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The Ultimate Walking Holiday | 10 trails in Scotland

Mollie Hughes is a Mountaineer, Adventurer and Motivational Speaker based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Scotland is famed all over the world as a spectacular walking holiday destination. From the highlands to the Islands, the opportunities to experience the great outdoors in our country are endless.

Over recent years there has been an emergence of long-distance walking trails across the country for people to enjoy as part of a trekking holiday. These long-distance trails offer a great option for a self-guided walking holiday. Some routes are well way-marked, offer baggage transfer services and have ample accommodation options. However, other routes, in more remote parts of the country, require confident navigation skills, self-relience and plenty of experience.

Here at Tiso, we want to help you organise the ultimate walking holiday in Scotland. We have put together a list of our top ten hiking trails. There is something in there for all ages and abilities. Wishing you had more holidays? Remember, these trails don't have to be completed in one go, why not break them down and complete a different stage each weekend?

The John Muir Way

Location // Scotland’s central belt<

Distance // 10 stages, 215 KM

The John Muir way, opened in 2014, stretches 215 km across Scotland’s central belt.

Starting from Helensburgh in the west to Dunbar, the birth place of John Muir, in the east. The John Muir way is a very accessible route that can be completed on foot or by bike. Travelling through Scotland’s central belt you will pass through coastal towns, stunning countryside and have a chance to explore Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. During the John Muir way you will never be too far from accommodation options, from basic campsites to luxury castles.

The West Highland Way

Location //Glasgow to Fort William

Distance // 8 stages, 151km

Scotland’s first and most famous long distance hiking route.

This 151km trail runs from the outskirts of Glasgow to the town of Fort William in the highlands. The West Highland way is a well-waymarked route and avoids any high mountain tops. The scenery is superb, passing through open-moorland, spectacular glens and along loch shores. Baggage transfers and walking holiday packages are widely available.

The West Island Way

Location // Isle of Bute

Distance // 27 Miles

The Isle of Bute is home to Scotland’s first official island long distance footpath, the West Island way.

Spanning 27 miles and the whole length of the Island, this varied waymarked route travels through forest, moorland and coast. This route can be split up into stages and completed over a few days or during separate visits to the Island.

The Isle of Bute offers quiet and accessible walking, beautiful scenery and cosy pubs to warm up in after a day’s hike.

The Affric Kintail Way

Location // Drumnadrochit to Morvich

Distance //4 stages, 71 km

The Affric Kintail way runs for 71km from the shores of Loch Ness to Morvich on the West coast of Scotland

This route links some of Scotland’s most famous long distance footpath networks, the Great Glen Way at the start point and the Cape Wrath trail at the end point at Morvich. This route follows footpaths throughout but from Cannich onwards becomes very remote. Good navigation skills are essential.

The Fife Coastal Path

Location // Fife, East Scotland<

Distance // 11 stages, 183km

The Fife coastal path links the Forth estuary to the Tay estuary on the east coast of Scotland.

This well-waymarked coastal route passes through charming fishing villages, picturesque beaches, nature reserves and the famous town of St Andrews. There is plenty of good accommodation available in the towns and villages along the route and also baggage transfer companies.

The South Loch Ness Trail

Location // Loch Ness

Distance // 3 stages, 50km

The South Loch Ness trail follows Scotland’s most famous loch for almost 50km.

Hiking on the quieter south side of the loch avoids the masses of tourists who visit Urquhart castle on the northern shore of Loch Ness. This way-marketed route follows trails through moorland, forest and low ridges producing superb views of Loch Ness. Facilities are limited, the village of Foyers and Dores offer some accommodation and restaurant options and baggage transfer companies are available.

The Cape Wrath Trail

Location // Fort William to Cape Wrath

Distance // 15-16 stage, 378km

The Cape Wrath trail is often thought of as the UK’s toughest long distance walk.

Spanning 378km, this trail takes you from the highland town of Fort William to Britain’s most north-westerly point, Cape Wrath. With no way-markers and no official line, this trail gives the most experienced hikers the freedom to experience the very best of Scotland’s wild, awe-inspiring beauty. Walkers will need an expert level of navigation skills and be comfortable being self-sufficient on the long stretches between civilisation.

The Arran Coastal Way

Location // Isle of Arran

Distance // 7 stages, 109km

The Isle of Arran coastal way runs roughly around the coastline of the Isle of Arran.

This waymarked route can give some demanding walking, even though it is low level, the terrain can be rugged in places. This route offers stunning scenery, often venturing inland, including an optional ascent of Goat Fell, the islands highest point. With convenient public transport and accommodation options, the Arran Coastal Way, is an excellent week long walking holiday.

Forth, Clyde and Union Canals

Location // Glasgow to Edinburgh

Distance // 6 stages, 101km

This 101km route follows the Forth and Clyde Canal from the outskirts of Glasgow to Falkirk.

The route then joins the union canal to continue through to the city of Edinburgh. This long distance walking route follows canal tow paths the majority of the way, providing straightforward walking conditions. As you are travelling through Scotland’s most densely populated area, the central belt, there are an abundance of accommodation and public transport options.

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