THE GREAT OUTDOORS FEATURE
Tom Lappin staggers out of another drunken reverie to introduce six pages of off-beat ideas about getting out of town and down to some airy activity. Listings compiled by Michael Paterson and Ann Donald.
don’t know anything about the Outdoors. I thought the Trossachs were Frankie Miller’s backing band.’
Your new chum grins. ‘What you need is a copy of The List’s six-page guide to the great outdoors. It’s crammed full of suggestions for activities you could be getting up to on a day out oftown on both the West and the East Coast. Each entry has a handy estimate of the distance in miles from the city centre and. at the end of each section, there’s a guide to local transport services. There are details of everything from abseiling down a 60-foot waterfall to passing your Offshore Yachtmaster examination and for the the less ambitious, they’ve got plenty of activity like viewing stately homes and canal-side horse riding that should break you in gently.’
the driver that chilli sauce won’t stain the seat-covers honest, he turns to you and says ‘You’re out of condition, you ought to get outdoors once in a while.’ ‘Get off my case , man,’ you protest (you always speak like that after seven and a bit Pils) ‘I go down to the corner shop to get the paper every Sunday and quite often I save the bus fare and walk’. ‘Not good enough, dude,’ (he’s obviously had more than a few himself), ‘try a spot ofhill-walking. paragliding, get a load of all that culture in those castles, pick some heather. anything so long asit’s outdoors.’ i
0 there you are, down the Tunnel or the Venue on a Friday night. Some bloke wearing more leather than the Argentinian pampas has just nicked your eighth bottle of Pils and you’re too tired and/or wee y to argue. The smoke is clogging your lungs, the sweat is running down the walls, the toilets have overﬂowed and you’ve just sustained a nasty groin strain trying to dance to techno. So you ask yourself‘ls that all there is?’
In the taxi home (I knew the kebab was a
bad idea) you quietly mumble to that half-acquaintance who always shares your cabs: ‘Never again’. Pausing only to reassure .
mast high) a three-hour drive will take you to Machnaharish.
I Seventh Wave 3() St George's Road. 331 1432. Glasgow‘s windsurfand skiing shop runs day courses at Loch Lomond and Troon: The first. Diversions windsurf school. Miarrochy. Loch Lomond. runs every weekend 10am—6pm and costs £49 for four hours any two days. Hire is £6 per hour or £11 for two hours (wetsuit included). ‘Funnight‘ windsurfing runs every second Wednesdayfrom 8Jul.
6.30pm. and the £25 membership(family
£39) includes board hire for £1 . barbecue
and f rec use of canoes. 20 miles north west ofGlusgow.
For more specialist wind-surfers. Seventh Wave runs courses at Troon. giving instruction to RYA grades 4 and 5; the cost is £59 and arrangements should be made with the shop in advance 30miles south west of Glasgow.
National Watersports Training Centre Cumbrae. 0475 530757. Need to brush up
Once you’ve sussed it, windsurfing is one of the most exhilarating sports around. There’s nothing quite like beating along the coastline at speed, flying through the white-water spray as your board clips and bounces off the top of the waves.
But if you're still teetering along in the mildest of winds or spending more time In the water than out, stick with it. One day you’ll suddenly catch a breeze and you won’t fall in. Yourlirst run often comes very suddenly, and unexpectedly, leaving you with a huge sense of achievement, as any proficient windsurler will tell you.
Windsurfing is about confidence - whether you’re trying to make your first complete turn or attempting a somersault- and practice, of course. The common mistake when you're teaming is to stick your bum out. which makes it difficult to keep the sail up if a gust suddenly blows. So once you’ve caught the wind, don’t be afraid to lean back, pushing your hips forward. It you feel yourself falling backwards pull in your backhand and the sail will fill with wind and bring you back up again.
Rememberto use the wind, don’t fight against it.
Having got the knack, the proficient windsurfer can take off to virtually any stretch of water. Assuming you have the gear, all you need is a beach and wind (and forthe safety conscious, a life guard). If you’re looking for ‘radlcal’ conditions (as they say in windsurf parlance), you can't do much betterthan the island of Tiree. Coined the ‘Hawaii of the North', this is an Inner Hebridean paradise for windsurfers with its white sandy beaches and strong winds. Enthusiasts should take note of the annual Tiree Wave Classic, which happens in the blustery month of October: the prospect of gale force winds, waves of around fifteen feet and the chance of walking away with a national title attracts Britain’s best.
Lastly, save some energy to get out of yourwetsuit at the end of the day, especially if it's a tight all-in-one. After a session of battling with the elements, quite often it's the wetsuit that defeats the exhausted windsurfer. (Robert Alstead)
By now you’re showing a glimmer of interest. ‘How do I find out about all this I stuffmate’ (phew, the lager’s wearing off). “I l
on your technique but don‘t know how? The National WaterSports Training Centre at Cumbrae may be the place for you. There‘s a selection of weekend courses from April to September. Beginners learn how to rig a windsurfer and practise on a dry-land simulator before dipping their boards in the sea for the first time under the steady eye oftop instructors. On ‘improver’ courses you can learn how to windsurf in stronger winds. use harnesses. make beach starts. use fun boards and practise racing techniques. 25 miles west of Ola.ng w.
I Loch Katrine Bookings at the Tourist Information Centre. Leny Road. Callander. 0877 30342 (or 041 355 5333). £2.95 (£1.70). Sailings depart Trossachs Pier Sun—Fri 11am. 1.45pm and 3.45pm. Sat 2pm and 3.30pm. Until 28 September 1992. An ideal way to relax and take in some of Scotland's most stunning scenery is a cruise aboard the SS Sir Walter Scott.a screw steamer dating from 1900. Afterwards. a trip to nearby Callander— olde tea room and knitwear capital ofthe Central Belt — is a must. 33 miles north of Glasgow.
I Waverley Waverley Excursions Ltd. Anderson Quay. Glasgow. 221 8152/204 4400/227 5511. Cruises until end of August: Fridays to Dunoon and Rothesay. depart 10am. return 5.30pm. £12.95 (£4.95); Saturdays to Rothesay and the Kyles Of Bute. depart 10am. return 8.15pm. £17.95 (£4.95); Sundaysto Rothesay. Millport and round Bute. depart 9.30am. return 9pm.£l7.95 (£4.95). Each cruise has a variety ofports of call. Reductions available for passengers disembarking at ports ofcall and being picked up later. Mon—Thursrs sailings vary. phone for details. Completed in 1947. the Waverley is now the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world and is a tourist attraction in herself. She is 240 feet long and has carried three million passengers. 1.225 on each voyage. Her fourteen foot paddle wheel can be observed through portholes. Quay is Ira/fa mile south of city centre.
I Sailaway Head Office. Ballochmartin Bay. Isle of Cumbrae. Ayrshirc.0475 530040. Yacht Charter. Largs Yacht Haven, Irvine Road. Largs. Ayrshire. 0475 675733. Do you want to drive a powerboat? On the West Coast where the vast majority of yachting clubs have a ‘closed doors' policy. Sailaway is a Royal Yachting Association approved organisation offering a variety of RYA courses to members ofthe general public who want to take up yachting seriously.
‘Oh,’ you reply. dumbfounded. ‘I thought The List was just for finding out what’s on at the pictures. . .
These range from the Competent Crewman course (five days and four night hours aboard required in total. Cost £266. Apr—Sept) right up to the Offshore Yachtmaster examination (2.500 sea miles. 50 days at sea. excellent navigational skills. Price on application). For the less adventurous. a limited number of passengers can have a day‘s sailing (9am—5pm) on a powerboat for £40. 35 miles west of Glasgow.
I West End Cycles 16/ 1 8 Chancellor Street. Partick, Glasgow. 357 1344. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm. Ilybrid bikes: one day £8. two days £12. weekly £25. Mountain Bikes: one day £10, two days £15. weekly £30. Tucked away just offthc main road. this cycle shop is renowned for its helpful staff. Joe or George will help you choose from their range of touring. mountain and racing bikes. They also stock accessories including helmets and cycling clothes. and a cup of tea is laid on for those customers who wish to ponder. For the compulsivelyl energetic. the shop runs its own triathlon club which meets three times a week As well as hiring out mountain bikes. the shop sells touring bikes and a range of Karrimor outdoor bicycle equipment. I Brodick Cycles Rosalynn. Brodick. Isle of Arran. 0770 2460. Mon—Sun 9am— 1 pm. 2—6pm. Three-speed cycles: two hours £2.50. 24 hours £5. weekly£17. Eighteen-speed mountain bikes: two hours £5. 24 hours £10.50. Deposits vary. Children‘s sizes available at reduced rates. All bikes strictly limited to road use. Anyone holidaying on Arran either brings their own bike or hires upon arrival. Short-stay visitors should do likewise. The castle is one mile from Brodick and the tranquil village of Corrie a mere four miles away. The 56-mile lap ofthe island used to be a stage of cycling‘s Milk Race. Visitors are recommended to attempt thisjourney Over two days. Ardrossan is 35 miles south west of Glasgow. From there, the ferry docks at Brodick. I Bremner's Stores 17 Cardiff Street. Millport. Isle of Cumbrae. 0475 530309. Mon—Sun 10am—6pm. Mountain or touring bikes: one hour 90p. two hours
1 £1.70. Tandems: £1 .70 per hour. Adult
tricycles: £1 .50pcr hour.
I: I Mapes W6 4 Guildford Street. Millport.
0475 530444. Similar prices and slightly longer opening hours to above.
The cycle shop should be the first stop for any day~tripperto GreatCumbrae.
Because the island is only ten and a quarter miles in circumference and ﬂat as a country pancake. keen locals whizz round in 25 minutes. Visitors may care to take life at a slower pace and stop to look at the two painted rocks; the lndian's Face
The List3lvl6’luly 199211