Scottish Highlands – Land for walkers

Sunset in the Highlands - Photo taken by Pack Your Bag
Sunset in the Highlands – Photo taken by Pack Your Bag

The Highlands really is the Scotland of your imagination. It’s a beautiful and inspiring land with a rich and dramatic history. Whatever time of year, the Scottish Highlands are well worth a visit. Discover in this article magnificent lochs, the UK’s highest mountain as well as one of the largest national pathways.

My experience across the Highlands was definitely one of the best of my life so far; the fact of walking 11 days along the Loch Ness, also climbing the Ben Nevis (UK’s highest mountain) and walking again across the West Highland Way made me discover deeply the highlander culture as well as the beauty of this land. If you are an enthusiastic walker, the Scottish Highlands are definitely a place to go, at least once in your life.

1.- The Great Glen Way

It stretches for 117 km from East Coast to West Coast, linking the main regional towns, Inverness and Fort William. Most of the route keeps to lower levels and offers a good introduction to the Highlands running along the shores of the Loch Ness, the Caledonian Canal and the Loch Lochy. You can complete the Great Glen Way wether in 5 or 6 days, depending your strength and the time you have to, with an average mileage of 13 miles per day. What the Great Glen Way offers to you? History, nature, waterfalls, lakes, castles, forests and a huge range of wildlife.

  • Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands.
  • Loch Ness, the most popular lake in the world.
  • Unquart Castle, in the northern shore of the Loch Ness
  • Fort Augustus, the beginning of the Caledonian Canal
  • Loch Lochy, high mountains and magnificent waterfalls.
  • Fort William, the UK’s outdoor capital and base camp to climb the Ben Nevis.

Further info about the Great Glen Way in the following link Great Glen Way

Great Glen Way Map - Provided by
Great Glen Way Map – Provided by
Loch Ness
Loch Ness – Photo taken by Pack Your Bag

2.- Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain

Fort William, the UK’s outodoor capital, is also the “base camp” to climb the Ben Nevis. A tourist route, also known as the Donkey Path, heads up from beautiful Glen Nevis to reach the top of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. The route, although easily seen, is challenging due to its length and height (1344m). Ascend in a South East direction to join the path from the Youth Hostel. Continue the path to a junction above Loch Meall, then continue South to start the zig-zagging section. Eventually you will reach the boulder slopes that head to the summit. Beware the cliffs of the paths. On a cloudy-free day the views from the top are astounding. Then to return walk back the way you came.

Ben Nevis Map- provided by
Ben Nevis Map- provided by
Ben Nevis zig-zag path
Ben Nevis zig-zag path – Photo taken by Pack Your Bag

3.- The West Highland Way

This was Scotland’s first long distance route, stretching for 154 km from Glasgow to Fort William. Well-waymarked throughout, the route is within the capabilities of most walkers. It offers tremendous variety such a pastoral landscapes, the beautiful Loch Lomond and on into increasingly rugged Highlans. You can also enjoy a glimpse of Glen Coe, probably the most popular Scottish’s landscape. It still has enough challenge to inspire the imagination of the walkers; one of the hardest and most challenging parts is unexpectedly the journey along the Loch Lomond although the fact of walking the major part next to lake makes the day absolutely unforgettable.  You can complete the West Highlands Way in a minimum of 8 days with a daily average walking distance of 20 km. Lots of lodges and B&Bs are found along the way, but if you are brave enough you could sleep in tent anywhere you desire as it is permitted in Scotland.

West Highland´s Way Map - Provided by
West Highland´s Way Map – Provided by
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park - West Highlands Way
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park – West Highlands Way