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A Guide to Walking in Scotland

Friday 10 July 2015 @ 00:00

I’d like to think I’m a fairly experienced walker – I have managed 18 miles in a day on mixed terrain; I’m not put off by rain, wind or snow (providing I’m prepared); and there are some ‘bucket-list’ routes I’d like to tackle before I finally hang up my walking boots.

To me, Scotland’s remoteness and its varied landscape are two of the nation’s unique selling points. There’s beaches, islands, mountains, forests, lochs - in short, something for everyone.

Strathfillan Wigwams is a great base for Walking

And if you prefer to experience nature up, close and personal yet, like me, want a comfortable, peaceful night’s sleep too, then Scotland’s varied glamping sites offers the best of both worlds.

So – why IS Scotland so Good?

Scotland, like the Lake District and the Peak District, is synonymous with excellent walking opportunities. You’re also spoilt for choice as to holiday accommodation, from top-rated hotels through to boutique glamping locations.

But what if your holiday companion would rather snooze than scramble? Well, there’s just no excuse! In Scotland, walking could be a short stroll to the next village or one taking in some serious mileage such as with the nation’s Great Trails

There are several companies that plan walking holidays for you (such as Walk About Scotland and Walk Wild) but to me it’s fun and rewarding to plan your own excursion.

Walking & Glamping in Scotland

To really make the most of your walking, glamping locations are really superb. Only needing to carry essentials, you can get from site to site on many major walking routes and sleep in relative luxury. Ok – so it’s not got quite the feeling of adventure that camping does or bivvying under the stars, but it is a 4 season accommodation and at many of the sites you can find yourself a bacon roll in the morning at the glamping site shop before you head off again. I know that my bivvying days are subject to extreme scrutiny of the weather and if isn’t perfect, I’d much rather stay in a glamping pod.

A few suggestions for well-located walking accommodation locations include Grantown Wigwams, situated in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, a comfy retreat for walkers along the Speyside Way, Dava Way and Moray Way.

If you like a heart-thumping mountain climb, Dornie Wigwams at By-Kyle, Ross-shire near Scotland’s glorious west coast is just 20-minute drive from Morvich and the challenging Five Sisters of Kintail, a classic ridge walk taking in three Munros.

Everyone has heard of the West Highland Way – the famous 96 mile route from Milngavie on the edge of Glasgow, passing through Mugdock Country Park, Loch Lomond National Park, passing by Ben Lomond, Strathfillan Wigwams between Crianlarich and Tyndrum for a good nights sleep and a cup of tea/coffee in the morning, all the way up through Glencoe, climbing the devils staircase, and finding your way to Gordon Square in Fort William. It is quite the journey, but with plenty of glamping locations along the way, it’ll be no bother.

A view over Loch Lomond can be found when glamping in Scotland

Be Prepared

Those of us who love to walk know only too well preparation is key. Knowing how to read an up-to-date map, use a reliable compass and the right clothes to wear are the just start.

And if you don’t want to be the next person to be retrieved by a brave mountain rescue team, do your research and be honest about your fitness level.

So the first consideration is the distance and ‘difficulty rating’, and Visit Scotland uses the following descriptions:

  • Moderate Walk – under five miles
  • Longer Walk – over five miles
  • Hills and Mountain Walks – any distance, strenuous
  • Long Distance Walks – 25 miles or more
  • And if you have limited mobility, then check out Disabled Ramblers for some excellent advice about ‘getting about’.

Best Walking Websites?

Walk Highlands website includes accommodation listings, safety advice, GPS links, Ordnance Survey information and vital walk statistics, such as the distance in both kilometres and miles.

Welcome to Scotland is a portal site that includes sections on where to stay, what to do – and is richly dotted with mentions of accommodation sites suitable for enthusiastic walkers.

Walk This Way

I think us walkers are a funny bunch. We can be very sociable – or not at all. We like to think we’re good at it – but Mother Nature might have different ideas! Yet for fabulous walking and comfy, varied accommodation, Scotland is hard to beat. So what are you waiting for – those boots are made for walking!

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