The hidden BordersTravellers have for years hurtled previous the Scottish Borders, eyes on the prize that’s the heart-stopping Highlands. However with UK holidaymakers swamping the standard hotspots, it’s a superb time to take a look at the southern hinterlands. The Borders could not have the mighty Munros, however its softly rounded hills, wooded valleys, sleepy cities and ivy-tangled abbeys have their very own magic.A Borders viewpoint often called Scott’s View, overlooking the river Tweed and Eildon hills. {Photograph}: AlamyIn reality, the person whose romantic Highlands-set novels first despatched vacationers galloping north, Sir Walter Scott, selected to reside within the Borders. This 12 months, Inntravel has two new self-guided strolling holidays right here. Its Hidden Scottish Borders four-night journey explores the lesser-known landscapes round fairly Peebles and Innerleithen, taking in 14th-century Neidpath Fort, the place Mary, Queen of Scots as soon as stayed, the bosky banks of the River Tweed, stately Twelfth-century looking lodge Traquair Home and a part of the Southern Upland Method. From £395pp together with B&B lodging, two dinners, map and baggage transfers, accessible from 17 Could, inntravel.co.ukAlternative street routesThe ruins of Findlater Fort, on the NE250 street route close to Cullen. {Photograph}: John Bracegirdle/AlamyThe North Coast 500 could also be Scotland’s reply to Route 66, however being catapulted into the limelight has its draw back. In the course of the summer season, the bucket listing street journey is booked up and busy, at instances turning into one large visitors jam. There are much less well-known street journeys, nevertheless, such because the SWC300 , a 300-mile round route of Scotland’s south-west nook, and the NE250. This 250-mile loop of Scotland’s north-east is usually missed however is simply as spectacular. The route follows the Moray Firth coast with its quaint fishing villages (try Portsoy and Cullen, recognized for cullen skink fish soup), dramatic cliffs and lengthy sandy seashores, earlier than rolling down the east coast in direction of Aberdeen and swinging inland to Royal Deeside. From right here it skirts the japanese fringe of the Cairngorms nationwide park with its castles, malt whisky distilleries and snaking mountain passes. Moray Firth Camper & Caravan Rent has 5 nights’ rent of a “Blossom” VW T6 sleeping 4 from 25 August for £450 with limitless mileage(five-day minimal rent)Rural glamping in GallowayA Featherdown Farm tent at Balbab Whithorn FarmVeering left after the border close to Gretna Inexperienced brings you into Dumfries & Galloway. The south-west nook of Scotland is house to glamping pioneer Feather Down Farms’ newest addition. Close to the southern tip of the Machars peninsula, Balnab Whithorn Farm, which opens in July, is a family-run dairy farm (there’s a uncooked milk dispenser within the honesty farm store) with cattle, sheep, goats, hens and 6 rustic-chic safari lodge tents in a subject. This low-lying headland jutting into the Solway Firth is peppered with standing stones, stone circles and historic coastal villages reminiscent of Isle of Whithorn, with its historical harbour. The world is threaded with cycle trails and there are strolling routes across the farm in addition to clifftop paths and miles of sandy shore to discover. From £455 for a three-night keep for six in July, featherdown.co.ukSea kayaking, Sound of ArisaigKayakers within the Sound of ArisaigPaddle previous hidden coves and drift into secluded sea lochs across the isles and inlets of the rugged west coast earlier than pitching up on a distant sandy seaside backed by machair, a carpet of wildflowers and grasses, for an evening underneath canvas. Arisaig Sea Kayak Centre, which reopens on 26 April, organises two-, three- and five-day wild tenting expeditions for teams of as much as six. Paddlers eat dinner cooked over an open hearth and share a dram because the solar units and terns wheel overhead. The corporate additionally does longer journeys reminiscent of a six-day Small Isles Expedition, paddling out previous the Arisaig skerries to the islands of Muck, Eigg, Rum and Canna, eyes peeled for sea eagles, puffins, otters, dolphins and whales. Journeys from £265pp, together with tools, meals and information. Verify web site for availability: eg, two-day journey on 8 or 29 July; six-day Small Isles expedition 6 August, arisaigseakayakcentre.co.ukOpen-water swimming, HebridesSwimming the gulf of Corryvreckan, Internal HebridesWade out into the waves or slip into the water from the assist boat, rising salt-soaked after a coastline-hugging swim above billowing kelp forests from the island of Shuna to Luing, eyes peeled for deer on the clifftops and seals, minke whales and dolphins breaking the floor. A brand new journey from Swim Trek explores the sealife-rich waters across the southern Hebrides. Based mostly on the Loch Melfort Resort in Oban, the island-hopping swimming adventures go away from the native seaside. The spotlight is a heart-stopping crossing of the Gulf of Corryvreckan, a washer cycle of churning currents and uneven waves. 4-day journey from £890pp together with B&B lodging, most meals and swimming information, accessible 7-10 and 15-18 August, swimtrek.comHike or bike the Kintyre WayA walker on the Kintyre WayScotland’s basic long-distance trails – the West Highland Method and Nice Glen Method, say – may be back-to-back with backpackers in summer season, however there are a number of lesser-known routes. The Kintyre Method, launched in 2006, is a 100-mile waymarked path for walkers and cyclists that zigzags throughout the Kintyre peninsula from Tarbert within the north to Machrihanish within the south, on tough forestry tracks, open moorland and rocky shoreline, with views to the isles of Arran, Gigha, Islay and Jura. Highlights embody the beautiful village of Carradale and far-flung castle-guarded Saddell Bay, the place Paul McCartney’s Wings shot the video for Mull of Kintyre. Obtain the Kintyre Method route map for a DIY choice. Absolute Escapes has a seven-night self-guided journey from £635pp, with B&B, baggage transfers and knowledge pack. The corporate requires at the least two weeks’ discover to organise a tripCanoe the River SpeyCanoeing the River Spey. {Photograph}: AlamyThe River Spey rises within the distant Monadhliath massif within the Highlands and flows by way of Insh Marshes nature reserve, Scotland’s largest upland floodplain, earlier than gathering velocity by way of the Cairngorms nationwide park because it winds north to the Moray Firth. The Spey, recognized for its salmon fishing, is Scotland’s fastest-flowing river. Discover Highland has a spread of off-the-beaten-track paddlesport adventures, together with an open canoeing expedition down the Spey from supply to sea, wild tenting on the financial institution every evening. 4-night guided canoe journey from £440pp, together with canoe and tenting tools, information and transfers, explorehighland.comBothy breaksUisge bothy on the Inverlonan property. {Photograph}: Eilidh LivingstoneThe bothy, a primary mountain shelter initially utilized by farm staff, after which for hikers, has had a makeover. With extra travellers craving off-grid isolation, architect-designed huts are arising in distant areas. The Inverlonan property close to Oban has two up to date cabins on the shore of Loch Nell. There are two easy however glossy constructions: black-clad Beatha, and Uisge, clad with corten weathering metal. Interiors have been created from native ash, the bathe is exterior and the wifi nonexistent. The country retreats are accessible solely by boat, quadbike or on foot. In addition to swimming within the loch, friends can use a double kayak, two paddleboards and lifejackets, and there’s a fishing rod underneath every bothy for catching (and cooking) brown trout or Arctic char. Discover the encompassing woodland, hike to a close-by stone circle, then sit by the hearth and gaze up on the stars in wonderful seclusion. From £300 for a two-night B&B break, very restricted availability till October, inverlonan.comSnorkel safari, Scapa Stream, Orkney Snorkellers exploring the WW1 blockship the SS Reginald in Scapa Stream.The Isle of Skye is on many travellers’ wishlists, because of its jaw-dropping panorama, its bridge to the mainland and the romantic story of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s flight to freedom. However when you haven’t booked forward in summer season, you gained’t discover a mattress. Fortunately Scotland has greater than 800 different islands and three important archipelagos to discover. Off the north coast, the Orkney Islands have historical past spanning 5,000 years, from neolithic websites reminiscent of Skara Brae to the 2 world wars. In 1919, greater than 50 German ships have been scuttled in Scapa Stream, the wrecks now one of the crucial well-known and eerie dive websites on the planet. Kraken Diving operates guided dives (from £90pp) and snorkel safaris above thewrecks (£60pp, minimal two folks). Wheems Natural Farm on South Ronaldsay has bothies, bell tents and a yurt (from £35 an evening) and tent/campervan pitches from £7 a nightMunro-bagging in KnoydartLadhar Bheinn, one of many Munros on the Knoydart peninsula. {Photograph}: prunus_dulcis/GuardianWitnessKnoydart is usually known as one of many final nice UK wildernesses. This rugged west coast peninsula between Loch Nevis and Loch Hourn distant and inaccessible – which is its attraction. There is no such thing as a street in; entry is by foot, or small boat from Mallaig, terminus of the West Highland railway line. There’s one tiny settlement, Inverie (with a pub, the Previous Forge) and a inhabitants of about 120. Scottish Rock and Water does a four-day wilderness strolling expedition into Knoydart, beginning at Kinloch Hourn and trekking alongside the shore of Loch Huron to camp at Barrisdale Bay. Alongside the best way there’s the prospect to bag two of Knoydart’s three Munros (Scottish mountains over 3,000ft): Ladhar Bheinn – after strolling the Aonach Sgoilte ridge on the second day – and Mealle Buidhe. From £340pp together with tent, meals and information, accessible from 26 April-13 September, scottishrockandwater.com