If you want to sit and just drink in the views, that’s fine. But should you care to stretch yourself a little, then Scotland is the place for getting the heart to beat just a little faster. Our country is fast being thought of as Europe’s Adventure Capital.
But walking has always been a traditional pastime here, so we will start with that…
Walking in Scotland can be the most gentle, relaxing and rewarding exercise. Or it can be strenuous! Within a few miles of Crosswoodhill there are many country parks. On your very doorstep there are some breezy, invigorating trails on the Pentland Hills. They can be muddy.
If you prefer your footwear to receive less of a battering, there are walks with more defined paths within West Lothian. If you want stunning views of Linlithgow Palace take the circular path around the Loch and look out for wintering wildfowl and a host of other aquatic birds and plants. Alternatively explore 370 hectares of Beecraigs Country Park on the Bathgate Hills with its deer park, adventure playground and wide range of leisure activities. Or, even closer to Crosswoodhill, stroll in Almondell and Calder Country Park with its rich riverside woodlands.
Extensive forests provide sheltered waymarked paths and trails, for example the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park around the Trossachs.
For the real walking enthusiast Scotland has 284 mountains over 914m (3000 feet) though most of these are in the Highlands. They are known as Munros after the first climber to list and scale them all. Unless you are an experienced climber, we recommend you only tackle these tougher hill walks in summer which offers extended hours of daylight and better visibility. Set off early to Perthshire and you can have a great day out and still get back in time for a late dinner.
Whatever your level of fitness, finding a suitable walk, from a shoreline stroll to a full scale mountain expedition, is easy. Remember to pack stout walking shoes and warm, waterproof clothing.
For more info: explore www.walking.visitscotland.com/walks/
A lifetime of adventure awaits you in Scotland whether you’re into clinging with your fingertips or prefer clambering on more modest hillwalking terrain. But if darkness, dull, wet, dreich days get in your way, two wonderful opportunities occur within 10 - 20 miles from here.
Hone your skills, learn the ropes, tone those muscles indoors at Ratho Climbing Centre. This disused quarry, encased in an enormous building which deserves to win architectural awards for its innovative interior, offers world-class climbing walls.
Again, whatever the weather, you can pit your wits against cliff faces at Alien Rock in Edinburgh
Mountain biking in Scotland is the best in the world, and that’s apparently official.
Keen mountain bikers should strap their sturdy steeds to a bike rack and bring them along for the ride. Glentress Forest, 40 minutes’ drive from here and established as the UKs most popular mountain biking Centre has one of the most innovative mountain bike courses. Designed by real enthusiasts, it is colour-coded, like ski-runs, to show degrees of difficulty.
Alternatively hire mountain bikes or e-bikes from I-Cycles in Innerleithen near Glentress and 7 Stanes. Remember to take a security photo ID with you.
For more info on mountain biking, explore
When it comes to the Royal and Ancient game of golf there is no place in the world like Scotland, where the game began 600 years ago. (And now over 60 million people world-wide play it.)
Scotland has more golf courses per head of population than anywhere else in the world, but always remember that the world-famous championship courses are far outnumbered by the numbers of challenging and great value “hidden gems” courses which welcome visitors without formality. One such, is our local golf course at Harburn, just 4 miles down the road from us on the B7008. Having said that, for real enthusiasts, it is possible to play on the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Remember play is still possible on many courses in the late evening (up to about 22.00 hrs) in the summer months because of the long hours of daylight that Scotland enjoys A round of golf doesn’t have to mean a championship course, although many are accessible from here.
And if weight restrictions on planes make it tricky to bring your own golfing gear, check out www.GolfGearHire.com based in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, 40 minutes’ drive from here and close to many fine courses. They hire out clubs, shoes, trolleys, etc.
Scottish fishing will give good sport and grand eating and best of all a healthy day out in some of Scotland’s most peaceful river and loch situations.
Although there are other areas in Scotland offering more spectacular fishing opportunities than our area does, West Lothian does still offer several opportunities. Closest is Allandale Tarn (7 miles from here) and Ballencrieff Fishery in the Bathgate Hills.
Open to the general public, Edinburgh University Exmoor Pony Trekking Society offers reasonably priced pony trekking fairly locally on the Pentland Hills.
Alternatively if you are happy to drive more than 2 hours to Lochgilphead, Argyll (a five hour total journey) for an extra special experience, explore www.brenfield.co.uk This could be a fantastic day out on horseback or on foot amongst stunning scenery
The best beaches, closest to Crosswoodhill, are in Fife and East Lothian. Longniddry Beaches, Gullane Bents, Yellowcraig, North Berwick West and North Berwick Milsey Bay in East Lothian and St. Andrew’s West Sands, and East Sands, Kingsbarns, Crail roome Bay, Billowness Anstruther, Elie Ruby Bay and Elie Harbour Beach, Kinghorn Pettycur Bay, Burntisland, Aberdour Silver and Black Sands. All of these beaches have won awards recently.
Indoors, there are a number of swimming pools in West Lothian. For younger children Xcite in Livingston, opposite the shopping centre, proves very popular. Explore www.westlothianleisure.com for a list of opportunities for swimming and other leisure and recreational pursuits.
Surfing and watersports:
East Lothian’s beautiful beaches, coves and open ocean provide perfect conditions for the watersport enthusiast. Kitesurfing, Kiteboarding and Windsurfing have all taken off at the Forth beaches of Longniddry and Gullane.
Dunbar and Belhaven offer the best surfable waves in the area, with wave faces as big as 12ft. The local surf school, Coast to Coast Surf School provides lessons and has hire facilities. North Berwick provides the perfect launch point for sea kayakers, while beaches such as Tantallon provide waves for the enthusiastic surf kayaker. Check out local club; Forth Canoe
Alternatively travel to St. Andrews, Fife and and have fun with landyachting, zapcats or beach kayaking, all organised by award-winning Blown Away Experiences
Midlothian Snowsports Centre at Hillend, Midlothian has the UK’s longest artificial dry slope. They have recently added a fun activity, Tubing.
Laser clay and Clay Pigeon shooting:
Closest to us, about 8 miles away, is Morton Clays
We also recommend www.kingsfieldclays.com in Linlithgow for laser clay shooting and a bit further away, Cluny Clays www.clunyclays.com, an activity and leisure centre, with a driving range, offering archery, clay and air rifle shooting
4 Quality Self-Catering properties, sleeping 2 – 14, within easy reach of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Livingston. Welcoming holiday and short stay farm accommodation in West Lothian.
Crosswoodhill Holiday Farm Cottages
by West Calder