Adventure Travel Scotland – Shotguns and Quads

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adventure travel Scotland

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.

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 groupon 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 then 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 to surprised to find an 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; 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!


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 cherry 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

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Adventure Travel Scotland

About the Author

Jim Vail, cofounder of Reflections Enroute, is a perpetual traveler who loves writing, photography, and learning and sharing more about the world around him. He's visited more than 80 countries and has lived outside his home country for over half his life in Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Germany, and the Netherlands. Least favorite question--Where are you from?

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  1. Oh the quad biking seems so much fun! Scotland is a short flight from here, I should definitely think of planning and adventure week end there

  2. Oh man shooting skeets sounds so awesome. I haven’t done it since college… gotta find a way to get out there and shoot some skeet.

  3. quad biking looks like it was a lot of fun and doing it in scottish highlands must have been great! we did it in Dubai during a desert safari, enjoyed loads 🙂

  4. Lovely activities. Have tried Quad biking and have loved it . Not too sure of shooting. I suppose it should be fun given that I like paintball 😉

  5. Looks like you two had a blast. What’s it like shooting that, does it kick back and hurt you? If I were there, I probably would have been one of the slow ones.

  6. I suppose the Scots were always expecting an American invasion. Looks like you had a lot of fun. Did you have to pay for your shells separately? What was the scheme? I have only shot twice in my life, and each time it was a very painful experience.

  7. I think I’d really enjoy quad biking with amazing scenery like this. I really need to start looking into Groupon but I’ve just been a little adamant.

  8. All of you look so rad on those pictures! I like the idea of combining castles and history with a little bit of adventure. I have to say that goes very well with my travel style. That is why I say Europe had a bit of everything for all preferences. I have told a lot of friends they do not have to visit museums in Europe if they do not like to do that (they want to do because that is what the majority of people do). There are many more adventures to have.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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