Based about 8 miles from Stirling, at Alva, and flying mainly in the Ochils, you will find the Extreme Paragliding Club and School. Courses may be booked, ranging from an introductory day up to Club Pilot licence.
I was a member and gained my Elementary Pilots licence (now lapsed, unfortunately).
The feeling of a successful flight, even a short one (which is all I ever managed) is great - just you, the canopy above, and the ground some distance below. At the beginners level (or any level, if done sensibly), I would not call it dangerous (if you follow the safety steps) - it just requires the will to run down that hill and take off.
So why have I lapsed, if it is so great? Partly cost, partly the weather (flying days depend on dry weather and suitable winds) and partly laziness - every flight down the hill means a walk back up (though you are landrovered up to base).
Equipment: Decent boots, food and water for a day on the hills, and a reasonable level of fitness.
- Adventure Travel
- Hang Gliding
City Of Stirling 10K
The City of Stirling 10K is a mass-participation road race which has been held for the last 5 years. This year's race, in September 2006, was the first in which I have taken part (although I have been running intermittently (and slowly) for the last few years).
The course is virtually flat, good for first-timers and personal bests, though it is fair to say it doesn't fully harness the grandeur and history of Stirling. Which would however require some steep hills. Instead, it starts and finishes at Forthbank, outside the football ground, with the lead out past the sewage works and the army base. So strange smells, barbed wire and large guns ahoy. Then the route skirts a large and empty car park and a 'development site' (ie more or less wasteground). Have I sold this to you yet ;-? It does improve then, passing through Riverside, across the Forth, through the quaint village of Cambuskenneth, beneath the Wallace Monument, and back through Causewayhead (past the B&B zone) towards the Castle, then back by the Forth towards the artillery and aromas, to the stadium.
No pictures of the race itself ( I was too busy running!). First pic is somewhere you will pass, at about 5K. The second is some trees near the stadium, I just liked the colours. Though since the pictures were taken April and October, they'll look different on raceday.
Oh, and my time was 58.17 (self-timed) - hardly a leading performance (I did say I run slowly) but, as I could barely train before due to a chest infection, I was well pleased with it.
If you are interested in running, see bpacker's album about her years journey from VT-foodie and sometimes jogger to marathon runner.
- Adventure Travel
Stirling Albion (The Binos) are the local league football team. One of the more recent clubs (dating only to 1945) they are a semi-professional team, currently in the Second Division (third level). Crowds are generally only a few hundred - the makeup of Stirling and area is that there is not such an interest in football as there might be (too posh) and those that do follow football support Rangers (or to a lesser extent, Celtic). The Binos have seldom been over troubled with achievement, their past days of top flight football unlikely to return.
They used to have a ground almost in the town centre, at Annfield. This is now covered in houses as Albion were one of the first teams to go 'out of town'; the current ground, Forthbank, is only about a mile from the centre (though it seems further). It is a tidy, if somewhat characterless place, capacity about 4000. If the game isn't up to much, there is a good view of the Ochils - you may even see the paragliders.
Fishing the Lake of Menteith
Fishing is available on the lake of Menteith from motor powered boats. I believe it is trout that is fished for.
Even if you don't catch then the views are still spectacular!
Boats are available to hire from the Port of Menteith. about 18kms North West of Stirling
- Sailing and Boating
There are two public swimming pools in Stirling, Rainbow Slides in the city centre, and the Scottish National Swim Centre at the University.
Rainbow slides has a standard 25mx15m pool and a warm childrens pool,. There are also three flumes (limited opening) Pool is often truncated for swimming lessons, and crowded. Sauna/steam room and gym in building.
National Swim Centre is a 50m by six lane pool (so not full Olympic). Heavily used by swim squads and clubs for eg sub aqua and canoeing, but also has laned swimming and recreational swimming. May be boomed into 2x 25m and has moveable floor to create shallow end. Generally mercifully free of kids.
As befits the home of golf, in Scotland it is still a 'people's game', not just about status and snobbery* but still played by the working classes (though I never got the hang of it). Clubs are widespread, and most allow guests to play. I'd estimate there are at least twenty within half an hours drive of Stirling (some, like Gleneagles, may be a little harder to get into).
In addition, there are pay and play facilities, like the Airthrey course at Stirling University, and Brucefields family golf centre at Bannockburn. Both of these are 9-hole par 3 parkland courses, with club hire available.
The picture shows a hole at the Airthrey Course, with Airthrey Castle and Dumyat hill behind.
* OK, that is a pretty wide ranging insult, apologies to all international golfers to whom it does not apply.
Equipment: Contact venues for details:
Stirling Golf Club: www.stirlinggolfclub.tv Tel. 01786 471490
Airthrey: http://www.sports-dev.stir.ac.uk/facilities/index.php (all sports - golf specific link not populated at time of writing) Tel: 01786 466901
Brucefields: Tel. 01786 818 184
List of local courses (note- includes some very unlocal courses!): http://www.golf-link-scotland.co.uk/courses-central.htm
Official tourist site with info for all of Scotland: http://golf.visitscotland.com/
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