3 Steps for Planning a Walking Holiday in Scotland

If you love hill walking, Scotland should be at the top of your list for your next walking holiday!  From coastal walks to Munro-bagging, there are fantastic walks to put a spring in your step.  Every year, thousands of people come to Scotland to walk in its spectacular countryside and enjoy its stunning scenery.  Whether you’re interested in challenging climbs or meandering strolls, there is something for every age and ability.  Here are 3 things to consider when planning a walking holiday in Scotland.

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1. What time of year to go…

There are beautiful and diverse walks to enjoy all round year round in Scotland and VisitScotland’s Walking Scotland site has information to help you plan your walking holiday, whatever the season. Admire the countryside as spring unravels, walk along a river on a gorgeous summer’s day, enjoy the glow of autumn colours walks – there are a wide range of ideas for seasonal walks in Scotland.
Winter Walking Holidays
Crisp mornings, snow-cloaked mountains, panoramic views… what could be better than a long walk on a frosty winter’s day, and then relaxing in front of a roaring fire in the evening? Enjoy the solitude of Scotland’s great outdoors in the winter months, from the isolated beaches to the rolling lowland slopes. If you’re planning on hill walking in winter, you’ll need to be prepared – visit the Mountaineering Council of Scotland Winter Safety and Winter Walking for useful information on hill walking in winter.

2. Where you want to walk…

Walking Routes
There are so many areas of Scotland you can explore on foot, from the rugged hills of the Highlands and the magnificent Argyll coast, to picturesque Perthshire and the pastures of the Scottish Borders. Whether you want to ramble or scramble, go for leisurely strolls or adventurous climbs, Scotland is a beautiful place to enjoy a walking holiday. Walk Highlands has detailed information on walking routes across the country, with maps and interactive features. Walking Scotland also has a wealth of information to help you plan your walking holiday, including information on family and themed walks.
Hill Walking
Whether you’re interested in challenging climbs or meandering strolls, there is something for every age and ability.There are 283 Munros in Scotland (mountains over 3,000 feet), where you will find some of the country’s most challenging, and stunning, walks. In winter only experienced hill walkers should attempt these routes – see the winter walking section above for information on winter safety. If you’re interested in climbing a Munro, take a look at Walk Highland’s interactive guide to bagging Munros.

3. Where you’re going to stay…

To really enjoy the freedom of walking, why not stay in your own home from home? Self-catering gives you all the freedom and flexibility you need to make the most of your walking holiday – why not find a base from which you can explore a wide range of day-long walks? If you want a warm and cosy cottage to return to after a day out walking, browse a selection of self-catering for Walking Holidays Scotland on EmbraceScotland.

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  • Cuil Bay - otter sighted!

    Cuil Bay - otter sighted!

    5miles (From Kinlochlaich Tree House, Appin)

    Cuil Bay - pebble beach with scenic walks out to the point, with spectacular views down Loch Linnhe towards Mull, and north towards Fort William. Otter was sighted in the second bay over on the way to the point - he seemed very at home and familiar here.


    Turn off in Duror down lane to Cuil Bay, past the village school, and about 0.5 miles parking along the verge edge, or large carpark.

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  • Carmichael History Walks

    Carmichael History Walks

    half a mile (From Carmichael Country Cottages, Carmichael Biggar)

    Walk around the historic designed landscape of Carmichael Estate, as depicted in a 1750 map. Cottage guests can explore the features remaining on the ground today. The Visitor Centre Farm Shop, where the original map is on display, has information on Carmichael history walks and maps for sale.


    Carmichael cottages are the service houses for the original castle and within half a mile of their cottage guests can explore both the ruined castle site and the remains of the original designed landscape clearly visible on this 263 year old map. Now a mature wood old features abound.

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  • Blackhouse Village

    Blackhouse Village

    18 miles from Stornoway (From 27 Garenin)

    Visit the Blackhouse village and sheltered shore at Gearranan, Isle of Lewis. The village was occupied till the 1970s. It is restored and has a museum and cafe. A wonderful sun trap and great walks along the coast in both directions. Experience life as it was for islanders in Lewis - a hidden gem.


    Take the West side circular route from Stornoway in any direction to Carloway and turn up at the bridge at Carloway to Garenin village

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  • Nevis Gorge and An Steall

    Nevis Gorge and An Steall

    5 miles from Fort William (From Mingarry Lodges)

    The walk along The Nevis Gorge to the An Steall falls has been described as one of the best short walks in Scotland. The walk starts at the upper falls car park at the top of Glen Nevis. The car park can get busy, so best to arrive early or out of the main holiday season. A truly amazing walk.


    From Fort William, follow the minor road from Nevis Bridge (the roundabout at the Ben Nevis Highland Centre) to the small upper falls car park at the end of the road. Full details of the walk to the falls can be found at www.wildlochaber.com and www.walkhighands.com.

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  • Cuairt Cromor walk ( beside the cottage)

    Cuairt Cromor walk ( beside the cottage)

    Beside the cottage (From Ceol na Mara Holiday Cottage)

    A challenging short circular walk at the back of Cromore starting beside Ceol na Mara cottage. You can make the walk as hard or easy and long or short as you wish because it's circular. Enjoy breath-taking views, the wildlife and bird life and being at one with nature. This is a registered walk.


    Go to the end of the village of Cromore, climb a small hill beside the last house, go through the second gate and follow the coastline where you can. It is possible to take short cuts if desired. This map and other walks on Lewis & Harris are on Walk Highlands website to download.

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  • Beach Walks

    Beach Walks

    6 Miles to Cullen (From 117 Seatown, Cullen)

    Wonderful winter beach walks, then back home for a wonderful bowl of fresh cullen skink with soft brown bread and lashings of butter.


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  • Portrack House

    Portrack House

    5 miles north of Dumfries on the A76. 45 minutes from High Kirkland. (From High Kirkland Holiday Cottages)

    The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is situated at Portrack House. These stunning gardens have been designed by Charles Jencks, with geometrical designs, lakes, bridges and woodland walks.

    It only opens for one day a year, the first Sunday in May.
    This year it is Sunday 3rd May between 12pm and 5pm.


    Holywood one and a half miles off A76, five miles north of Dumfries

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  • River Ericht Walks

    River Ericht Walks

    In Blairgowrie (From Invermay)

    There are great walks along the banks of the Ericht in Blairgowrie & if it is warm one can paddle from the large flat stones at the side of the River. Just make sure that the water level is quite low as otherwise there can be strong currents. You can also follow the river up to the Falls of Ericht.


    The River Ericht runs close to the town's centre and starts by the bridge in the centre of Blairgowrie near the Wellmeadow. For rocky pools, a grassy picnic area and the Falls of Ericht, head to the north of Blairgowrie.

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  • Inchcailloch Island

    Inchcailloch Island

    1/2 mile (From Loch Lomond Waterfront Lodges)

    The name Inchcailloch means "Isle of the old woman" or "Isle of the Cowled Woman" in the Scottish Gaelic. Saint Kentigerna came to Scotland from Ireland to preach and spread Christianity and the island is thought to be named after her. Ruined church and MacGregor burial ground with woodland walks.


    From the Waterfront lodges walk into the village of Balmaha to Balmaha Boatyard and take the short ferry crossing.

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  • The Silver Walk from Castle Tioram

    The Silver Walk from Castle Tioram

    3 miles from Acharacle (From Mingarry Lodges)

    The real secret of Castle Tioram is that it is the start of several stunning walks including the Silver Walk heading along the coast towards Ardmolich. Another lovely circular walk passes by the deserted village of Briaig, two hill lochans and back by The River Shiel. Look out for otters and eagles.


    Take the minor road signed towards Dorlin off the A861 between Acharacle and Mingarry. Park in the carpark at Dorlin and head right towards Castle Tioram passing Dorlin Cottage and along the coast. The start of the Silver walk is well signed. See moidart.com or walkhighlands.co.uk for walk details.

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  • Quiet sandy beaches ideal for exploring

    Quiet sandy beaches ideal for exploring

    5 miles (From Orroland Holiday Cottages )

    Rockcliffe is a quiet sandy beach a short drive from Orroland. If the tide is out, there is a huge area of sand. Plenty of rock pools for crab fishing and many walks starting from here with stunning views. Dog friendly and family friendly with toilet facilities and benches for picnics.


    From Orroland head towards Auchencairn (east) along the A711. Follow Dalbeattie then take the A710 passing Kippford on the right. Look out for signs shortly after Kippford for Rockcliffe and you should be able to follow the signs to park up and enjoy!

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  • Holiday Scotland
    14th December 2011 4:20 pm

    Great article about walking in Scotland, i find any time of the year is suitable for walking, but you must take care and be well prepared.

    Greg http://www.holidayscotland.org

  • ASSC
    14th December 2011 8:11 pm

    Thank you for your comment, Greg – good advice, and important to highlight.

  • the west highland way
    14th January 2013 6:25 am

    Definitely, Scotland is a beautiful place where you can realize what is nature, how beautiful this world is and what is life. Currently you live your life, but when you visit different adventuress places in Scotland and spend some time with nature, your feeling is so special and not even explainable in words.

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