AC­TIVE AND OUT­DOORS

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - COVER STORY -

MOUN­TAIN BIK­ING, 7STANES, DUM­FRIES, SCOT­LAND

Pur­pose-built trail cen­tres are the eas­i­est way to get into moun­tain bik­ing, and pro­vide a big hit of adrenalin what­ever your skill level. They have been spring­ing up all over the UK in the past 10 years, par­tic­u­larly at Forestry Com­mis­sion sites, with trails graded green, blue, red and black, like ski runs. Ev­ery­thing is sign­posted and mapped, so nav­i­ga­tion isn’t an is­sue, and the trails are usu­ally free to ride – al­though you may have to pay for park­ing. Scot­land is one of the best places to start: 7Stanes is a net­work of cen­tres span­ning the south of the coun­try, within easy reach of Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow. Glen­tress, near Pee­bles, is the most pop­u­lar, and has suit­able begin­ner ter­rain as well as in­struc­tors on site.

FLY FISH­ING, VAR­I­OUS LO­CA­TIONS

If you’d like to get the young ones hooked, or you want to im­prove your own skills, equip­ment sup­plier Orvis has fly fish­ing cour­ses tak­ing place in its stores around the UK. It’s not a hard sell for their kit, but they will talk you through some of the gear you might need, as well as show­ing you the ba­sics of cast­ing and how to tie the es­sen­tial knots. For over-16s there is a more ad­vanced course cov­er­ing the dif­fer­ent types of reels and lines, and an in­tro­duc­tion to ty­ing flies.

Bur­ford in Ox­ford­shire and Har­ro­gate in North York­shire have cour­ses on Oct 27; both are free but must be booked ahead. Make a splash on the Flam­bor­ough coast. The Liv­ing Seas Cen­tre, run by the York­shire Wildlife Trust, is a breath of fresh air – quite lit­er­ally, given the stiff east­erly breeze. A root around the rock pools on the fore­shore feels like step­ping into Fa­mous Five ter­ri­tory, as does a yomp along the cliffs above. The Liv­ing Seas Cen­tre brings the plants and an­i­mals to life, in­clud­ing shell­fish, kelp forests and chalk reefs as well as the gan­nets, gulls and even puffins that nest on the craggy clifftops. Ad­mis­sion is free but do­na­tions are wel­come.

SKATE­BOARD­ING TRY­OUT SES­SION, HOUSE OF VANS, LON­DON

Skate­board­ing was once seen as a fast-track to A&E, at best; at worst, a gate­way to a life of crime. While not ex­actly main­stream to­day, skate cul­ture is far more re­spectable: ev­ery town worth its salt has a skate ramp, and in 2020 the sport makes its Olympic de­but in Tokyo. It is still fiendishly dif­fi­cult, how­ever, so en­list the help of a pro at a free try­out ses­sion at Lon­don’s House of Vans. The two-hour time slots are free but you need to book ahead and bring your own board. At time of press, places were avail­able to­mor­row, Thurs­day and on Oct 28.

Year-round daily; scot­land.forestry. gov.uk/ac­tiv­i­ties/moun­tain-bik­ing/ 7stanes Year-round daily; ywt.org.uk house­of­vanslon­don.com/ book-skate-ses­sion

GREAT OUT­DOORS Chil­dren can try fly fish­ing, top, rock pool­ing, above, and skate­board­ing, below, among other out­door pur­suits bre­con­bea­cons.org/geo­cachin­gori­en­teer­ing-nav­i­ga­tion

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