Sport and leisure

Teams from Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles are set to compete in the 2019 Island Games in Gibraltar kicking off this weekend.

Hundreds of athletes from Scotland's islands are heading out to compete in The Gibraltar 2019 NatWest International Island Games XVIII. The Games will be held from Saturday 6 to Friday 12 July 2019. Organisers expect around 3,000 participants, officials and media to attend the event.

A new inclusive play park has opened in the Scottish Borders.

The £350,000 facility at Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre, close to the towns of Melrose, Kelso and Jedburgh, was officially opened on Sunday 28 April 2019. 

A wide range of accessible play equipment is available in the park including two wheelchair swings, an inclusive roundabout, a two-bay Viking basket swing set and an all-inclusive sensory boardwalk.

Registration is now open for Paths for All’s spring Step Count Challenge, which begins on Monday 29 April.

For eight weeks, teams of five from workplaces across Scotland will track and record their daily step count, take part in weekly competitions, and challenge themselves to walk more. 

Community groups can apply for funding towards artistic and visual improvements to their local National Cycle Network routes.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available from the ArtRoots Fund, funded by Transport Scotland and delivered by Sustrans Scotland. The fund seeks to empower local communities in making improvements on local routes to increase user confidence and make journeys on the National Cycle Network more enjoyable for everyone.

Short videos from Rural Perth & Kinross LEADER showcase some of the inspiring projects that have been supported by the programme.

The videos highlight the Highland Safari, Scottish Tea Factory, Loch Earn Railway Path and Strathearn Cider Company projects.

A short film highlights the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere in South West Scotland and the role social enterprise plays within it.

The video, which you can watch below, shows people making the most of the natural assets through a range of adventurous outdoor pursuits such as mountain biking, canyoning and sea kayaking led by ACE Adventure Centre for Education.

The 2018 Scottish Rural Parliament will take place in Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway on 14th– 16th November. If you live in or are passionate about rural areas in Scotland, you can attend to learn and make your voice heard. This year's theme is "Taking Action".

The event brings together people from rural communities with decision-makers, for three days of celebration and exploration. Participants examine a wide-range of issues affecting rural communities and make recommendations for change.

Once every two years, thousands of athletes from across the globe come together to compete in the NatWest International Island Games.

It has recently been announced that Orkney will be the first Scottish Island to host the Island Games since the event was last held in Shetland in 2005. 

The world's first competition of Snow Rowing has been held in Savo, Finland.

Snow rowing is based on a new regional invention, the snow rowing machine. The machine combines traditional rowing boat oars and skis mounted on a device on which you can sit on while rowing across snow or ice. The machine is being further developed with the aid of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park prepares to welcome campers as the second season of byelaws comes into effect.

The seasonal camping management byelaws come into effect on 1 March 2018 and cover certain parts of the National Park between March and September.