The weather might still be too wintry for many of us to venture far from home. But the wonders of Scotland's great outdoors can still be enjoyed through the eyes of these energetic Instagram adventurers...

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Annie Evans is a freelance outdoor instructor in the Highlands. On her vibrant and active Instagram page you will find plenty of cycling, camping and wild swimming imagery – no matter the season. She says: “I love being outside, in almost all weathers. Bike packing is my main way of exploring and experiencing our amazing scenery, but you can also find me hiking, hill running and wild swimming. We are so lucky in Scotland that we have the right to roam and to camp pretty much anywhere as long as we respect and look after our beautiful land.”

An avid cyclist, Annie is often found on gruelling long-distance challenges (not that you’ll see her complain much), Bikepacking and running in the hills, are all enjoyed by her through snow, rain or shine. Her hope is that more might be inspired to get out for adventures even at this time of year when we tend to be less active and more insular. “A life outside is a life of happiness,” she emphasises, “just get out and enjoy it!”

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Edinburgh-based couple Hollie and Stephen share the adventures of their working cocker spaniels, Hugo and Spencer, with their almost 60,000 followers on Instagram. They are often found wild camping, hiking and ‘bagging’ Munros, as well as sharing the progress of their ongoing campervan restoration. Well worth a follow if you are looking for some inspiration on more adventurous dog walks to try across Scotland’s great outdoors.

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Lilly Hurd was aware that she had Scottish ancestry and grew up hearing family stories. She was working in Boston in the financial sector when her grandmother passed away, leaving some money that she decided to use to make her travel dream come true and explore her roots. “I went to Scotland for the first time and I ended up putting over 3200 miles on my rental car” she says. I didn’t have a plan, it was just exploring and following my instincts. I couldn’t believe that you could go somewhere you had never visited and just feel like it was home. I felt like I had been there before.” 

Lilly’s family hailed from Inverness, McKenzies who made their way over to Nova Scotia in Canada during the Highland Clearances before spreading out across North America. Her own upbringing was in Maine on the north-east coast of the United States. 

The journey to Scotland proved life changing. “I traded my high heels for hiking boots and didn’t look back. My whole attitude to living life in a corporate box defined by someone else had changed.” Lilly embarked on a new path “chasing the things that I am interested in”. This included months of adventures across Scotland that she documented on her Facebook page and blog Find Her in the Highlands – now a community of over 7,000 people across the world with a shared connection to Scotland. 

“I just wander when I’m in Scotland. I like to be spontaneous and preserve curiosity. When I started to return for longer periods, I thought I would start writing and posting pictures for my friends and family to share the experience. I can’t believe how it has grown into an online place where everyone can come together through the love of Scotland” she explains. 

Lilly expanded her online presence under the name Scottish Wanderlust, with a cooking club and a book club amongst other hubs for people who want to make a connection. 

“I think it is really special that a tiny country can pull people together so much” she says. 

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Kathi Kamleitner is passionate about inspiring women to step out of their comfort zone and embrace more of the great outdoors. In 2019, she won the Women in Tourism Scotland award for Tourism Influencer of the Year. In her successful Scottish travel blog, Kathi focuses on sharing practical advice and tips for planning a Scotland trip, but also female (solo) hiking, other outdoor activities, vegan food and going off the beaten track. She says: “I started my blog Watch Me See to help other Scotland lovers plan epic adventures and make experiences they will remember for a lifetime – Munro bagging, wild camping, solo travel – no adventure is too big!”

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A self-taught photographer hailing from Yorkshire – but now based in the Highlands – Simon Atkinson showcases some of Scotland’s most dramatic landscapes on his Instagram page. He learned his craft by watching YouTube videos and admiring the work of other photographers online, and hopes that his images will help to inspire other budding snappers. He makes YouTube videos of his wild-camping photography expeditions, encouraging people to get in touch with him to ask for advice on how to capture Scotland on film. He mainly works in Glencoe, Torridon, Assynt and the Isle of Skye, so if you are planning an outdoor adventure around these parts then be sure to give his page a follow.

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Born and raised in Glasgow, Bryan Evans moved to Aberdeen in 2008 for work and fell in love with the region’s rugged castles. He took up photography before the last lockdown in November 2020, exploring further with road trips once restrictions were lifted in a bid to develop his skills.

“I love the supportive side of Instagram,” Bryan explains, “and have made some good new friends going on outings to photograph places in Scotland and pick each other’s brains. I try my best to encourage and support others if I get asked for advice. 

“One of my highlights was being able to use some of my photos to put together a calendar to raise a money for local Aberdeen charity Befriend a Child, who I volunteered with prior to the pandemic.” 

In 2022 Bryan is planning a trip to the beaches of Harris and Lewis for the first time, so keep an eye on his Instagram for photographic updates of the trip.