There are so many things that Scotland has to offer, Scottish long distance walking routes are amongst them. Landscapes, rivers, beaches, coves and fishertownsand an abundance of wildlife, Scotland’s long distance walking routes have it all.
You don’t need to be able to walk miles and miles to be able to enjoy the routes, with plenty of accommodation and transport options the walks can be broken down into shorter distances over a few days or a week or you could do small sections as part of your holiday.
We have picked out 4 Scottish long distance walking routes that we think give you a little bit of everything that Scotland has to offer.
Moray Coast Trail (72km)
Moray has the most stunning coastline, sandy beaches that stretch for miles, dramatic cliffs, and quaint fishing villages making it a very interesting walking route.
The Moray Coastal Trail links a number of attractive coastal villages and towns, with quaint harbours and extensive services and accommodation.
The Moray Coastal Trail begins inland at Forres and soon meets the coastline at Findhorn, famed for its eco-community. Now you are at the point where the coastal walking begins, taking a track through the coastal forest onto Burghead that has the remains of a Pictish fort and harbour warehouses designed by Thomas Telford, leading on along clifftops with great sea views and on to Lossiemouth.
As you continue your walk you come to Spey Bay renowned for its dolphins and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Trust where you may be able to view the IceHouse, visit the café and shop.
As you continue your walk you will enter Buckie with it’s famous ship-building heritage before finally reaching Cullen with it’s beautiful beach, viaduct and its string of picturesque former fishing cottages.
The Moray Coast Trail connects with the Speyside Way at Spey Bay, and with the Dava Way at Forres; with these two routes it is possible to walk a circuit (known as the ‘Moray Way’).
- Tugnet Ice House and Findhorn Heritage Centre
- Attractive villages with beach huts, lighthouses and railway heritage
- Burghead Visitor Centre (Pictish fort)
- Wildlife including bottlenose dolphins
- Sea views over coves, skerries and beaches
- Bow Fiddle Rock at Portknockie
Speyside Way (138K)
The Speyside Way starts near the mouth of the dynamic River Spey and follows its valley upstream via Aviemore to Newtonmore and on to Buckie.
In places you are following the river banks closely, elsewhere crossing open moorland or following disused railway trackbed. As you progress from the Moray Firth to the Cairngorms you are in a valley that saw the birth of legal whisky distilling.
The Speyside Way route runs through stunning scenery, from the coastline of Spey Bay, up through the birchwoods and pastures of the lower Spey with views of the moors slowly replaced by the mountains. Along the way there are a series of attractive villages and some of the many whisky distilleries for which Speyside is so famous.
With so many distilleries along the way you could take the Independent Newspapers advice and ‘Go Drambling’!
- Whale and Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay
- Distillery visits, especially Aberlour and Glenlivet
- Great habitats including coastal, Caledonian pine forest, open moorland and river valley
- Highland wildlife, including deer (red, roe and reindeer), red squirrels, capercaillie and the endangered Scottish wildcat
- Loch Garten Osprey Centre at Abernethy
- Viaducts, bridges and the Strathspey Stream Railway
- Outstanding scenery.
Dava Way (38km)
The Dava Way takes you from Grantown-on-Spey in the Cairngorms National Park to the fine country town of Forres in the county of Moray. This route mostly follows the line of the old Highland Railway Line with stunning scenery of the Spey at Grantown, through the bleak and empty moorlands around Dava and on into a long descent through the more fertile and pastoral landscapes of Moray around Forres.
The route also provides a key link between two other Long Distance walks. At Grantown it connects with the Speyside Way, whilst Forres is the start of the Moray Coast Trail. As the Moray Coast Trail also meets the Speyside Way at Spey Bay, the three routes together provide the opportunity to make a fine circular route – known as the Moray Way.
- The Divie viaduct, the trail’s icon, saved from demolition by Lord Laing
- Huntly’s Cave, a gorge where the 2nd Marquis of Huntly holed up in 1645
- Dava summit at 321 m/1052 ft, with a replica of the original sign
- The Breathing Place at DunphaiI, a place to stop, picnic and enjoy nature, near the viaduct
- The Halfway Hut, restored as a shelter and picnic point (with solar panels)
- Two wood sculptures: a dragoon near the summit and a collie dog which used to convey messages
West Highland Way (151km)
The West Highland Way is Scotland’s first long distance route opened in 1980, stretching for 151km from Milngavie on the edge of Glasgow to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, the route offers a fabulous introduction to the Scottish Highlands.
The West Highland Way offers tremendous variety, beginning in the pastoral landscapes beneath the Campsies, past the serene beauty of Loch Lomond, and on into increasingly rugged and majestic Highlands. It then crosses the vast, awe-inspiring expanse of Rannoch Moor, looking down to Glencoe, before crossing the hills to beautiful Loch Leven. The route finally reaches Fort William via stunning Glen Nevis.
- Superb views throughout, from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park to Ben Nevis
- Varied scenery, from the pastures of the Campsies and from Conic Hill to the grandeur of the Highland mountains
- side-trips to Inchcailloch, Glengoyne Distillery and the RSPB trail at Inversnaid
- Outstanding views over Glen Coe from the Devil’s Staircase
Our expert team are on hand to help you plan your stay, organise accommodation and transport contact us here, we would love to help you make memories of Scotland.