Scotland is entering its first weekend this year with Level 3 lockdown restrictions.

This means that shops, restaurants, and cafes will all be reopened, and along with an easing of travel restrictions, it means that families can go and explore the great outdoors over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

So, to celebrate the easing of restrictions, Fiona Russell gives us guide to the best of outdoor fun for families in Scotland.

1. Stand Up Paddleboarding

SUP for short is a fast-growing outdoor activity and is ideal for all the family. You need to be able to swim but apart from that, the large and stable board, plus buoyancy aid for safety, allows people of all ages to paddle while standing up on calm waters.

The Herald:

SUPs can be hired on Loch Lomond, which is the UK’s largest area of inland freshwater, as well as on the Isle of Arran, and Loch Morlich, near Aviemore.

2. Canyoning

This is another adrenalin-fuelled activity that sees participants (minimum age 12) descending a series of waterfalls and pools by jumping, sliding, crawling, climbing, swimming and repelling.

The Herald:

The Falls of Bruar in Perthshire are famous for canyoning potential, as well as Tummel and Dollar canyons. Activity providers kit you out in wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet, and then lead the way.

The Herald:

For a tamer alternative, try gorge walking in locations with easier descents and gentler river flow.

3. Mountain biking

Hire a mountain bike at one of Scotland’s many trail centres and ride routes that are graded green for beginners, through blue, red and black for the most experienced. There are also orange grades for the most technical downhill sections.

The Herald:

Visit trail centres such as Glentress near Peebles; Laggan Wolftrax near Newtonmore and Comrie Croft in Perthshire, where there are routes for all ages and aspirations.

4. Canadian canoeing

There are numerous rivers and lochs in Scotland that are ideal for a two-person paddle in an open-top Canadian canoe.

The Herald:

To start with, choose a calm day and a waterway that is not choppy. There are plenty of providers that hire Canadian canoes, or you could join a guided trip in locations such as the Great Glen Canoe Trail, the River Spey or Loch Sunart, on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

READ MORE: Staycation Scotland: 6 picturesque farm stays to visit this year

5. BMX riding

Learn how to ride a BMX bike on a purpose-built off-road racetrack. The track usually comprises a groomed dirt racecourse that looks a bit like a serpentine with jumps, rollers and berms.

The Herald:

The small-sized bikes, which are suitable for children and adults, require you to stand up on the pedals to ride.

It’s a lot harder than it looks but also fun. Glasgow BMX Centre is Scotland’s only world and Olympic standard BMX track. You can book taster sessions.

6. Smartphone orienteering

Orienteering is an great adventure sport for families and one that that exercises the body and mind. The aim is to navigate between checkpoints or controls marked on a special orienteering map.

The Herald:

Permanent courses set up by Scottish Orienteering can now be used with the phone app MapRun.

The only difference from a “traditional” course is that there are no physical markers on the ground. Instead, the phone tracks your location as you run and vibrates to confirm when you’ve reached each control point.

7. Walk with an alpaca

An emerging trend in the outdoors activity world, especially for families with young children, is going for a walk with alpacas. The animals are a domesticated species from South America and very friendly.

The Herald:

There are many places now offering walks and treks with alpacas, such as East Lothian, in the Pentlands near Edinburgh, Moray, Fife and on the Solway Coast in Dumfries & Galloway.

8. Windsurfing

Windsurfing combines surfing and sailing in one activity and can be enjoyed on the sea or inland lochs.

Since Scotland has plentiful wind and water, there are many places to try windsurfing although it is a good idea to take a few lessons first.

The Herald:

Some great destinations include the isles of Tiree and Lewis, as well as Loch Ken, in Dumfries & Galloway, and Loch Insh in the Highlands.

9. Horse riding

Riding a horse or pony as part of a led trek offers a wonderful way to view the landscape. From a horse’s back, you’ll enjoy a new perspective and have the chance to bond with a friendly animal.

Many riding fans say they find a special mental calmness from the activity, as well as a physical workout.

The Herald:

There are numerous stables that can cater for all riding abilities, or you could join an overnight glamping trip with Highland ponies in the Cairngorms.

10. Whitewater rafting

Whitewater rafting is for the more adventurous family and offers a wet and wild experience. Take a thrilling journey down stunning fast-flowing rivers, drops and rapids, guided by an experienced rafter.

The Herald:

There are rafting providers that operate on the rivers Findhorn and Tummel in the Cairngorms; the River Tay in Perthshire; and the River Garry, near Fort William, among others.

11. Climb trees

Join a tree-climbing adventure and see the natural world from a new perspective. There are activity centres with permanent tree adventure courses where you climb, swing and zipline above the forest floor.

The Herald:

Alternatively, families can join a tree-climbing experience using specialist equipment.