Scotland’s majestic highlands and lowlands, magnificent coastline and picturesque national parks guarantee scenery to take your breath away. So why not pull on a pair of good walking shoes, pack up a picnic and head out on an invigorating walk to drink in these incredible views. We bring you just a few of the best to embark on as we look forward to those long summer days.
Lady Mary’s Walk, Crieff, Perthshire
Verdant woodland and tranquil riverside views along the banks of the River Earn greet walkers along this pretty four-mile track. Named after Lady Mary Murray, whose family were local early 19th-century landowners, the walk steers you past an old railway line, a small sandy beach and cute elements such as benches with poems carved into them. The variety of trees along the walk – some of which are more than 150 years old – is sublime, ranging from beech and oak to lime and sweet chestnut trees. See them in full bloom in the summer or come in the autumn for awesome canopies of burnished red and dazzling yellow. The walks also take you over Laggan Hill – a great stopping point to catch your breath and step back to admire the surrounding countryside.
Bring your camera for: the abundance of wildlife – otters, kingfishers, herons and oystercatchers all call this place home.
How to get there: The nearest rail stations are at Perth and Gleneagles – travel to either from Glasgow within an hour – then take a bus or hire a car to Crieff.
Loch Ness 360°, Highlands
A new complete trail pathway looping around the entire circumference of this famous loch in the Scottish Highlands is due to be ready this summer, called Loch Ness 360°. The 3.6km section of the South Loch Ness Trail will link up with the Great Glen Way, which heads up the north side of the loch. Approximately 70 miles in total and marked clearly throughout, there are plenty of guesthouses and B&Bs to stay along the way – as well as some fantastic historic sites. The walk begins in Inverness, heads down the Great Glen Way on the north side of Loch Ness via Drumnadrochit and Invermoriston and over to the pretty town of Fort Augustus. From there pick up the South Loch Ness Trail and head back to Inverness.
Bring your camera for: When you spot Nessie of course! Also, for the sheer number of gorgeous views of Loch Ness itself.
How to get there: It takes around 25 minutes by bus from Inverness, itself 3.5 hours by train from Edinburgh.
John Muir Way, central Scotland
Scotland is home to the remarkable 134 miles (216 kilometres) long John Muir Way, a coast-to-coast route where walkers encounter both beautiful scenery and a taste of Scotland’s ancient, industrial and urban landscapes. Although a long walk, there are plenty of places to stop along the way and most of the route is flat with easy gradients, plus a few hill climbs. You’ll pass by the Roman-built Antonine Wall barrier, once-abandoned canals and the famous banks of Loch Lomond. Most walkers journey west-east in ten stages, from coastal Helensburgh to Dunbar, where Muir himself (who was well known for championing the USA’s Yosemite National Park) grew up.
Bring your camera for: Views of the incredible engineering achievements of the Falkirk Wheel and Forth Rail Bridge.
How to get there: Direct trains link Helensburgh with Glasgow in 45 minutes, and Dunbar with Edinburgh in 25 minutes.
Arthurs Seat, Edinburgh
A decent hill walk in the centre of a city is easily achieved in Scotland. Head up on this short walk from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to Arthur’s Seat in the Scottish capital’s Holyrood Park. An ancient volcano, Arthur’s Seat sits 251 metres above sea level, resulting in amazing, panoramic views of Edinburgh below. You will need your energy to hike up to Arthur’s Seat so if you’re looking for a slightly easier walk with views out over the best of the city, walk the Salisbury Crags. However, if you choose to hike to Arthur’s Seat the rewards are great – as well as the views you can visit the 15th century St Anthony’s Chapel and Duddingston Loch.
Bring your camera for: the stunning views across Edinburgh.
How to get there: Bus or walk to Holyrood Park from the city centre.
Falls of Clyde and New Lanark, Lanarkshire, southern Scotland
Discover powerful waterfalls and inviting riverside walks at the Falls of Clyde, which you can reach via the historic New Lanark UNESCO World Heritage Site. The route also takes walkers past a wooded gorge, fields and woodland as well as to a peregrine falcon watching area. Make sure you stop by at the visitor centre first to pick up interesting information about the area, as well as details on badger and bat walks and the many species of birds found here.
Bring your camera for: the viewpoint for the Corra Linn. This 27-metre waterfall was described by the famous 18th-century poet William Wordsworth as 'the Clyde's most majestic daughter'.
How to get there: The train takes an hour from Glasgow to Lanark, which is 1.5 miles/2.5 km from New Lanark, and then take the bus.
Loch Morlich, Cairngorms National Park, Highlands
Walking the loop around Loch Morlich, set in the heart of Glenmore Forest, offers extraordinary views of the northern Cairngorm mountains. This 3.75-mile route is all the more charming because of the sheer diversity of the natural surroundings; here you’ll experience a mountain backdrop, beaches to relax on when the sun shines, and pine-scented forests to explore.
Bring your camera for: the award-winning Loch Morlich Beach.
How to get there: Train to Aviemore from Glasgow in 2.5 hours and then a 20-minute bus or taxi.