Could it have been the weather? Or less money in our pockets? We’re a little perplexed to be honest! So, according to a new report, fewer Scots headed into the great outdoors last year. Thankfully, the dip amounts to just 2% and still the most popular outdoor recreational activity is walking. That’s ok then!

In fact, the general trend for the last few years is still on the up, so we’ll not become too upset!

Scottish Natural Heritage carried out their annual Scottish Recreation Survey and found that 2% fewer people took a trip to the countryside for leisure and recreation last year than in the previous year. But the Scottish Government’s advisory body on the outdoors said the overall trend of outdoor activity was holding steady, despite the dip last year.

In 2011, 46% of Scottish adults made at least one visit per week for outdoor recreation. And walking was the reason for 74% of these visits. The next most popular activity, at 9% of visits, was family outings. This was followed by cycling and mountain biking, the main activity on 4% of visits.

The total number of visits to the outdoors in 2011 was estimated to lie between 349 million and 371 million.

The total expenditure on visits to the outdoors in 2011 was estimated to be around £2.7billion, which similar to the previous year.

SNH are keen to encourage more people to take pat in an active outdoors life. Hooray! Indeed, increasing participation in physical activity is a key aim of the Scottish Government.

A spokesperson for the SNH said: “Enjoyment of the outdoors, extending from urban green spaces and countryside around towns, to forests, mountains, the coast and remote and wild areas of land and water, can help deliver many social, economic and environmental benefits.

“These include an improved quality of life, better health and wellbeing, greater understanding of the natural world, more sustainable travel, economic development and stronger communities.”

Let's make 2012 the year that we all get out more into the great outdoors...