Scotland is renowned the world over for its breath-taking landscapes and unspoilt terrain. If you’re visiting this beautiful country, here are ten essential walking routes where you can view Scotland to best advantage.
The rocky shores and huge sand dunes of Sandwood Bay make you feel truly at one with the rugged landscape of north west Scotland. This largely unpopulated beach is perfect for a bracing walk away from modern life, and offers excellent views of the lighthouse at nearby Cape Wrath.
Sandwood Bay can be reached via a four-mile path through some stunning scenery, which is home to many wild animals and seabirds.
Some visitors to Scotland don’t know that the capital, Edinburgh, boasts its own extinct volcano. Arthur’s Seat can be climbed via a number of different routes, and the summit offers breath-taking panoramic views across the city.
One of the most popular routes is a three-mile walk beginning at Holyrood Palace, climbing to the summit of Arthur’s Seat before descending via the Salisbury Crags, which offer plenty of impressive views.
The white water of the River Braan follows a trail which leads you through some of Scotland’s most magical scenery. The river runs through the beautiful woodlands surrounding the town of Birnam, and the viewing platform known as The Hermitage is an inspiring spot for artists and writers as well as walkers.
The six-mile route takes you over charming wooden bridges, past waterfalls and through wildlife-filled woodlands, for a fairy-tale day out
The Isle of Skye, off Scotland’s north west coast, is known for its dramatic scenery, and this can best be appreciated by taking the two-mile hike to the summit of the Quiraing.
The route takes you up a winding path to the famous rock formation known as The Sanctuary, before leading westwards to the Flodigarry path. As you climb, you can enjoy stunning views of the unusual rock spires which characterise the landscape.
The Cairngorms National Park is one of the best spots for spectacular views of the Highlands, and one of the loveliest routes here runs through Glenmore Forest Park. This six-mile trail offers plenty of great opportunities to spot some native wildlife including deer, red squirrels and pine martens.
Beginning at the Glenmore Visitor Centre, the walk takes you past Loch Morlich, up a beautiful forest track, offering wonderful views of the snow-covered Cairngorm Plateau through the trees.
The tiny, rugged island of Iona, off Scotland’s west coast, is an internationally-renowned beauty spot. Measuring just five miles from north to south, the island is easy to explore on foot.
If you arrive at the ferry dock, the best way to walk is to take the main road to Iona Abbey. Continuing north from here, you will reach Dun I, which at 101 metres above sea level is Iona’s highest point. The views from the cairn at the top are breath-taking.
Off Scotland’s north east coast you will find the Orkney islands, which offer some spectacular coastal walking experiences.
A particularly fascinating route is the Westness Heritage Walk, on the island of Rousay. This four-mile trail leads you along to coast, taking in some of Scotland’s most important historical sights. Highlights include Midhowe, one of the largest known Neolithic cairns, and the ruins of the 17 th century Brough Farm.
The Fife Coastal Path offers a world of discovery for walkers. This 117-mile route leads you from the Firth of Forth in the south up to the Firth of Tay, taking in a wide variety of landscapes, terrains and places of interest.
Rugged cliffs, traditional fishing villages and beautiful beaches all feature along the walk, which also takes you through St Andrews and the centre of Fife itself. The route also offers plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife, including puffins and dolphins.
Southern Scotland offers some beautiful walking locations, including this four-mile coastal walk at St Abb’s Head in Berwickshire.
The route takes you through beautiful woodlands until you reach a magnificent viewpoint where you can spot a wide variety of nesting seabirds. Continue upwards to the lighthouse, enjoying the views before heading down to the shore, where you might catch a glimpse of an otter.
For sheer unrivalled Scottish beauty, it’s impossible to beat the West Highland Way. This classic walking route stretches for 96 miles between Milngavie, near Glasgow, and Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain.
Highlights along the route include historic Loch Lomond, peaceful Glen Coe and the dramatic landscapes of the Devil’s Staircase.
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