Favourite Walking Trails
For years walkers have been drawn to Scotland to hike on the West Highland Way. The justly deserved reputation of this classic week long walk has resulted in excellent facilities en route and consequently huge visitor numbers. The stunning scenery, relatively easy gradients and well maintained paths make this trail accessible for most people of a reasonable level of fitness but for those seeking something different, slightly more challenging or remote there are a number of interesting alternatives.
The Cape Wrath Trail bills itself as Britain’s toughest. It traverses over 200 miles of the country’s wildest terrain and typically takes 2-3 weeks. From Fort William it heads towards the north west coast via Morar, Knoydart, Torridon and Assynt, finishing up at Cape Wrath close to Durness. This is an epic undertaking if completed in one push but if you wanted to break it up into more manageable chunks with some luxury at either end then LHH has a number of properties either on the route or very close to it. The School House in Glenfinnan is right at the start and has easy access to Fort William, with its shops and transport links. Culkein Lodge sits by the water not far from the finish and its newly refurbished luxury will be a welcome treat after the challenges of the previous two weeks.
The John Muir Way, named in honour of the Dunbar born conservationist stretches over 200km from Helensburgh on the west coast past the edge of Loch Lomond, Falkirk and North Berwick before finishing in Dunbar. Thistledown is handily located just down the coast from Dunbar, perfect for those finishing up this trek or bike ride. Put your feet up after all that hard work and relax with a stunning ocean view.
The Great Glen Way starts in Fort William and follows the shores of Loch Ness towards Inverness for 80 miles. It has scenic views over Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal almost the whole way and it typically takes walkers about a week. Cyclists and sea kayakers have both joined in the fun in recent years with their own variations of the route. If all the scenery has inspired you to linger a while or come back for a less strenuous break then Point Clair House is the place for you. Sitting on a promontory on the edge of Loch Ness the uninterrupted views north and south are breathtaking and there a number of paths from the garden leading to the lochside where you can go swimming or launch a kayak.
Grantown on Spey is one of the central points for walking in Speyside and the Cairngorms. The Speyside Way passes through here on its way from Aviemore to Buckie and the Dava Way runs along the route of an old railway line from here to Forres. These two trails are connected along the coast by the Moray Coastal Trail making it possible to walk a massive loop without doubling back on yourself. Allt Beag in Carrbridge is the perfect base for your hiking adventures here, not only are all the long distance trails easily accessible but the Cairngorm mountains are practically on your doorstep. After a long days hike then why not soothe away these aches and pains in the hot tub.
The epic adventure that is The Southern Upland Way is a 12 day mission that crosses the country from the Atlantic coast at Portpatrick to the North Sea coast at Cocksburnpath. Over 200 miles of tricky navigation over rough terrain means that it is commonplace for people to complete the route over a number of trips. Glendow was originally an 18th century drovers’ inn and is a perfect spot for explorations in the Galloway hills. It’s handy for those walking on the Southern Upland Way and offers a peaceful sanctuary in a secluded glen.