Ten of Scotland’s Great Highland Walks

By: Katie Manning

March 18, 2013

Scotland is home to some of the most jaw-dropping scenery and natural beauty in the UK, and these walks within the Highlands (and Lowlands) will get nature-lovers out amongst the very best of it”¦

Beinn Alligin, Wester Ross

5 – 7 hours

Walk up to the summit of Beinn Alligin, one of the giants of Torridon. Although one of the easiest ascents of the Munros in the area, a ramble up the “˜Mountain of Beauty’ affords fantastic views of the Isle of Skye, Liathach and Loch a Bhealaich.

Loch a Bhealaich

Loch a Bhealaich © LHOON

North West Highlands

1 – 4 days

The remote north westerly corner of Scotland – almost untouched by civilisation and yet less than two hours from Inverness – is home to the wildly beautiful mountains of the North West Highlands. Walks here include a visit to Sandwood Bay and the opportunity to see the majestic peaks of Quinag, Suliven and Stac Pollaidh.

The Rob Roy Way

6 – 7 days

This long distance walk, which follows in the footsteps of the legendary Highland clansman Rob Roy MacGregor, begins near the shores of Loch Lomond and ends in Pitlochry – a total of 92 miles. Along the way is a visit to Balquhidder, where Rob Roy lived and rests.

The Bruce Stone

The Bruce Stone © shirokazan

Fife Coastal Path

5 – 8 days

Starting at North Queensferry, just north of the Tay Bridge in Edinburgh, the Fife Coastal Path continues northwards around the stunning coastline, through small fishing villages and sandy beaches, prehistoric caves and castles. Highlights include the ancient town of St Andrews and fish suppers in Anstruther.

The West Highland Way

7 – 10 days

Probably the best known Highland walk, the West Highland Way covers 96 miles (154 km) from Milngavie (outside Glasgow) to Fort William, where ramblers walk on the banks of Loch Lomond, climb the tough “˜Devil’s Staircase’ and visit the famous Drovers Inn. Rugged landscape and panoramic views make this some of West Scotland’s most impressive walking territory.

On the West Highland Way

On the West Highland Way, looking out across Loch Leven © StartAgain

Black Wood and Dun da Lamh

2 ½ – 4 hours

Open hill paths, forests and the remains of a Pictish fort can be expected on the Black Wood and Dun da Lamh circuit route. With extensive views of the Spey valley, this short walk midway between Fort William and Braemar is perfect for beginners.

Loch Trool Trail

2 ½ – 3 hours

Deep within the Galloway Forest Park, Loch Trool is a sight to behold, and this trail which makes a complete circuit around it  will ensure you see it from every angle. Make a short detour and you’ll also see Bruce’s Stone – erected to commemorate the battle fought and won nearby by Robert the Bruce.

Orkney Islands

From 4 nights

Six miles from the Scottish mainland, the 70 islands and skerries of Orkney are a wonderful walking destination, with sheer-sided cliffs, archaeological sights (including a 5000 year old stone village from the Neolithic period) and fantastic wildlife to spot.

Orkney Islands

The Old Man of Hoy, Orkney Island of Hoy © Paul Stephenson

Speyside Way

5 – 7 days

The Speyside Way is one of the classic Highland long distance walks, covering 65 miles through the heart of Malt Whisky country and the Cairngorms National Park. Loosely following the River Spey to Aviemore, this is a brilliant way to visit some of Scotland’s best distilleries, as well as enjoy open coastlands and Caledonian forests.

Foinaven, Arkle and Meall Horn

12 hours 

The Foinaven (White Mountain), Arkle (Peak of the Chest) and Meall Horn (Hill of the Eagle) route is one of the best hill walks in Scotland, with glacial corries, all-encompassing views and wonderful ridge-walking.

 Arkle and Foinaven

Arkle and Foinaven © jack_spellingbacon

Header photo © Bruno Lévêque


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

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