I A Cycling holiday with a difference has been organised by Small World Travel. On Friday 22 November a coach will travel to Belgium in time to take in The Ghent Six indoor cycle races at The Sportspaleis on the Saturday and Sunday before returning on Monday 25. The weekend will also include a sight-seeing tour of Brugcs. For further details contact Small World Travel. 3-1 Pcveril Terrace. Edinburgh EH16 6DF or phone 031 666 l94-1.See The 1.1.s‘r’s next issue for more cycling ideas.
Ev“ I Eurotrain. the main i competitionforthebctter l known lnterrail. have i recently produced their new catalogue. While their universally titled competitor is limited to Europe. the misleadingly appelled Eurotrain goes as far afield as Beijing(via the Trans-Siberian railway). Malaysia and Thailand. in addition to European destinations. If you are under 26 or a full time student. detailsof fares and journeys can be found in student travel offices. travel agents or direct from Eurotrain on 071 7303402.
V IN PRINT '
ITurkey: The Rough Guide Rosie Ayliffe. Marc Dubin and .lohn (iawthrop l l larrap (‘olumbtts £8.99) As soon as they ‘re published. they re out of date. Well. yes and no in the case of this Rough (iuidc which w as w ritten late enough to take in the possibility ofa (itill War but too early to know how quickly it would all be over. That said. this is as comprehensiv e as ever and. sensibly . prices are published in dollars rather than the local currency which tendsto be worth a good deal less in the eveningthan it wasin the morning. lispecially helplul is the laet that one of the authors is female. hasliv ed in‘l‘urkey forliyc years and therefore know s how to dissuade persistent backside pincbcrs. I Kenya: The Rough Guide Richard 'l’rillo (Harrap ('olumbus £7.99) Kenya. and Africa in general. were going quite cheap a lew months ago but the price has soared back to lorrner silly levels recently The Rough (iutdc gtv es the low -dow n | on doing the landol upper-crustsalarisonthe j cheap.
84'l he l.is.t l4—27.lune l9‘)l
Sea canoeing oft Baasay's east c
Can you canoe?
For the second ofa series ofScottish activity holidays Jo Roe ventures forth in a canoe. ‘Has this worked before'." I asked. straddled over two canoes. ‘I don't know - this is the first time we've tried.‘ laughed instructor .lohn. hauling over a third canoe. We were building a floating raft out of ten canoes. criss-crossed like a matchstick tower. which was expected to carry all ten of us back to shore. Having started the lesson afraid ofgetting my feet wet. I was now as relaxed as a baby in a bath tub. My fear ofthe cold had subsided as the black-bellied loch transformed into a watery playground w here we learned the rudiments ofcanoeing. A visit to the Raasay Outdoor Centre will probably involve either canoeing. sailing. windsurfing. rock climbing. hill walking or orienteering. The highlight of my weekend was a sea canoeing expedition. Like a flotilla of floating cigars. watched over by several - instructors and a couple of seals. we followed Raasay"s magical coastline. Its the closest I've come to sitting on the sea without getting (very) wet. Seen from the Skye ferry. the majestic outdoor centre. once the clan seat of the .'\lacl.eods. dominates the island's western Coastline. l’raised by Boswell and
; Johnson on their tourolthe f Highlands and Islands. Raasay
House had its dignity restored after a period ofdisrepair. Once a privileged domain. its walls now absorb the sounds ofsquelching boots and excited children.
Catering for small groups ofadults. families. school parties and conference groups. accommodation is made up of bunk rooms. alpine dormitories and a few double rooms. At ground level are several spacious communal rooms with original fireplaces. two ofwhich are dominated by magnificent wooden tables. Bathroom facilities are basic and shared. though simple accommodation is compensated for by horncliness. Furnished with a discriminating eye. each room is set off with a vase of ﬂowers or an array of hand-crafted pottery. A huge whalebone in the porch is the grandest specimen in an extensive collection of animal bones. fossils and plant forms which inhabit every niche. The overall effect is artfully rustic.
The most striking thing about Raasay House is its free and easy
Raasay Outdoor Centre. ex-clan seal olthe Mac
atmosphere. I felt more like I was staying with friends offriends than in an institution. Guests are encouraged to wander freely. unrestricted by locked doors or a list of rules. Set meals are very much home cooked. typically consisting of vegetarian or non-vegetarian lasagne with salad. home-baked brownies and ice cream. all well prepared and. like the cooked breakfast which includes home-made yoghurt. cereal. toast. 1 fruit juice and fresh coffee. comes in generous portions. , The team ofseven or eight j instructors try to tailor themselves to i each group or individual. especially when the place is not fully booked. A highlight of my weekend was an impromptu evening sail. just me and ‘ my companion and ex-army olhcer Kurt. a friendly instructor with a philosophical outlook on life. A father and his seven-year-old daughter benefited from a mixed programme ofshared activities and streamlined sessions involving a ridge walk in the ('uillins for father