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Scots missing out on the great outdoors

Posted 2 May 2012
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Scots missing out on the great outdoors
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Fewer Scots enjoyed the great outdoor recreation opportunities that their country offers last year, new data has indicated.

A survey by Scottish National Heritage (SNH) 46 per cent of adults went outdoors for "leisure or recreation" at least once a week, down from 48 per cent in 2010.

Some might imagine that with all those mountains, glens and lochs on their doorstep, huge numbers of people would be heading for the wilds at the weekends to take a hike, cast their fishing rods into a famous salmon river or leap on mountain bikes and ride for miles through the forests.

Evidently many do these things, with 74 per cent listing walking as their favourite activity. Nine per cent said family outings were the main purpose of visits and four per cent listed cycling and mountain biking.

But many people are clearly missing out, despite the fact that nowhere in Scotland is far from such places.

For instance, those living in Edinburgh have the Pentland Hills and Arthur's Seat within the city's boundaries.

And anyone living in Glasgow can catch a local train ride to Balloch, on the very edge of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Milngavie, a satellite town on the northern edge of Scotland's largest city, is the start of the West Highland Way.

With Dundee and Aberdeen both within easy reach of the vast Cairngorms national park, nobody living in urban areas can claim these places are far off.

SNH said the figure for the number of visitors to the country was stable in terms of being within the range of the long-term average (since 2006).

Of course, there may be a very simple explanation for the fall in numbers - that many people were less willing to go out if they had to put waterproofs on.

According to the Met Office, 2011 was Scotland's wettest year on record.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801354716-ADNFCR