Discovering Scotland on Foot: The 5 Best Walking and Hiking Routes

Discovering Scotland on Foot: The 5 best walking and hiking routes in Scotland

Scotland, with its rugged highlands, serene lochs, and ancient forests, is a walker's paradise. Offering some of the most breathtaking and varied landscapes in the UK, it's an ideal destination for hikers of all levels. Here, we explore five of the best walking and hiking routes that Scotland has to offer.

1. West Highland Way

Length: 96 miles

Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging

Start/End Points: Milngavie to Fort William

Milngavie Scotland

The West Highland Way is perhaps Scotland's most iconic long-distance trail, traversing a variety of landscapes from lowland moors to dense woodland and rolling hills. The route takes you through the heart of the Highlands, passing by the majestic Loch Lomond, the stark beauty of Rannoch Moor, and the shadow of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak.

2. The Great Glen Way

Length: 79 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Start/End Points: Fort William to Inverness

Fort William Scotland

Following the natural fault line of the Great Glen, this route offers a mix of forest trails and towpaths, with stunning views of Loch Ness. It's a journey rich in history, with highlights including the ruins of Urquhart Castle and glimpses of diverse wildlife.

3. The Southern Upland Way

Length: 214 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Start/End Points: Portpatrick to Cockburnspath

Port Patrick Scotland

This coast-to-coast walk is the UK’s first official long-distance route. It showcases the rolling hills and moors of the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway. This challenging route offers solitude and a sense of remoteness rarely found elsewhere.

4. The Rob Roy Way

Length: 79 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Start/End Points: Drymen to Pitlochry

Pitlochry Scotland

Named after the infamous Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor, this trail takes you through areas that were significant in his life. The route features a mix of forest paths, quiet roads, and ancient tracks, offering stunning views of the southern Highlands.

5. The Isle of Skye Trail

Length: 128 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Start/End Points: Rubha Hunish to Broadford

Rubha Hunish Scotland

An unofficial route that takes in some of the most spectacular landscapes on the Isle of Skye. It's a journey of ever-changing scenery, from rugged coastlines and dramatic mountain ranges to serene lochs and verdant valleys.

Scotland Walking FAQ Guide

What is the longest walking route in Scotland?

The Southern Upland Way is the longest at 214 miles, stretching from the west coast to the east coast of Scotland.

What is the most difficult walk in Scotland?

The Aonach Eagach Ridge in Glencoe is often considered the most challenging walk in Scotland due to its narrow ridges and steep drops.

What is the most famous hiking trail in Scotland?

The West Highland Way is the most famous, renowned for its diverse scenery and cultural significance.

How many national trails are there in Scotland?

Scotland has four official long-distance routes, often referred to as Scotland's Great Trails. However, there are numerous other unofficial paths and routes crisscrossing the country.

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