INTRODUCTION TO WALKING IN SCOTLAND
Walking is an excellent form of exercise. It gets you outdoors, allows fresh air into your lungs, gets the blood pumping around the body and is healthy for you. A daily half hour walk will improve your fitness level and your health. It could be walking to and from work or using the stairs instead of lifts, it all helps. If you live too far away from work alight from the bus or train a stop earlier or park slightly further away from your place of work and walk the remainder.
In Scotland we are very fortunate in that we have one of the most scenic countries in the world, from rugged mountains to awesome coastal scenery. We have city parks and woodland walks all relatively easy to access. Scotland has one of the best access rights in the form of the Land Reform Scotland Act 2003, which permits reasonable access to the vast majority of the country.Walking in Scotland could be exploring your local neighbourhood with its history and nature, strolling round your local park or along the riverbank. There are loads of options. Scotland has a prolific number of forests many managed by the Forestry Commission. Lots of these forests have marked trails where family groups are welcome. They are often coloured coded so that before you set off on your walk you know how long it will take. The forests are full of wild life including various species of birds and you may be fortunate enough to spot some roe deer. Coastal towns and villages normally have access to the coastline and some have sandy beaches. You can explore caves, water pools and search for some unusual shells.
Above Picture of Loch Lee, Angus Scotland can be split into three obvious areas. The Central belt, which is mainly flat compared to the rest of the country, is very build up with industry and housing but despite this there are still loads of different areas where individuals and families can walk.The next area is the Southern Uplands, which separates Scotland from England. Here you will find rolling hills where sheep are the main inhabitants and during late spring you will hear the sound of bleating lambs. The walking here is a bit more strenuous than the jaunt around the park as it may involve some steep sided hills but on a fine day the climb can be rewarded with views south to the Lake District of England, to the hills of Northern Ireland and to our third area the Highlands of Scotland.The Highlands of Scotland is a must for any tourist visiting Scotland. Here you will find mountain scenery with unbelievable views. The mountains can vary from heather clad hills to rocky ridges but all have their own reward. Walking in this area can be on vehicle tracks or mountain paths through glens or following streams. Those with the necessary skills may want to walk to the summits of the many mountains.
The mountains on the east coast are more rounded and include the Cairngorm plateau where several of the tops are over 4000 feet above sea level. This may not seem very high to some but it is the only artic area in Britain. The west coast mountains are more rugged and steep and some require climbing skills and are therefore not for walkers.
Scotland has two National Parks within the Highlands. The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is located north of Glasgow and the Cairngorm National Park is situated in the centre of the Highlands. Both offer lots of walking from low level to mountain walks.
Finally not to be forgotten and how could they. Normally classed along with the Highlands are the many Islands off the west and north coasts of Scotland. Some have very rugged mountains like the Islands of Skye and Rum while the west coast of the Islands of Lewis and Harris has the best beaches in Britain and because they are remote they are quiet and unspoilt where lovely tranquil walks can be had, particularly wonderful as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean.
Sunset near Ullapool in Wester Ross
From this Introduction to Walking in Scotland you will see that there are numerous walking opportunities, be it within built up areas, along riversides, in mountainous terrain or on remote islands to satisfy all walking abilities and aspirations.
A Highland Lochan
This Introduction to Walking in Scotland was compiled, on behalf of the Scotland Travel Guide, by Lindsay Boyd who owns and runs Caledonia Hilltreks a guided hill walking business operating throughout Scotland. Below Picture of Skye Lochs Coruisk and ScavaigEditors note - these pictures are copyright of Lindsay Boyd if you would like some pictures for your website of Scottish Mountains please contact Lindsay directly though his website.
As usual all my photographs can be used under creative commons 2.5 Licence - that is if you put one of my pictures taken personally by me (Richard J Fisher) on your website please place a link back to my site, Other photographers have different conditions of use, please respect their copyright, thanks.
You may also find the following websites of interest:
For local holiday accommodation around Glencoe
Lochside holiday cottage near Glencoe, although be warned you need to book a year in advance to get this cottage, so book now for 2007. You may enjoy reading about Scotland on their Scotland holiday blog.