Off the Beaten Track: 5 of the Best Walks in Scotland

Pentlands by David Pike Images
Pentlands, David Pike Images

Scotland boasts some of the best walking in the world. Here are five unheralded routes that rate
among the country’s best.

John Muir Way

If you are arriving in Scotland by air, as you approach Edinburgh Airport, the Firth of Forth spread
out below. One of Scotland’s greatest, but little-trodden walks follows the Forth from Edinburgh to
the North Sea. The John Muir Way is a long-distance path named after one of Scotland’s greatest
naturalists. Marvellous coastal scenery characterises the walk, from the industrial heritage of
Prestonpans to the cliffs of the North Sea coast.

The Cairngorms

The Cairngorms National Park covers a wilderness area of natural splendour, but you may well have
the place to yourself on the high-level walk from Cairn Gorm to Ben Macdui, Britain’s second-highest
mountain. Once you have climbed the imposing peak of Cairn Gorm, you then walk across the high-
altitude Alpine plateau towards Ben Macdui. The scenery just gets better and better as you head
into the wilderness.

Southern Upland Way

The Southern Upland Way is Scotland’s longest, and one of its most challenging walking routes.
Stretching across the south of Scotland from the far west of Dumfries & Galloway to the North Sea
coast, it takes beautiful landscapes, yet is still unsung as a trekking route. You could take on all 212
miles, taking 10-14 days, or get a taste for the route with a bite-size chunk by just doing one of the
15 sections. Whichever one you choose, you’re in for a treat.

Highland Perthshire

Get a taste of the Highlands on a circular walk through awesome scenery that takes in moor,
mountain and forest far away from well-trodden routes. From Pitlochry, head towards the
summit of Ben Vrackie before taking a high-level pass and plunging down a knee-testing descent
to Killiecrankie, site of the infamous Soldier’s Leap, where a Highland soldier escaped from the
advancing government army by leaping over a river gorge.

Pentland Hills

While many walkers who come to Scotland head to the famous Highlands, there is wonderful
walking just a few miles from Edinburgh Airport. The Pentland Hills is an area of natural beauty
taking in some impressive peaks. The walk along the ‘Pentland Ridge’ scales five summits –
Turnhouse Hill, Carnethy Hill, Scald Law and East and West Kips. It gets a wee bit windy up here, so
take care, but the effort will be well worth it.

Guest post by James who  writes for

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