14 Breathtaking Scottish Walks To Add To Your Travel Bucket List

Fancy watching dolphins leap in the water while you hike across an unspoilt bay? Come to Scotland.

1. The Fife Coastal Path

This beautiful footpath is part of the larger North Sea Trail and runs from the Forth Estuary near Edinburgh to the Tay Estuary in the north, passing beautiful towns and villages like St Andrews and Crail on the way. You don’t have to walk the entire 115-mile stretch: There are plenty of short walks you can do, including this scenic 12-mile jaunt from Lower Largo to Pittenweem.

2. The Great Glen Way

This iconic 115-mile walking route links Inverness with Fort William via the Great Glen: a sweeping, 62-mile-long valley that cuts through the Highlands and contains several lochs, including Loch Ness and Loch Linnhe. If you don’t have time to walk 115 miles, then you should try the 12-mile Gairlochy to Laggan section. It runs alongside Loch Lochy, so it’s a particularly scenic option.

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3. The Moray Coast Trail

This 50-mile hike along Moray’s rugged cliffs is ideal for wildlife fans, as the Moray Firth is home to the only pod of resident bottlenose dolphins in the UK, as well as innumerable seabirds and friendly seals. If you don’t want to walk the whole trail, the seven-mile Portknockie to Cullen section is a fantastic option as it passes the rock arch Bow Fiddle Rock (above).

4. The West Highland Way

The West Highland Way is one of the most popular long-distance trails in Scotland, as it passes almost all of Scotland’s most iconic sights, including Loch Lomond, Buachaille Etive Mor, and Glen Coe. It takes a week to walk the 96-mile route, but there are plenty of places to stop along the way, including Clachaig Inn, where scenes featuring Hagrid’s Hut were filmed for the Harry Potter movies.

 

5. Mull of Galloway Trail

This volunteer-run coastal trail runs the length of the Mull of Galloway, which is the southernmost tip of Scotland and famous for its breathtaking views. The route is 35 miles long, so you could theoretically walk it all in one (epic) day, but if you want something a bit less challenging try the 11-mile Glenapp to Stranraer section, which runs around pretty Finnart Bay.

6. The Speyside Way

If you like whisky then you should definitely hike the beautiful Speyside Way, as it runs through one of the most famous whisky-producing areas of the Highlands. It starts on the Moray Coast and follows the River Spey valley, passing several distilleries in the process, including Aberlour. If you want a shorter stroll, the final, 6-mile Boat of Garten to Aviemore section is a real treat.

7. The Three Lochs Way

The “three lochs” in the name of this trail are Loch Lomond, The Gareloch, and Loch Long, which all form a scenic backdrop as you walk the 34-mile route. Along the way you’ll pass the Cobbler, one of the largest hills in the area. If you only have time for a short walk, try the Tarbet to Inveruglas section: You can get a ferry from Inveruglas back to Tarbet at the end of the day.

8. The West Island Way

This 24-mile walk around the Isle of Bute is sometimes confused with the West Highland Way, but it’s a lot easier, flatter, and almost as scenic. The route runs around the entire island, and forms two handy circular sections that are ideal if you want a shorter hike. The 5-mile Kilchattan Bay circular is a particularly gorgeous way to spend an afternoon, especially on a sunny day.

9. The Rob Roy Way

This seven-day hike is named after famous 17th-century outlaw and folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor, and follows some of the paths that he was known to use. It runs from the picturesque village of Drymen to the equally pretty town of Pitlochry, past Loch Venachar, Loch Lubnaig, and Loch Tay. For a shorter walk, try the Ardtalnaig to Aberfeldy section: It passes the majestic Falls of Acharn.

10. The John Muir Way

This 134-mile-long trail links the west and east coasts of Scotland. It starts in Helensburgh near Glasgow, and ends in Dunbar, East Lothian, the birthplace of renowned Scottish naturalist John Muir. There are lots of shorter walks you can try along the route, but the final 5-mile North Berwick to Dunbar section (pictured) is arguably the most scenic.

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11. The Kintyre Way

The unspoilt Kintyre Peninsula is best explored on foot, so it’s great that there’s a 100-mile trail running from Tarbert in the north to Machrihanish Bay in the south, passing beaches and hidden coves along the way. If you haven’t got a week to walk the full route, then the Clachan to Tayinloan stretch is a good option: It runs beside the sea and offers views of the Isle of Gigha.

12. The Arran Coastal Way

Like the West Island Way, this route runs all the way around an island, making it ideal for people who want a circular walk. As Arran is a bit bigger than Bute this path runs for a more challenging 65 miles, passing beautiful sights like Lochranza Bay, where Queen Elizabeth II spent her honeymoon. Try the scenic Sannox to Lochranza stretch (9 miles) if you want to see it for yourself.

13. The Southern Upland Way

The Southern Upland Way is an epic, 212-mile coast-to-coast trail, which links the pretty harbour town of Portpatrick in the southwest of Scotland to Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders. For a particularly satisfying short walk, try St Mary’s Loch (pictured) to Traquair: You can end your day sampling the home-brewed Bear Ale at Traquair House, a listed building that was built in the 1770s.

14. The Cape Wrath Trail

This 200-mile beast of a walk is also known as “Britain’s Toughest Trail”. It ends at Cape Wrath, the most northwesterly point on the mainland, passing stunning glens and steep mountains along the way. It takes around three weeks to walk the whole route, but you can do shorter sections. The Rhiconich to Sandwood Bay stretch is particularly beautiful: In fact, it’s like nowhere else on Earth.
H/t Jade Riley Photography and Visit Scotland.

 

 

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Scotland’s films

Follow the country’s movie trails and discover sprawling beaches, ancient castles, rugged mountains, rolling hills, distinctive cities and picturesque towns and villages - all which have taken centre stage, many times over on the silver screen.

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A MAP highlighting Scottish locations from films such as Skyfall, Harry Potter and Braveheart has been launched to attract “set-jetting” movie fans.

SCO Film Locations

The Highlands & Skye movie map highlights about 50 filming locations and features everything from Hollywood blockbusters to low-budget horror films.

Among the landmarks highlighted are the Glenfinnan viaduct, which appears in the Harry Potter movies, Eilean Donan Castle, seen in Highlander and The World Is Not Enough, and Glencoe, which forms a backdrop in Braveheart and The 39 Steps.

The map is divided into different genres ranging from horror films such as The Wicker Man, filmed partly in Plockton, to science fiction movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, which features Glen Nevis, as well as drama, action and more.

The guide, created by VisitScotland and Highland Council, also features a dedicated section on Skye which, in addition to providing the opening airport scene for Flash Gordon in 1980, has been a major draw to film-makers in recent years.

Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, Snow White And The Huntsman and the Gaelic language film Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle are among those to be filmed on Skye. It can also be seen in the forthcoming Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender.

Jenni Steele, film and creative industries marketing manager at VisitScotland, said: “This fantastic map is an indispensable guide to movies shot in the Highlands and on Skye.

“From Monty Python And The Holy Grail to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and from Local Hero to Braveheart, the spectacular scenery of the region has been a magnet for generations of film-makers.

“With set-jetting an ever more popular pastime, I’m sure even more people will be inspired to come to the Highlands after learning of its rich silver screen legacy.”

The map is available in VisitScotland information centres and will also be available to download at http://static.visitscotland.com/pdf/highlands-movie-map.pdf

SCO Film Map

Audrey Sinclair, chair of Highland Council’s planning, development and infrastructure committee, said: “The Highlands has a great history of being used as a movie location and we also know this can be a significant factor in encouraging people to visit many parts of the Highlands to experience our fantastic scenery for themselves.

“With the last year seeing an increase in interest from movie-makers, it makes it all the more relevant for the council to have supported the production of this movie map which showcases many of the best Highland locations used in everything from movie classics to modern blockbusters.”

 

Sources: http://www.visitscotland.com/about/arts-culture/films/ & http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/famous-scottish-film-locations-feature-6146676