Build your own adventure using the shelter provided by the Mountain Bothies Association (mountainbothies.org.uk). The Association maintains around 100 free shelters across the UK, the majority in Scotland. These shelters are unlocked, ready to house any walker and cyclist who wants them (you may be sharing), and free to use. They’re anything but luxurious; few of them have toilet facilities, there’s no tap, no sink, no lights and possibly only a stony floor to sleep on. You’ll carry your comforts in. However, they’re often in the most incredible places, remote, wild country, and provide shelter and a place for a fire. Criss-crossing the countryside, staying in bothies is more a quest than a holiday, an experience your family will remember forever. Even staying in one of the stone shelters for a night is an adventure. There’s an unofficial limit of six people per night, but more may stay with permission from the owner.
Five miles east of North Berwick, the private beach of Seacliff (it’s £3 to park) is not only pretty, but filled with history. Walk to the end of the bay to get a view of nearby Tantallon Castle, spot the remains of the burned-down Seacliff House in the trees, and spot the ruins of Auldhame Castle on the headland to the west – it was part of an abandoned village. Scramble on to discover even bigger surprise waits; a mini ‘harbour’ cut into the rocks in 1890, supposedly Scotland’s smallest, and just big enough for a couple of small vessels. After all that exploring, it’s time for a lie in the sun, luckily the sands of this woodland-ringed cove are soft and inviting and the seas perfect for paddling.
Have a stroll through the history of one of the wildest places in the UK at the Highland Folk Museum (highlifehighland.com). A mile long, you’ll start in the 1700s at the Township, and end up in the 1930s working croft at the other. Some of the thirty buildings on site have been moved from other locations, others were built and furnished here; see a smoke house, school, church, clockmaker’s workshop and post office. The museum also houses other collections of Scottish artefacts; see sporting memorabilia, craft collections and farming machinery close-up. Free