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Travel: Best eco-friendly Scottish adventures

© SYSTEMSpoot, the electric campervan.
Spoot, the electric campervan.

With reports of floods, forest fires and other natural disasters never far from the news, it’s impossible to ignore the very real threat of climate change.

As a result industries across the board, from fashion and food, to travel and tourism, are being forced to adapt to customers’ climate concerns.

Scotland’s landscape, natural heritage and wildlife, makes it a desirable destination for this growing trend of eco tourism and businesses are stepping up their green credentials to keep pace with demand.

Beat this

SWG3 in Glasgow, host city of the Cop26 climate summit, is one of Scotland’s most innovative nightlife venues. In a trial, clubbers’ body heat is being used to power the heating and cooling system.

The heat emitted is captured by pumps and transformed into energy. It is estimated that 70 tonnes of CO2 could be saved annually. So it’s worth giving your best on the dance floor!

Electric dream

Wild Discovery, a wildlife-watching company, has teamed up with eGuide Scotland to create the UK’s first wildlife safari on mountain eBikes. These new tours bring a shot of adrenaline to the wildlife-watching experience while helping reduce carbon footprints.

With Aviemore Bikes’ fleet of e-bikes, it has become much easier to enjoy the trails across Cairngorms National Park and savour its beautiful scenery. If visitors are more interested in driving, they can explore the Orkney Islands using Spoot, the electric campervan.

Or why not go on the world’s shortest commercial flight? No time for a movie: flight time from Westray to Papa Westray, Orkney, is two minutes. This connection is aiming to become fully electric by 2026.

Explore the wilderness

Nature tourism is worth £1.4 billion per year to Scotand’s economy. With Wildwood Bushcraft’s expert guides, go foraging for ingredients and create a naturally sourced, nutritious and sustainable feast.

For a more indulgent experience, stay at the self-catering, eco-friendly, family-run Treehouses at Lanrick, near Doune. These off-grid luxury retreats include treetop terrace and outside baths in a stunning woodland setting. Each treehouse has a unique design, with hand-crafted tables, upcycled furniture and luxury fabrics.

Unique way to see the sights

City-break enthusiasts can explore Edinburgh’s attractions in eco-friendly fashion with a cycling tour. Edinburgh Bike Tours offers half or full-day tours taking in historic buildings, hidden trails and coastlines.

Or fitness enthusiasts can join the Edinburgh Run Tour, taking in Stockbridge and the Water of Leith.

Take a rail trail

Opened six years ago, Borders Railway is entirely electrified and connects Edinburgh to Tweedbank, in one hour. Within a day it’s possible to visit Melrose Abbey, stroll on the banks of the Tweed, visit Sir Walter Scott’s former Abbotsford home or discover the Trimontium Museum.

© SYSTEM
Melrose Abbey.

Enjoy a dram

Nc’Nean is the first net-zero distillery in Scotland, launched last year by Annabel Thomas. The Morvern distillery has net-zero carbon emissions and produces zero waste. The whisky is entirely organic. Food for the soul.

Glasgow’s hip Finnieston is home to Soul Food Kitchen. The plant-based cafe bills itself as offering food that serves the body and soul, with a menu promising hearty soup, delicious soul bowls and indulgent burgers.

Taste of the sea

One of Scotland’s best-loved seaside food shacks, The Harbour Café, in Elie, Fife, source beef and lamb from nearby Balcaskie Estate, prepared by the Butchery at Bowhouse, alongside organic fresh produce from East Neuk Market Garden.

East Neuk Seaweed offers visitors the chance to forage for seaweed through the banks of Fife and create mouth-watering recipes with them.

If you’re tempted by a deep-sea adventure, try Scotland’s first snorkel trail. The Scottish Wildlife Trust has listed the best places to see dolphins, whales and harmless basking sharks.