Scotland Walkers Guide - Top 8 Best Scottish Walks in 2022
8 GREAT AND CHALLENGING SCOTTISH WALKS TO CHALLENGE THE INTERMEDIAT TO ADVANCED WALKER
Walkers can get an understanding of the history and culture of Scotland by hiking some of its stunning countryside, plus a great deal of exercise and who doesn't like time spent out in nature exploring!
The Scottish landscape is filled with rolling hills, deep valleys, lochs, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and beaches. The most popular walks in Scotland are often considered to be mountain walks because they take you through the wide open landscapes with stunning sweeping views as far the eye can see, well if the weather allows.
We have tried to pick a mix of walks that show case the many diverse landscapes the country has to offer. Some are shorter walks, some are longer walks and some may even be circular walks for your to enjoy,
When choosing a walk in Scotland it's important to consider what you want from your walk. Is it more important for you to be able to see the scenery or would you prefer a more challenging walk? Check out our guide of 8 Great Scottish Walks and don't forget your walking boots.
Here we have listed some of the more challenging Scottish walks, with a selection of Scotland's best circular walks or longer ones for those looking to explore more of the country
1. West Highland Way
The West Highland Way is a popular tourist route in Scotland. It consists of 95 miles of footpaths that hikers can explore.
The scenic route that starts off in Glasgow so there are plenty of car parks to leave you car at, goes through the Trossachs, and finishes in Fort William. It has been voted as one of the top 100 walks in the world by National Geographic Traveler.
The West Highland Way is often called "Scotland's best kept secret". The hike is usually done over 8-10 days, one day per day walk. The walk is one of the best walks to undertake in Scotland to explore the highlands the west coast.
Some people are tempted to do the walk during winter but this isn't the safest idea unless you are familiar with the area. If you are only comfortable with summer hiking then it's good to find an alternative route rather than tackling this one during wintertime
2. The Glen Coe Circular Walk
The Glen Coe Circular Walk isn't really a route as such, its simply put a huge open plain surrounded in valleys, giant peaks, rivers and forests.
I would highly recommend you just head to the centre and take a stroll in any direction you fancy, follow the road down towards Glencoe village to experience some of the best valley views in the UK or head down to Glen Etive to have a walk through a forest and see the many wild deer and stags.
There are many things to see but a moderate walk and 2-6 hours should allow you to see many of the sites.
Enter Glencoe with a sense of wonder as the Buachaille Etive Mòr "The Herdsman" watches over you for miles around.
One of our Glencoe Photographic Prints
3. Cape Wrath Trail
The Cape Wrath Trail is Scotland's most northerly coastal path, and is popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
The trail is 200 miles (321km) long and is said to be one of the longest and most challenging routes in the UK and can be walked or ridden in sections.
The route passes through some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery, taking in the mountains of Torridon to the west coast highlands; it runs along west highlands from Fort William to Cape Wrath Lighthouse on the North West. Fort William is a decent sized village with a great car park to leave your car at during your hike https://visitfortwilliam.co.uk/pages/fort-william-parking-cars-coaches-and-heavy-goods-vehicles-0ebf4f4e
It connects with the West Highland Way, North Highland Way and part of an alternative route suggested by Cameron McNeish which follows the Great Glen Way out of Fort William before joining the main route in Glen Shiel.
4. Dunbeath Loop
The Dunbeath walk is a small walk on the south-east of Caithness, this small walk takes in a variety or natural and man-made highlights such as old mills, Settlements, Standing Stones and even a small gorge called the Prisoners Leap
The Dunbeath Loop is approximately 6 miles and is full of history and we would recommend it for those visiting the north east.
5. The Southern Upland Way
The Southern Upland Way is a long-distance walking route between Portpatrick on the west coast to Cockburnspath on the East. which runs along the Scottish Borders
The 214 miles (344km) route runs across a varied landscape of coastal paths, mountain ranges, forests and by various man-made items such as viaducts and castles all mostly within the Southern Uplands. It has been created by British Long Distance Walkers Association (BLDWA) in conjunction with local authorities along its length.
You can leave your car at the Port Patrick car park https://en.parkopedia.co.uk/parking/portpatrick/
The Southern Upland Way offers a range of scenery and wildlife habitats. It's an important part of the Borders landscape and heritage, and was designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails in 2012.
6. Coast to Coast Walk in East Scotland
The Coast to Coast Walk is approximately 133 miles (215km) long and takes around 6-10 days for completion.
The walk starts in Oban, Argyll and Bute in the west to St Andrews, Fife in the east. with approximately 66 hours of walking. Along the way, there are many different paths that branch off in various directions that can be taken if desired or necessary.
There are many things that should be considered before doing this hike including weight carried, accommodation, transport, if your going to camp or not.
7. The North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 is a scenic route that runs up the coast of Scotland and includes some of the most spectacular views in the world. It is an amazing way to see some of Scotland’s most beautiful sites, including Glen Coe, Glen Etive, Glen Nevis, plus a great place to capture Waterfalls, Castles and Lighthouse Prints and more!
This one is more of a road-trip but there are many great walks along the route. so grab your car or campervan and check out this road trip to see some great walks along the way.
8. The John Muir Way in Central Scotland
The John Muir Way in Central Scotland is a 134 mile long-distance walk with stunning scenery.
This walk will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of Scotland. It goes through some National Parks and protected hills, valleys, lochs and forests. Starting at Helensburgh and ending at Dunbar.
The terrain is mostly moderate with some challenging sections that require careful navigation.
There are three camping areas on the journey where you can stay for free in tents or camper vans - each one has toilet facilities, water, BBQs and sinks for washing up dishes, this makes it one of the best walks to undertake in Scotland.
One of our Luskentyre Beach Photographic Prints
This is of course our walks to undertake in Scotland, but there are many more beautiful locations to hike and explore.
We would also recommend visiting the following great Scottish locations for a fantastic outdoor adventure.
- Fife coastal path The Fife Coastal Path runs from Kincardine to Newburgh along the coastline of Fife and is approximately 116 miles long.
- Loch Lomond is the largest lake in the UK by surface area, that means there's a lot to walk around, be sure to explore the lake and have a stroll along some of the many footpath in the area.
- Trossachs national park, not far from Loch Lomond is the Trossachs national park, and area will outstanding natural beauty and one of the official national parks of Scotland. The area consists of several things to see and you can easily go off piste to explore the area.
- Loch Ness is the largest lake in the UK by volume, so be sure to visit the area for a pretty long circular walk, you can stop by Urquhart Castle for a rest and something to eat or drink at the onsite café.
- Ben Nevis, this one goes without saying and its more of a hike, the walking routes up Ben Nevis are somewhat limited, but at least you will be on the highest mountain in the UK when you reach the top.
- The lost valley at Glencoe, can be a very picturesque route and one to get away from the crowds fine out more at https://discoverglencoe.scot/listing/walk-the-lost-valley
- The Cairngorms national park is the largest national park in the UK and the only wilderness left in Britain, its a very large place full of many walking and hiking locations. Be sure to spend sometime in the Cairngorms as it covers a large variety of landscapes from woodland walks among the Scots pine forests to hidden gems on the high altitude mountain ranges.
What's your favourite places to walk in Scotland? Let us know in the Comments box below!
You might find our blog on the Top 10 Best things to do on Dartmoor useful
Meet the Author:
I am a Devon based photographer, who enjoys travel, hiking, rugby and photographing the beautiful world in which we live in, I see photography as a creative expression upon visiting beautiful places. Each picture often tells a story.
Thank you for reading this article, please feel to share it with your friends and please check out all my photography - Wall Art and Framed Prints I have for sale at https://www.scoellphotography.co.uk
Sebastien Coell Photography