Sticking to your guns in the Borders. Words: Jane Hamilton
et a sore bum mountain biking in a forest
or stand still and shoot clay pigeons out
of the sky‘.’ A difficult choice — and not one you set yourself every day — so. throwing caution to the wind. we decide to do both.
Heading to the Borders. we start with a cycle through the beautiful forest of Glentress with Glentress Mountainbike Trails. The mountain biking options in this forest are great for everyone. from kids wanting a fun day to serious mountain bikers looking fora challenge. As it is snowing and I am totally unfit. the easier Trailquest routes look the best option. There are two such routes. Janet‘s Brae and Green Hill. which combine orienteering. cycling and history as well Sky as some beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. I find it a really good excuse to stop and admire the scenery while secretly trying to catch my breath and slow my heart down.
For those seeking more adventure and with a higher level of fitness. there are plenty of other challenging trails throughout the forest with a never-ending supply of up-hills. forest roads. steep descents and some rough. demanding. often boggy pathways. These can be found in the Anderson and Dunslair Trails which take you deeper into the forest. testing your orienteering skills as well as your stamina and technique. Don‘t worry if you don‘t have a bike because you can hire them at a rate of £16 low season and £l8 high season. but they must be booked in advance to guarantee not only a bike but the right size of bike.
If that sounds like too much effort. then clay pigeon shooting may well be your preferred choice. At Braidwood Sporting Clays near Swinton. Jim Black gives expert training as well as supplying the guns. cartridges and not
22 THE LIST 14—28 Mar 2002
After a few trial shots, I managed to blast those little birdies clean out
forgetting the all important ear plugs. before teaching you the basics about holding the gun. stance and where to aim.
My first instinct is to point the gun in the general direction of the clay. tire and wait for the kick back to throw me into a puddle. Instead. I follow Jim's instructions and. after a few trial shots. actually manage to blast those little birdies clean out the sky. To keep the challenge going and to stop you getting too cocky. they change the angle and directions of the clays. keeping you on your gun toting toes.
The instruction can last up to an hour and is well worth it at £20. which includes your gun hire. Once you have finished your session you can even hang out in the
gang hut with your shooting homies and
consider joining the club. Not a bad choice when you hear it is the location for the Scottish Championships and last year‘s winner is one of the members.
So whether you want to shoot the breeze racing through the forest on a mountain bike or shoot at things in the sky. these are the ideal places to do it. As for me. I think I’ll stick to cycling in the local park and as for carrying a gun. not a good idea in Glasgow.
Glentress Forest Trails, nr Peebles, 01721 720336.
Braidwood Sporting Clays, Braidwood, Midlem, Nr Selkirk, 01835 870280. www.braidwoodsc.co.uk
Details of outdoors activities, accommodation and special offers in the Borders can be found at the Scottish Borders Tourist Board website on www.scot-borders.co.uk or call 0870 608 0404 for a brochure. The List stayed at the Wheatsheaf Inn, Swinton, Berwickshire. 01890 860257. www.wheatsheaf-swinton.co.uk
illll (llll Mllll
I Find out more about multi-activities: www.visitscotland.com, www.activity- scotland.com and www.mannabethere.com are all good starting points to find the multi-activity trip that's right for you.
I Find out more about snowboarding:
British Snowboard Association is a good first point of contact. Find it at Hillend, Biggar Road. Midlothian EH10 7EF. 0131 445 2828. www.thebsa.org.uk www.3nowboard-uk.co.uk has lots of details about events. places to snowboard. tricks. ISF news. qualified instructor listings and photo gallery. www.uksnowboard.co.uk has a great range of links to other snowboard sites as well as equipment manufacturers. clothing stockists and holiday operators. www.theboarder.co.uk is the place to go for snow-related news. with daily updates as well as features and reviews of board-related games. videos and magazines. ski.visitscotland.com has links to all of Scotland's ski and snowboard centres. Events It's not too late to go and watch the experts in action. Forthcoming events include the UK Open, 16 & 17 Mar, Nevis Range; British Championships. 15-17 Mar, Cairngorms and Highland Fling. 23 & 24 March. Cairngorms. Full details on www.thebsa.org.uk
I Find out more about walking: www.west-highland-way.co.uk tells you all you need to know about the route. www.walkingwild.com details walks. accommodation. events and walking holidays throughout Scotland. www.mountaineering-scotland.org.uk represents the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and has news. events and a range of features for climbers. walkers and mountaineers. www.ramblers.org.uklcampaigns/scot. html has news. route info. details of equipment stockists. book reviews and accommodation.
I Find out more about off-loading: www.visitscotland.com lists venues for quad biking and off-road driving. www.activity-scotland.co.uk also gives details of activity providers nationwide.
I Find out more about gold panning:
The man Maths Backman knows all and runs day and weekend workshops. Before you do anything else. visit his comprehensive website www.maths.force9.co.uk
The kit Most suppliers are situated in the US. Useful and reliable websites are www.dk- nuggetcom for books and. for pans and other supplies. try www.rcgold.com/pans or www.andersondetectorscom/prospecting The bible At The End Of The Rainbow: Gold In Scot/and by G.F.S. Adamson may look a bit antiquated but it has stood the test of time. The be-all, end-all The Scottish Gold