destination: Perthshire, a thrill-seeker’s paradise in Scotland’s
Central Highlands an hour’s drive from funky, friendly Edinburgh.
Day 1: Wet ‘n’ wild
The water looked so inviting in the dappled sunlight as I suited up for a canyoning expedition at the picturesque Bruar Falls Gorge near Pitlochry. What I didn’t realise – until it was too late – was that the falls were actually fuelled by snow-melt off the highland mountains.
I leapt from the cliff a heartbeat behind my Nae Limits guide Olly and hit the water with a feeling like a dozen knives being stabbed into my brain, despite several layers of titanium wetsuit.
“Aye, it’s a wee bit chilly,” laughed Olly, 27, as I did my best not to cry like a schoolboy from the sheer, freezing shock.
It wasn’t long before I warmed up as the adrenaline increased from a trickle to a steady flow.
For the next few hours, Olly and I descended the mountain gorge by jumping from cliffs, swimming through rapids, clambering over rock formations, sliding down natural flumes and finally – the grand finale – using ropes to lower ourselves down the last, cascading waterfall.
Day 2: Down ‘n’ dirty
It was time to get dirty. Make that filthy. The day’s agenda started with a session on the quad bikes at Land Rover Experience Scotland, an hour’s scenic drive from our base in Crieff to the hamlet of Dunkeld.
Banish any thoughts of a tame ride in a paddock – this mob take their quadding seriously. For an hour, we hammered at full throttle along rough tracks in plantation forest littered with huge muddy puddles, sketchy high-speed downhill runs and tight corners designed to get the throbbing machines sideways.
By the end, we looked like mud monsters and climbed off still pulsating with endorphins.
The fun continued after lunch with a four-wheel-drive session. Although it wasn’t as filthy, it was damn good fun hooning around a specially designed 4WD course in a brand new £82,000 Range Rover Vogue.
Day 3: Thrills on two wheels
All too soon it was time to head back to Edinburgh for the flight home, but not before squeezing in one last thrill fix, this time on two wheels with an extreme mountain biking session thanks to Comrie Croft Bikes.
My guide Colin was possibly the most passionate mountain biker you could ever meet, regularly devoting his days off to carving radical biking paths in the forest around Crieff.
A punishing uphill start was well worth the technical forest section and the heart-in-your-mouth downhill plunge, with
a stop at the Devil’s Cauldron waterfall on the way home.
Back to reality
After three jam-packed days in the Highlands, loaded up with adrenaline, it was time to head back to London and get back to work – for a rest.
» Trevor Paddenburg travelled to Perthshire with Visit Scotland (www.visitscotland.com; 0845-2255 121) and got his adrenaline fix with Nae Limits (www.naelimits.co.uk; 0845-017 8177), Land Rover Experience Scotland (www.landroverexperiencescotland.co.uk; 0844-848 4455) and Comrie Croft Bikes (www.comriecroft.com 01764-670 140).
High on hormones
Adrenaline – we love it, but what the hell is it?
It’s actually a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in situations of fear, stress or excitement. It gives the liver a good hard kick, forcing it to lift blood-sugar levels, increase the heart rate, dilate the pupils, increase blood flow to muscles and reduce blood flow to the skin by producing sweat. It also widens tubes in the lungs to give you an oxygen burst.
In short, you’re primed for action. Go get ’em, tiger!