No matter where you’re staying in Scotland, one thing you can be sure of is that there are fantastic walks to suit all abilities in plentiful supply. It’s a chance to pack a bag full of supplies, wrap up warm and see Scotland at its most real. For the more adventurous, bagging a Munro (or four) is the only way to go. And for those who like to take it a little easier, a shorter, less challenging route packed full of scenery will appeal.
Here’s a list of some of our favourite Munros and Scottish walks.
There are no fewer than 282 Munros in Scotland- and as you’d imagine, some are more treacherous than others. By definition, a Munro is a Scottish mountain that tops 3000ft in height – which makes Ben Nevis, at 4409ft – the ultimate. The most popular Munro to bag thanks to its gargantuan size, the route is extremely challenging and ascent to the summit is rated ‘Difficult’ in summer due to its stony nature.
Cairn Gorm, another popular Munro, is better known for being enjoyed by skiers than walkers, but that’s not to say the former is a better way to take in its sights than the latter. Ascending the Cairn Gorm is best started at the ski centre car park.
One of Scotland’s most picturesque Munros, Lochnagar, in the Grampians, took the fancy of Lord Byron who wrote about its dark beauty in a poem. It features a pointed summit that rises above its north-facing corrie. It is also one of the highest-rated Munros by walkers due to its clear paths and stunning aspects.
The Cape Wrath Trail
As its name suggests, the Cape Wrath Trail isn’t for the faint-hearted. A long-distance walk with no official line starting from Fort William, it ends at the most north-western point in Britain, Cape Wrath, in Sutherland. The terrain walkers will come up against is largely wild and rugged, so this is a trail for walkers who have experience going off-road. Walkers are also encouraged to pick their own route beginning from Glenfinnan (famous for its viaduct, as featured in the Harry Potter films) or the Great Glen.
John Muir Way
The newly-opened John Muir Way reverses the steps of conservationist John Muir from Helensburgh – where he boarded a ship and headed to the US to become the ‘father’ of the American National Parks - back to his birthplace of Dunbar. Take in the sights of Loch Lomond along the way, through the ancient town of Linlithgow, before picking up the Clyde and Forth canal routes nearer the big cities. This is a walk that masterfully blends the urban landscape with inspiring rural surroundings.
West Highland Way
Scotland’s first long distance route and its most popular to date. The West Highland Way spans 151km from Milngavie, near Glasgow, to Fort William in – you guessed it – the Highlands. The route is manageable for most walkers and passes through some of the most majestic and iconic parts of the country, including Tyndrum, Rannoch Moor and Glen Nevis. There are eight stages in total, varying from 14 – 24km in length, and each stage takes no longer than a day to walk.
Fife Coastal Path
The Fife Coastal Path runs 183km in all, hugging the coast from Dumfermline to Newburgh. There are a number of historic and cultural hot spots along the way, including the Wemyss caves and their prehistoric carvings, golden beaches at Crail and Elie, and the cracking views of Rosyth and Kinghorn, What’s more, some of the path’s segments are as short at 5km – such as the walk from St Monans to Anstruther – meaning that when finished, the rest of the day can be devoted to more relaxed activities.