Hiking Bucket List: Scotland

I love a good walk. On the beach, with sand between my toes and the cool water washing over my feet. Growing up near the coast of California, it was something I did often and where I would escape to as a teenager. This is a piece of my childhood I don’t get to indulge in as often as I used to, now that I am in Ohio.

Hiking has become a sort of different way to step out of the chaos of my mind (it gets scary in there sometimes, honestly) with the ever needy creative ideas and music that runs through it. While always a rather adventurous person, getting in more than just a leisurely stroll when traveling can be a great way to step outside of the roll of Tourist and into the soul of a country.

Scotland offers some amazing architecture and incredible history found around each cobblestone close and the pubs are overflowing with the charm of a welcoming local crowd. But it is in the green spaces, the quiet rugged beauty of the hills, shores, lochs and highlands that you close your eyes and imagine moments of the past, echoes of paths never crossed with our own and imagine how much or little the scenery has changed.

10 Hikes/Walks to Not Miss in Scotland

  • Ben Nevis
    • One of the biggest in Scotland. With a summit over 4,000 feet, the views are stunning. Certainly not for the meek and mild, trail walker. This one is sought out by the advanced hiker and mountain climber.
  • Arthur’s Seat
    • Just outside the heart of Edinburgh, this one is a great 250 meter, up-hill walk offering panoramic views of this gem of a city. There are a number of paths to take, some much more challenging than others. The easier, paved path is frequented by the older and youngest of weekend walkers.
  • Ben Lomond
    • About an hour outside of Glasgow, with views of the ever stunning Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond comes in at 974 meters.
  • Fairy Glenn
    • On the Isle of Skye (where my favorite whisky is made, Talisker), just outside of Uig in the north of Skye you will find unmatched beauty and a little magic perhaps too. Greens and blues like you have never seen before touch your senses and fill your imagination.
  • West Highland Way
    • Scotland’s first official long-distance hike! It is 95 miles (150km) beginning just outside of Glasgow and stops at the foot of Ben Nevis. Nearby you will find Fort William and the path runs right along the banks of Loch Lomond. West Highland Way sees around 16,000 hikers a year and many more make the journey to walk a portion of it each year. (We made our way along the banks of Loch Lomond for a an hour or so in 2016 and I look forward to heading back.)
  • Lost Valley – Glencoe
    • Glencoe has a number of beautiful hikes/walks that will range from easy to incredibly challenging. Lost Valley is an easy 2.5 mile walk between the peaks of the Three Sisters. A stunning valley with a grim history, this walk will take you away from the bustling city and into the past.
  • Calton Hill
    • If you can’t venture too far outside of the city, you can always head to Calton Hill for panoramic views of Edinburgh. An easier walk than even Arthur’s Seat, this 1 mile hike/walk  leads you up 300 feet for panoramic views of Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth and views of some cool monuments. There is also a cannon that was built by the Portuguese in the 1500s and was used to fight in Burma. It was captured by the British and given to Edinburgh in the 1800s and placed on Calton Hill.
  • Old Man of Hoy
    • Catch the ferry to Hoy  in the Orkney archipelago in the northeast of Scotland. An uphill hike from Rackwick, it is a well marked coastal path to see the UK’s tallest red sandstone sea stack. Beautiful views of the cliffs and the iconic Atlantic Ocean are breathtaking.
  • Kilmartin Glen
    • Between Oban and Lochgilphead. More than 800 ancient monuments are found within a 6 mile radius of the village of Kilmartin.

Next time you find yourself a tourist in a new city or country, venture off the 10 best Castles list and away from the tour buses. Enter into the wilder and less industrial parts (safely), put your feet on something other than pavement, breathe in the unpolluted air of nature and soak up the soul of the country.

And remember….

“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed and wander often for the world is wide and adventure awaits.” ~ Emylee


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