Hear from our Regional Leadership Director for the east of Scotland, Caroline Warburton, on how important it is to get out into the great outdoors, whatever the weather in her latest LinkedIn blog.
"The current mood is definitely a sober one. As we head into autumn and onwards into winter, we can see shorter days, wetter, colder weather and the possibility of ongoing restrictions.
"Although we were restricted in our movements during the summer, we could relish in being outdoors, discovering new places on our doorsteps and further afield. So, should all this come to end now that we’re heading into winter? Absolutely not!
"One conclusion which we have all reached this year is the importance of our great outdoors, not just its beauty and variety but also the positive impact it can have on our physical and mental well-being.
"Scotland’s natural environment is available throughout the year, not just on sunny days. I’ve had some of my best hill walks in winter with magnificent frosty views through crisp clear air and wonderful wildlife encounters such as watching porpoises feeding on a calm loch in the stillness of a late autumn afternoon.
"We are so lucky in Scotland to have such a wealth of outdoor experiences available to us and to help us explore new places and experiences in safe, responsible and enjoyable ways are our experienced, highly qualified and knowledgeable guides.
"Like all parts of the tourism industry, Scotland’s wildlife and adventure tourism sectors have found this year tough, which is why I was so delighted that seven outdoor operators had been working together to create Perthshire Adventure. The timing of its launch two weeks ago is a real testament to new ways of thinking and will play an important part in our post-COVID-19 recovery.
"The seven companies are Beyond Adventures, Outdoor Explore, Paddle Surf Scotland, Progression Bikes, Still Going Strong Events, The Canyoning Company and Wee Adventures, and are all experienced operators in their own right. They have identified that by working together (and with local heritage and food and drink providers) they can create a new and exciting range of day experiences for the growing market of families and first-timers interested in getting out and about in new ways. Cleverly, this also helps pin Perthshire’s adventure credentials more firmly on the map.
"Adventure tourism is an important part of the tourism mix for Perthshire and the region as a whole. Outdoor adventure is one of the key ‘connector’ themes identified within the Tay Cities Region Tourism Strategy and also aligns well within the new national tourism strategy Scotland Outlook 2030. Nature based tourism in Scotland is estimated to directly contribute £1.4 billion per year - it is a significant part of the economy.
"Looking ahead in a post COVID-19 world, VisitScotland predicts that visitor behaviour will have changed, with a move towards ‘slower tourism’, seeking less crowded destinations and more immersive experiences which are linked to more ethical and environmental principles. Adventure and nature-based tourism can undoubtedly cater to this market, with plenty on offer in Scotland such as long-distance trails, bike-packing, downhill mountain biking, stand-up paddle-boarding, canyoning, wildlife watching and yoga and wellness retreats. What Perthshire Adventure has done is to bring their activities together, to make them visible, accessible and (as importantly) bookable to this growing market.
"As the much-loved author and fell-walker Alfred Wainwright wrote “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”.
"So as the nights draw in, I’m getting my suitable clothing ready and drawing up my plans for how I can make the most of Scotland’s great outdoors this autumn and winter. I hope you are doing the same. If you need some inspiration check out the great activities on the Perthshire Adventure and Wild Scotland websites, don your winter woollies, climb into your waterproofs and get out into nature. I’ll see you there!"