Kathy, Scotland is a blast...touring, castles, kilts, and even quad bikes.

Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats

Monday 14th of November 2016

What fun and yes rural Scotland is not that much different than rural America in many ways! We haven't tried skeet shooting here yet but looks like something to put on the list.

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Jessica, Skeet shooting had been on my list. I've always wanted to try it. We loved it, but boy did I bruise!

Anda

Sunday 13th of November 2016

This seems like a very fun thing to try, Jim. I'm sure my husband and my son would love riding those ATVs, but for me it doesn't look too appealing. I'd rather go shopping for some fancy clothes, ha,ha,ha.

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Anda, We just love getting out and trying to have fun. It was a lot of fun.