Scotland is renowned for its incredible range of natural beauty. From white sands and clear waters to luscious green forest and rugged mountains, it is an obvious destination for walking and soaking up the atmosphere of the great outdoors. Here are just a few of the beautiful paths you can expect to find there, a bit of inspiration for your next rambling trip.
1. Borders Abbey Way, English/Scottish Borders
If you like a mixture of nature and history in your walks then the Borders Abbey way is ideal. A 109km total trip which takes you through the scenic Borders area, this route takes you past incredible historic abbeys and picturesque Scottish villages, all the while surrounding you with beautiful nature. The route is circular and has five stages; Jedburgh, Hawick, Selkirk, Melrose and Kelso. The rivers Tweed and Teviot accompany your walk at various points, and the four ancient abbeys, found at Kelso, Jedburgh, Melrose and Dryburgh, hold centuries worth of history involving the Cistercian and Augustinian monks who inhabited these holy places. You can also choose to do individual sections of this path if you don’t feel like the full length.
2. The Great Trossachs Path, Stirling
If following a designated route is not for you, and you prefer to simply wander, then head to the Trossachs National Park. Here you can explore several different routes from a total of the 48km which make up the Great Trossachs Path, and all feature the stunning backdrop of the park. The paths range from wooded scenery to loch-side trails and rugged hilltops accompanied by magnificent views. The National Park is also not far from Glasgow, so is easily accessible and you are guaranteed an adventure.
3. Loch Affric Circuit, Scottish Highlands
For a lovely loch-side circular route, head to Glen Affric and the Loch Affric circuit. Roughly a 18km route not far from the beautiful Kintail mountains, this takes you along Loch Affric, stopping by Dog Falls in the Glen Affric Nature Reserve, and several other nearby waterfalls. If you’re lucky with the weather you can even take a quick dip in the cleansing Scottish water! The many surrounding Scots pines are also a great habitat for birds, if you fancy a spot of birdwatching.
4. Loch an Eilein, Cairngorms National Park
A lovely accessible and more low-level route is the 5km path that circles Loch an Eilein. The loch is deep in the Rothiemurchus forest and surrounded by impressive and ancient Caledonian pines, and you can spot the 13th century island castle, which won the UK’s best picnic spot in 2010. Red squirrels and Scottish crossbills inhabit the forest so it is a great spot for nature, and you can stop off at the shop for an ice cream or another snack to finish the walk.
5. Assynt Coastline, Scottish Highlands
Any walk that includes a beautiful coast is worth a visit, and the Assynt coastline is no exception. In the great wild north of Scotland, this path starts from the ruins of an old grain mill, where the millstone is said to have come from the nearby summit of Suilven, a 731m high peak, and ends in Lochinver village. The 19km route offers several treasures, from the stunning white sands of Achmelvich beach to a smaller and secret beach, and Europe’s smallest castle, Hermit’s Castle. If you’re a nature lover be sure to take a look around at Achmelvich beach as it is known not just as one of Scotland’s many pretty beaches, but also for its diverse wildlife, including cetaceans, seals, basking sharks, otters, ospreys and white-tailed eagles.