Hillwalking In The Highlands
Scotland is known across the world for its incredible wilderness and natural scenery. The untamed coasts, snow capped mountains, deep lochs and rolling green woodlands make Scotland a top destination for those who want to get outside and explore.
If surrounding yourself in nature is your kind of thing, then walking through the beautiful Scottish Highlands is the perfect escape!
Broadly speaking, the Scottish Highlands cover the North-West area of the country. Think impressive rivers, valleys with wild roaming deer, grassy hills, glens and rocky mountain peaks. The area is also historically important to Scotland, and so famous ruins and castles can also be spotted on walks in this area.
Whether you are after climbing the country’s tallest peak, or experiencing the famous Loch Ness on foot, the Scottish Highlands are a walker’s paradise!
Ben Nevis is the tallest mountain in Britain, and is number one on the bucket list for most hikers visiting Scotland. This impressive mountain rises 1345 metres above sea level, and is a breathtaking vision to behold.
Part of the Grampian Mountain area, Ben Nevis is located in the picturesque Lochaber part of the Highlands, with the closest town being Fort William.
There are two trails which lead to the peak of this mountain.
The most commonly used route is known as The Pony Track, or The Tourist Route. As one would imagine, this is the easiest ascent, and is recommended for walkers without a lot of experience in the Highlands. This route begins on the eastern side of the mountain at Achintee and slowly zig zags its way to the top.
The second trail to the summit of Ben Nevis is more demanding. This trail is loved by more experienced hikers, and begins at Torlundy where the path rises steeply up the mountain. This trail may be more demanding, but it offers special views of the mountains cliffs and north face. The route involves a steep descent with bit of scrambling, a joy to any mountain adventurer.
Needless to say, Ben Nevis is a highly rewarding mountain to summit, with unbeatable views. The scenery on the walk up the mountain is equally incredible, with running streams, waterfalls, lush grass, and even snow! An essential walk in the Highlands!
Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail
This is a walk for Harry Potter fans. The Glenfinnan Viaduct trail is a beautiful, short walk that passes along the single track railway which the Hogwarts Express uses to transport students into the wizarding world! The trail sure is magical, as it you feel in another world when walking here.
This trail involves some steep patches, but the views over Loch Shiel and the famous viaduct are well worth it! This is a great short route for those who want to see excellent scenery in limited time.
Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms National Park covers the areas range of well known mountains and surrounding hills. As the area is a national park, it is extremely well looked after, offering many stunning walking trails that are lovingly maintained.
The Speyside Way is a long distance trail in this national park which connects the Moray Coast with the edge of the Grampian Mountains. The route takes you along the River Spey. This is a highly recommended hike for those wanting to experience an adventure from coast to mountain, all along a lovely river.
The trail is approximately 65 miles long, so it can be rather demanding! However, the rewards in natural scenery are completely worth it!
The Cateran Trail takes you through Perthshire and the Angus Glens, and is another top trail in this area. It is a circular route with a whole lot to offer.
The trail takes you through farmland, moors, ancient paths, and steep hills. A great long distance route for those wanting to experience a mixture of scenery.
An incredible walk loaded with natural beauty as well as ancient history, the trail to the Bone Caves is one of northwest Highlands greatest treasures. The Bone Caves are a series of caves which were carved out of the mountainside by ancient glaciers.
The caves preserved an impressive amount of animal life from the ice age, and so they are a great attraction for those interested in science and wildlife.
The walk up to these caves takes you past flowing rivers, interesting rocks and rolling grassland. A highly recommended trail for those interested in fossils and ancient times.
The Great Glen Way
An absolutely iconic long distance path in Scotland, this trail runs for 78 miles and takes you from Fort William to Inverness. The trail can be walked within 5 to 7 days, and it is a real once in a lifetime experience.
This walk takes you past famous sights and landmarks, such as Loch Ness, the Caledonian Canal, Loch Lochy and many more. Over the long distance which this trail covers, you will be exposed to all of the best landscapes which are available in the Scottish Highlands.
All of the rivers, steep climbs, forests, lochs, quaint villages, ancient paths and ruins which you pass along the trail make this a one of a kind Scottish experience!
This is truly one of the country’s great trails, and is a must do for most avid walkers. If you have the stamina and will for adventure, then walking the Great Glen Way is an opportunity not to miss out on.
MAR LODGE ESTATE
Britain’s largest nature reserve spans over 72000 acres, contains 15 Munros and a great deal of wildlife. Arguably the best place for hillwalkers in the country. Read more about the Mar Lodge Estate.
The Scottish Highlands will have avid walkers returning for more once they have experienced all the beauty that can be found in the local trails here.
Other notable Highland walking trails can be found in the areas various flat coastal routes, the scenic ocean routes in Northwest Sutherland, Rothiemurchus Forest, and the Mamores mountain path.
The area offers a wide variety of routes for walkers of all fitness and experience levels. So if you are in the Highlands, get out there and get walking!