The wildlife and natural beauty that’s out there to be enjoyed this summer in Scotland

Forget the weather, it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy Scotland’s amazing natural assets

So summer is officially here, despite how it might seem, with the school holidays already under way in Scotland.

It’s the perfect time to get out and about for some wild adventures and to discover more about our wonderful natural world.

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With numerous forests, parks and nature reserves dotted all around Scotland, from Shetland in the north to the Solway Firth in the south, there is no shortage of locations where you can immerse yourself in nature.

There is something for everyone, with organised activities such as guided nature walks, wildlife-spotting cruises, outdoor arts performances and activity trails as well as places where you can just explore as your fancy takes you.

Organisations including NatureScot, RSPB Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust Scotland, Forestry and Land Scotland and the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust have created varied programmes of things to do and see at sites they manage – whether you want to try wild swimming, hiking and mountain biking or see birds, bats, otters, red squirrels, beavers and rare plants in their natural habitat.

Natural highlights

Here we have pulled together a few highlights that can inspire and entertain in equal measure, with plenty on offer for all ages and abilities.

Those seeking an adrenaline rush will find plenty to excite at mountain biking centre Laggan Wolftrax, with more than 20 miles of purpose-built forest trails of varying difficulty level and superb views of the Monadhliath hills, as well as at Glentress, Kirroughtree, Mabie and Dalbeattie sites.

Or follow in the footsteps of Highland cattle thieves with a walk on Ben Venue, immortalised in Sir Walter Scott’s famous poem The Lady of the Lake, with both steeper and flatter routes to the summit.

You could sharpen up your wildlife photography skills with a workshop at Lochwinnoch nature reserve, take a nighttime bat-detecting expedition at Mersehead or indulge in a spot of culture with an open-air performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest at Loch Leven.

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Beavers can be seen in the wild at Loch of the Lowes reserve and at Barnluasgan, while ospreys, red kites, sea eagles and other birds of prey are found at various sites, from the Isle of Mull to the Cairngorms.

For seabirds, the Isle of May, the Shetland islands and St Kilda are veritable hotspots for a range of species.

Or if you just want to walk in the shadow of Scotland’s tallest trees, head to Doach Wood or Tay Forest Park, where some giant specimens stand nearly 60 metres above the woodland floor.

Anna Pugh, visitor experience and marketing manager for RSPB Scotland, said: “The summer is an excellent time to head out to our nature spaces – the days are longer so there’s time to make the most of all that’s on offer.

“We want everyone to find a nature adventure they love, whether that is looking for lizards, listening out for mysterious nocturnal wildlife or learning more about fantastic wildflowers.

“You can find incredible wildlife all across Scotland.

“We love helping people discover how fantastic our nature is, and with everyone’s help, we can protect it and ensure there’s more of it to enjoy for generations to come.”

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