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such as WHAT TO DO If you want to get out and enjoy the Scottish landscape it makes sense to do it in a way that respects our natural heritage. There are some obvious ways to minimise your impact, such as not dropping litter, sticking to marked mountain bike the 7 Stanes (www.7stanes.gov.uk), and by choosing to spend your money with businesses that actively promote environmental and social responsibility. For basic guidance on enjoying the countryside responsibly, check the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (www.outdooraccess- scotland.com). If you’d rather make a more active contribution to preserving your wild surroundings, the National Trust for Scotland offers outdoors membership (also giving access to its indoor sites).
For those who don’t want to go it alone, Wilderness Scotland offers a whole host of green, small group holidays across the country, from wilderness walking in the Shetlands to family activity trips in Perthshire. Guided bike tours are growing in popularity, and there are now a number of companies prepared to lead two-wheeled expeditions across Scotland varying from a day to a few weeks in length. 2 Wheel Tours, based in North Berwick, offer itineraries that take in some of the best scenery in East Lothian. Their tours can be guided or self-guided and the company follows a strict sustainability policy. See the Factfile for more options.
Finally, if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, why not sign up for a voluntourism trip, such as the British Trust for Conservation
GREEN GETAWAYS You can enjoy a Scottish holiday without the accompanying eco-guilt of carbon-fuelled travel, wasteful hotel policies and imported food. Travel writer Rhiannon Batten gives the insider guide to virtuous vacationing
WHERE TO STAY There’s more to being a green traveller than cutting down on carbon-oozing flights. Where you stay is also important. Using hotel TVs, DVD players, minibars, air con and gyms and demanding that sheets are changed every day comes at an environmental cost. Then there’s the impact of the hotel’s impact on surrounding ecosystems and local communities. Does your hotel employ local people, source breakfast ingredients from local suppliers and otherwise benefit the local economy? its effect on
The good news is that Scotland is home to some impressively environmentally conscious hotels, guesthouses and hostels. All tastes are catered for, from the Scottish Youth Hostel Association’s two eco-hostels, Glen Affric and Loch Ossian (which boast, among other green credentials, electricity supplies generated by wind turbines and solar panels), to seriously green self-catering options such as Orchard Cottage in Dumfries & Galloway, and the more decadent attractions of Glasgow’s Blythswood Square Hotel (where advanced green technology means the hotel’s carbon emissions
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are much lower than those of a similar building of its size and age) and Perthshire’s Gleneagles (where a stringent sustainability policy has won it a gold award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme; www.green-business.co.uk).
SYHA beds from £18.50 per person; 0845 293 7373, www.syha.org.uk Orchard Cottage: weekly rental from £300 per week for six people; Ravenstone, near Whithorn, Dumfries & Galloway, 01988 850241, www.ravenstonecottages.co.uk
Blythswood Square Hotel: doubles from £140, including breakfast; 11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow, 0141 208 2458, www.blythswoodsquare.com Gleneagles: doubles from £199 including breakfast: Auchterarder, Perthshire, 0800 704705, www.gleneagles.com
For more ideas on green places to stay see Canopy & Stars (www.canopyandstars.co.uk), an initiative from Sawdays focusing on ‘holidays with a dash of eco-panache’.