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An Intro to, UK Long Distance

An Intro to… Scotland’s Great Trails

8 Feb , 2017  

There is a vast amount of walking to do in Scotland – we should know, we have published around 50 guidebooks to the country! However, there are no National Trails such as England’s Pennine Way or Wales’ Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Instead Scotland’s best long distance routes are given the title “Great Trail” and boy do they live up to that name. Here we look at some highlights of the Scottish Great Trails.

Walking the West Highland Way, a guidebook by Terry Marsh. An intro to Scotland's Great Trails

The West Highland Way

How many Great Trails are there?

There are 26 Great Trails, which beats the 15 in England and Wales by a good margin. The newest Great Trail is the John Muir Way which was given the honorary title in January 2017.

Wait, isn’t that in America?

Not quite. There is a John Muir Trail, named after the famous Scot, which runs through California’s High Sierra. At 216 miles – and with a bear risk – it is an entirely different beast to the Scottish Great Trail the John Muir Way.

An intro to Scotland's Great Trails

The John Muir Trail, not the John Muir Way

What is the longest Great Trail?

The Southern Upland Way is the longest Great Trail, stretching 212 miles from coast to coast. Alan Castle’s guidebook to this long distance route gives an itinerary for two weeks and on the way you will pass through Wanlockhead, Britain’s highest village.

An intro to Scotland's Great Trails

The Great Glen Way

I only have a few days off – what is the shortest Great Trail?

The shortest Great Trail is the Dava Way – easily doable in a weekend at 25 miles. However, this trail can easily be extended by adding parts of the Speyside Way, Badenoch Way or the Moray Coast Trail. All routes are covered in the Cicerone guidebook by Great Trail expert Alan Castle.

Great Trails, great bragging rights

A brilliant fact from Visit Scotland says “If you complete all of Scotland’s Great Trails you’ll have walked over 1,700 miles – that’s around 7 percent of the Equator length!”. That’ll get you a few listening ears in the pub!

The Speyside Way An intro to Scotland's Great Trails

The Speyside Way

Full list of Scotland’s Great Trails

Fancy walking a Great Trail? Here’s a full list with Cicerone guides linked to if they are available. There’s plenty to go at! This leaflet from the Scotland’s Great Trails website is a useful resource too.

The Annandale Way
Ayrshire Coastal Path
Berwickshire Coastal Path
Borders Abbeys Way
Cateran Trail
Clyde Walkway
Cross Borders Drove Road
Dava Way
Fife Coastal Path
Formartine and Buchan Way
Forth-Clyde/Union Canal Towpath
Great Glen Canoe Trail
Great Glen Way
John Muir Way
Kintyre Way
Moray Coast Trail
Mull of Galloway Trail
River Ayr Way
Rob Roy Way
Romans and Reivers Route
St Cuthbert’s Way
Southern Upland Way
Speyside Way
Three Lochs Way
West Highland Way
West Island Way

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