Hill Walking in Scotland
It is possible to do this while remaining on low level marked trails or paths without the use of a map and compass and the knowledge of how to use them. To head higher or off the beaten track competence in the use of a map and compass is essential if you are not to get lost and become a casualty or require the assistance of a Mountain Rescue team.
If you wish to get away from these low level walks and you do not have the navigational skills to do this on your own you need a guide. This guide does not necessarily have to be a paid guide. It could be a friend or relative who has knowledge and the ability to take you to the areas you desire.
Your friends and relatives may not be competent or willing to venture into the Great Outdoors but all is not lost. There are various hill walking clubs throughout the country where you can go along for a day walk or even a weekend away with like minded people. A visit to your local mountaineering shop or a search of the web should produce some information that may be of use to you.
The Ramblers Association has various local groups spread throughout the country. Their walks vary from short strolls to longer walks. You need to become a member of the ‘Ramblers’ to join these walks but they normally allow you to go along to a few walks before you make up your mind if the Ramblers are to your liking.
You can search the web for Outdoors Magic where you will find lots of information about mountaineering. You will also find a Forum where members arrange meets in various parts of the United Kingdom.
Some walkers or mountaineers prefer to pay for a guide to lead them on walks. There are various reasons why people pay for guiding services. It may be that they have a certain mountain or group of mountains that they wish to climb and their club doesn’t have it on their agenda. It may be that they are on holiday in an area they are unfamiliar with and would prefer to be led. It could be that they prefer a one to one guiding service or that they don’t feel competent in navigational skills.
You will need to select a qualified guide from a host of males and females that provide a guiding service throughout the country. Details of guides can be found on the web or in hill walking magazines like the TGO or Trail. Some of these Guides operate in particular areas like the Cuillin on Skye while others operate throughout the country.
A number of guiding companies have a set programme of walks where you can choose the ones you are interested in. Caledonia Hilltreks, and the majority of the guides on Skye operate on demand giving their clients flexibility to book walks at the location and date of client’s choosing.
The cost of guiding is expensive but route planning and navigation is done by the guide all you have to do is turn up properly equipped. Expect to pay between thirty five to one hundred pounds a day depending on the type of walk and the qualifications of the guide. However as in all cases paying more doesnt' always mean you have the best qualified guide. I hear a lot of complaints about the charges made for guiding services but most guides do it for the love of the mountains and to allow other people to experience these areas. How much money would you pay to go to a sporting event or to the cinema? May be not as much as for a guide but at least you have his or her services for the day not just for a few hours.
Across Loch Scavaig to The Cuillin, Skye
Loch na Sguabaidh and Loch Slapin, Skye
Cul Beag, Inverpolly Nature Reserve
Photoart image of Cul Beag