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Kite Buggying

Imagine using the power of the wind to propel you along the beaches and fields of the Scottish Highlands.  There is a lot of wind up here in the Highlands, so sports which capitalize on this are becoming hot.  No wonder, then, that kite buggying is taking the place by storm.  Get set to zoom along at exhilarating speeds, all with no noise and no pollution as you rely on your power kite to drive you down the beach.  At the same time, if you prefer a nice sedate amble, you can do that as well with kite buggying.  This is the perfect outdoor activity for all ages.

A kite buggy is a light, purpose-built vehicle powered by a traction (power) kite.  It has a single seat, one steerable front wheel, and two rear wheels.  How does it work?  The driver sits in the middle of the vehicle, and he speeds up or slows down, turns, etc., using a combination of steering manoeuvres and kite-flying manoeuvres.  The sport can be very fast paced, reaching speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.  This is why it is recommended that proper safety equipment and helmet be donned.  Kite buggying is a bit like land yachting and even windsurfing, although it is said to go back as far as the 13th century in China.  It gained popularity in the UK in the 19th century, but really took off in the 1970s when the equipment became more readily available.  Kite buggying is an extreme sport, and because it is powered solely by the wind, it is an unpredictable sport.  Caution is advised when engaging in this sport, but otherwise get out and enjoy.  Generally, it is recommended that beginners work with their power kites alone and learn how to handle them.  Once they are comfortable with the kite, then they can begin combining kite and buggy skills in low wind conditions. 

The way to get into kite buggying here in the Scottish Highlands is to take a course.  Courses should cover all aspects of safety, power kite skills, and buggy skills, and end with runs down the beach for practice.  Traction Kiting offers lessons all over Scotland and they will come to you.  You can take a kiting course, followed by a buggy course where you will be able to combine the two skills and go kite buggying.  Extreme Zone Kite Shop also holds classes and has kites and buggies for hire.  On the Isle of Barra in the Hebrides you will find Barra Power Kiting.  They run kite buggying courses for only £40 per person, providing you are experienced with handling a power kite.  There are seven different beaches that Barra Power Kiting use, and safety is paramount in all their operations.  They will provide all safety equipment, helmets, pads, and all kiting equipment and buggies.  You only need bring warm clothing with full arm and leg covering, sunglasses, sensible footwear, and sunscreen—yes, the sun can be quite powerful on Scottish beaches, even when the weather is not warm!  Barra Power Kiting keeps their groups small with usually two learners per instructor so you can be sure of excellent supervision and instruction. 

Kite buggying requires skill and technique as well as some modicum of fitness.  It is probably not a sport you come across every day, but the Scottish Highlands are ideal for it.  If you have never tried kite buggying, but really feel compelled, sign up for a half day course and see how you get on with the power kite.  Usually, you can get some great instruction, work with the kite, work with the buggy, and a kite buggy run or two in the span of about four hours.  Call around the various outdoor activity centres and ask about kite buggying, or check out those mentioned in this article.  Kite buggying just may be the new sport for you!