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them when pulling them out. This helps avoid a face strike’, Kev explains. Roger that. I start on the smaller section. Toes straight in, heels l at, axes
l icked not swung. Then I’m hanging there, admittedly only inches up but ice climbing none the less. Surprisingly, I’m at the top with minimum fuss – but that’s the point of easy sections. Game of Thrones l ashes by as I stare up the full wall, despite Kev’s assurances my legs can bridge the gully. I reach and smoothly ascend to half way until classic beginner’s ‘jelly arms’ hits from too much hanging on for dear life. Axes l ounder, crampons slip, sounds of alarm emanate from someone – not me I hope. Kev kindly takes my weight while I shake blood into extremities. I make the top, hot, l ustered, arms raging, but heady with victory that remains despite later l ummoxes on trickier sections.
Much more than just for i rst-timers, Ice
Factor is an important, highly valued resource for all climbers looking to hone their ice skills. A controlled environment is an immeasurable advantage in a country with brutal winter weather, allowing ice enthusiasts to learn without white- outs and to practice for the short season, best in February and March.
Next morning? My arms ache, calves ache, stomach aches, hands ache, i ngers ache, but also my mind aches to one day haul myself up one of the world-famous nearby ice climbs. Point Five Gully on Ben Nevis? Maybe, after a lot more sessions indoors.
■ Ice Factor, Kinlochleven, 01855 831100, ice-factor. co.uk; look out too for their sister adventure centre Snow Factor, Braehead, 0871 222 5672, snowfactor. com
30 THE LIST 15 May–12 Jun 2014
10 MORE WAYS
TO GET YOUR ADRENALINE PUMPING
Whether it’s jumping out of a plane, leaping off a cliff, or plunging down a river rapid
in an inl atable armchair, Scotland has boundless possibilities for the adrenaline junkie in search of a hit. Better still, it has the best natural playground in which to
do it. Here are some of our favourites. Words: Anna Millar
AQUALINING Not likely to be confused with plaintive piano balladeer Aqualung, aqualining was launched just last month by Nae Limits in Perthshire. Essentially a variation of tightrope- walking, it involves combatting the world’s i rst commercial slack line over water. We recommend going as a gang, with the best Charlie Chaplin (circa Circus) impression getting a beer at the end. Nae Limits, Ballinluig, near Pitlochry, Perthshire, 0845 017 8177, naelimits.co.uk WILD SWIMMING Yes, yes we know. The tropics it ain’t. But Scotland has some of the most beautiful spots for indulging in a spot of the wet stuff – just don’t forget your wetsuit! We have a few favourites, but for the ultimate experience check out the Fairy (or Faerie) Pools in Skye. Nestled just near Glenbrittle at the foot of the Black Cuillin Mountains, this is pretty much as enchanting as Scotland’s wild swimming scene gets. Various venues, see wildswimming.co.uk for more.
GORGE SCRAMBLING Whether you’re heading up or down, gorge scrambling offers the chance to see the world from some unique viewpoints. There are heaps of adventure companies to choose from, so opt for one with gorge heights and water speeds to suit your wants. Arran Adventure Company offers scrambling by the North Glen Sannox, just a short bus ride from Brodick. Arran Adventure Company, Auchrannie Road, Brodick, Isle of Arran, 01770 302234, arranadventure.co.uk RAP RUNNING Less a quick sprint round the block listening to Jay-Z, more a variation on abseiling with the twist being that you descend the rock facing forward. Nae Limits run afternoon sessions just outside Pitlochry. Though those keen to try their hands – and head for heights – indoors i rst could always head for a coni dence- building abseiling sesh at the ever brilliant Edinburgh International Climbing Arena. Nae Limits, naelimits.co.uk; EICA, Ratho, 0131 333 6333, eica-ratho.co.uk
CLIFF JUMPING Those with serious wanderlust may have tried cliff jumping in sunnier climes, but Scotland is far from shabby when it comes to offering up its own natural terrain from which to take the plunge. The pursuit isn’t for the faint of heart, with instructors on hand to talk you through the process. The folks at Freespirits offer a top jump of 40 feet with amazing views of Loch Rannoch and the surrounding areas. Freespirits, Kinloch Rannoch, Pitlochry, 01887 840 400, freespirits-online.co.uk BUNGEE JUMPING As any bone i de adrenaline junkie will attest, the best thrills can come in the most serene of places. That’s certainly the case with the UK’s i rst static bungee jump platform, the Highland Fling, which hangs above the wild waters of the River Garry, by Killiecrankie. Set 40m up, the white water below only adds to an already awesome experience, though the 50mph leap gives you little time to take it all in. Bungee Jump Scotland, Killiecrankie Visitor Centre, 0845 366 5844, bungeejumpscotland.co.uk
QUAD BIKING Put aside your fear of ‘doing an Ozzy Osbourne’ and i nd yourself whizzing through mud, water and mountain scenery instead. MadMax Adventures, ten miles outside Edinburgh, have a collection of Yamaha Grizzly and offer safaris around woodland trails. Alternatively, head to Strathbraan (close to Dunkeld), where Scottish Quads have 1000 acres of farmland to use as your playground. MadMax Adventures, madmaxadventures. com; Scottish Quads, scottishquads.co.uk RIVER BUGGING / ADVENTURE TUBING If you have the bugging prowess of this List writer, chances are your helmet and padding are going to come in handy here. Brought over to Scotland from New Zealand, river bugging is essentially white-water rafting in a huge inl atable armchair. Look out too for a variation on the bugging theme, adventure tubing. Check out Splash for river bugging, Aberfeldy, 01887 829706, rafting.co.uk; and Nae Limits for adventure tubing, naelimits.co.uk
SKY DIVING Operating out of Strathallan Airi eld, near the town of Auchterarder, Skydive Strathallan is a good shout for the adventure seeker with a head for heights. The popular outi t is open to newbies, and introduces and trains over 1500 beginners for their i rst jump every year, as solo jumps or tandem skydives. Those a little less brave can come and enjoy it as a spectator sport. Skydive Strathallan, near Auchterarder, skydivestrathallan.co.uk OFF-ROAD DRIVING Based just ten miles south of Perth, the Scottish Off Road Driving Centre offers up an array of natural and man-made obstacles to tackle as you embark on arguably Scotland’s most challenging off-road playground. Nervous drivers need not apply, though hands-on training ensures you can make the most of the specially designed 4x4 experience. The Scottish Off Road Driving Centre, Glentarkie Estate, Fife, 01337 860 528, scotoffroad.co.uk