Close Icon

A quick look at three of Scotland’s newest long distance walking trails.

Walking in Scotland

For anyone interested in hiking then Scotland is undoubtedly one of the world’s premier destinations. The huge popularity of some of the classic long-distance paths such as the West Highland Way has led to a surge of development in alternatives.

These new trails follow traditional routes and have a challenging, and involving feel to them. Wild but still accessible, they are often not waymarked and require some logistical planning as well as navigation experience. The rewards however are stunning – unspoilt terrain, gloriously remote, unvisited parts of the country and the feeling of being let in on some of Scotland’s best kept secrets await the adventurous. Here are three new trails for you to consider exploring next. Whether hiked in full or dipped into a day at a time while on holiday they are all spectacular and welcome additions to Scotland’s hiking reputation.

Walk the John O’Groats Trail

The John O’ Groats Trail is one of the newest official long-distance walking paths in the country. At 147 miles it is certainly a major undertaking. Its relative accessibility and lack of serious mountains to cross means it is ideally suited for less experienced hikers to dip into and do chunks at a time.

Starting in Inverness and hugging the far north east coast for most of its length, the path is newly waymarked, although navigation is never too challenging. It takes in some of the north’s best sandy beaches, fascinating historical sites, nature reserves and stunning clifftop views – Ideal for an evening coastal stroll or an epic day out.

The route passes close by Farthingworth as it makes it way around Loch Fleet. A relaxing holiday here gives you the opportunity to explore this special site of scientific interest as well as spotting rare birds and seals. The house is luxurious and the panoramic views of sea, sand and sky will lure you back after fun filled days outside.

The Three Lochs Way in Scotland

Designated as one of Scotland’s great trails by Scottish National Heritage the Three Lochs Way is a stunning excursion that packs a lot into its 34 miles.

Typically walked over 4 days (it’s also run as an ultramarathon in one long day) it starts on the south coast of Loch Lomond and mainly follows minor roads, forest paths and historic rights of way. Think of this as the West Highland Way’s friendly little brother, it’s a less crowded, not quite as challenging but every bit as beautiful alternative to the most popular trail in the country.

The determined mountain biker will even find it can mostly be completed on two wheels although some pushing on the steepest sections may be required.

The Old Farmhouse lies very close to the start of the route. On a working organic farm and with stunning panoramic views over Scotland’s most famous loch this is the perfect jumping off point for all kinds of outdoors adventures. Boating, fishing, wild swimming, hiking and biking are available right from the front door but for those just wanting to relax the views over to Ben Lomond are entrancing.

The Famous Highland Drove Walk

The Highland Drove Path is the traditional route that Skye farmers would use to transport their cattle to market in Perthshire. It is one of many such routes that are steeped in history and legend and walking in the footsteps of our ancestors can give us a tangible link to the past.

Traditionally the route would start with the cattle swimming across the narrows at Kylerhea to get from Skye to the mainland but now the Glenelg ferry will take you to the other side (although you could swim if you really wanted). From here the route is not waymarked, but generally it is easy to follow on well-defined paths, back roads and tracks alongside lochs through scenic glens.

Ardchyle House by Killin is almost directly on the route and is a brilliant place to rest for a while in the middle of the walk or to base yourself in to do small sections of it. The location here is perfect for accessing the neighbouring hills with the Ben Lawers and Glencoe just a short drive away. The cafes and restaurants of Killin are also within easy reach.