Knife-edge drops on Scotland's Cuillin Ridge

If you get a kick from living life on the edge, then you'll enjoy our round up of some of the world's most intrepid travel adventures. Just make sure you take out insurance before you try any of the following stunts.

Mountaineering madness: Scotland
Fear factor: 4/5

You need to have a head for heights and nerves of steel if you’re planning to undertake the UK’s toughest mountaineering expedition – a traverse of the Cuillin Ridge on Scotland's Isle of Skye.

Featuring a razor-thin crest of 22 jagged peaks stretching for 12km (7 miles), with ascents up to 3,000m (9,842ft), this challenge represents the ultimate in physical and mental endurance. Exposure to the elements, a mix of technical scrambling, rock climbing and abseiling over 10-12 hours a day, plus an overnight stay on the mountains, means training is compulsory on this four-day-long guided expedition. Your reward will be breathtaking views across the surrounding Hebrides and the smug satisfaction that comes with completing such an epic journey.

Extreme hiking: China
Fear factor: 5/5

TrekchinaFlirting with terror on Mount Huashan
Creative Commons / Kenner116 and Lanz

Fancy a walk on the wild side? Then you really should try trekking Mount Huashan in China’s Shaanxi province. The trails leading up this 2,154m (7,070ft) peak are regarded as the most treacherous in the world and have long been used by locals for grand displays of derring-do.

Ageing wooden planks are nailed crudely to rocky cliffs, where surefooted sightseers flirt with danger. Some have done more than flirt, prompting the authorities to install safety ropes and create one-way systems. Ultimately, however, visitors remain one step from the edge.

Despite the laissez-faire attitude to safety, there are strict rules for those climbing Huashan; poorly translated signs demand “no tossing” and “no watching when walking.”

Cliff edge camping: Germany
Fear factor: 4/5

CliffCampingHanging out in Bavaria, Germany

If you’re prone to sleepwalking, probably best you avoid this campsite. Pegged to a sheer cliff face in the German Alps, tents on this perilous pitch nestle some 152m (500ft) above the Bavarian countryside.

A night under the canvas here will set you back £750 – roughly the same price as a night at The Savoy. Presumably most of that fee goes towards safety equipment and insurance policies, which are necessary for keeping guests in their tents or paying the legal bills if they roll out.

The brainchild of staff at Waldseilgarten Höllschlucht activity centre in Bavaria, the cliff edge campsite is reachable only by climbing the mountain with a trained instructor, who you must sleep with at the top.

Hardcore skiing: USA
Fear factor: 4/5

CorbetIt takes a leap of courage to tackle Corbet's Couloir
Creative Commons / Steve Corbato

Described as America’s scariest ski run, Corbet’s Couloir in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole mountain resort requires a huge leap of faith – literally.

It’s reached deceptively easily via a cable car up Rendezvous Mountain but once you clap eyes on the entrance to the couloir, the terror you face is irrefutable. Standing on the edge of a precipice, skiers need to make a vertical jump of up to 9m (30 feet) depending on snow conditions, before landing on a perilous 50 degree slope. There’s no time to give yourself a pat on the back just yet – unless you make a sharp turn, you risk a nasty collision with a formidable rock face.

It’s exhilarating, adrenalin-pumping stuff, and provided you make it, the rest of the slope is a breeze.

Poolside plunging: Zambia
Fear factor: 4/5

DevilspoolzambiaDon't look over the edge of this infinity pool atop Victoria Falls
Creative Commons / joepyrek

If flinging yourself into the thundering waters of Victoria Falls sounds like a death-wish, well, you’d be right, about 99.9% of the time. But, at the Devil’s Pool, on the Zambian side of the falls, you can experience the thrill of the world’s most terrifying infinity pool.

All it takes is one heart-stopping leap into the Zambezi to find yourself teetering at the waterfall’s edge, with a rock formation known as the Devil’s Armchair standing between you and a 110m (360ft) drop. Look down, if you dare.

Visitors can only do the pool as part of a guided tour, and even then, you’ll need to jump carefully and be a strong swimmer: this tiny spot is the only place on the river where the current slows down enough that you won’t be swept into oblivion. Well, not in dry season anyway.

Swing fling: Ecuador
Fear factor: 3/5

SwingecuadorHead in the clouds in Ecuador
Creative Commons / RinaldoW

It sounds like child’s play – how can a mere swing be that scary? When it lets you swing off the edge of a cliff into the void, that’s how. Portentously nicknamed the Swing at the Edge of the World, this makeshift Ecuadorian swing attached to a rickety wooden treehouse via perilously thin ropes, would test the nerves of any daredevil traveller.

Incredible views of Tungurahua volcano and its surrounding valleys are the reward for hikers who’ve made it up the trail path to Bellavista, 2600m (8500ft) above sea-level. But if looking just isn’t exciting enough, the swing, which looks decidedly like it has never heard of health and safety testing in its life, never mind passed one, offers a chance to feel, however fleetingly, like you’ve really got your head in the clouds. Dismount optional.

Perilous driving and mountain biking: Bolivia
Fear factor: 5/5

deathroadboliviaTreacherous precipices line Bolivia's Death Road
Creative Commons / Alicia Nijdam-Jones and 51114u9

Also known as El Camino de la Muerte ("Death Road"), the North Yungas Road was built by Paraguayan prisoners in the 1930s and is arguably the world’s most dangerous road. Linking La Paz to Coroico in Bolivia, the 60km (37-mile) track is rarely more than 3m (10ft) wide and there are no guard rails – even though traffic travels in both directions!

Parts of the road have been improved in recent years, and a new section now bypasses one of the most dangerous parts of the old route. But heavy rain and fog still often add to the danger. One minor miscalculation and you could plunge 600m (1,968ft) to your death. The treacherous road claims 200 to 300 lives a year, but despite the high death toll, the spectacular setting and thrill factor continue to attract intrepid travellers, with a plethora of mountain-biking tours available.

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