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5 BEST HIKES IN SCOTLAND

DAY HIKES EDITION


Scotland boasts some of the most incredible mountain ranges on mainland UK. Trails wind through forests, along ridges, past lochs and up to peaks with captivating views. We are far from conquering all the amazing hikes Scotland has to offer, but we have tackled a few, and these are our top five.

5 Best Hikes in Scotland

 

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We completed these hikes in summer, so our experience and the details below are based on the conditions of that climate. The circumstances will be different if you plan to hike in the cooler months.

BEN NEVIS


The first hike on this list must be Ben Nevis; the highest mountain in the UK. Millions of years ago, Ben Nevis was an active volcano. It erupted and collapsed inwards, leaving behind the rugged, granite-covered landscape you can trek up today. On a clear day, the 360-degree views from the summit are unparalleled by any other hike in the UK.


Ben Nevis is part of the Grampian Mountain Range, located in the northwest Highlands near Fort William.


The most popular trail is called the Mountain Track. This starts and ends at the Ben Nevis Visitors Centre. There is plenty of parking available, which costs £8 for cars.


The Mountain track is a 17 km (10.5 mi) out-and-back trail and takes 7-9 hours to complete.


The path is very well-marked and easy to follow. It is a steep climb to reach the summit, and the descent can be difficult on the scree. There may also be some snow left on the track, even in Summer.


Ben Nevis attracts 125,000 people each year, so be warned that this hike may not be a peaceful, solo experience.


Please remember to take your rubbish with you and leave no trace (on all of these hikes). We were shocked at the amount of litter left at the summit of Ben Nevis.

AN TEALLACH


An Teallach is possibly the most challenging hike on this list. It was also our favourite. Along the trail, you will tackle grade 3 rock scrambling, traverse scenic ridges, bag 2 Munros, and be rewarded with seriously spectacular views of the dramatic landscape.


An Teallach is located in the area of Garve in the Scottish Highlands.


There are multiple trails to choose from, but most start from the same spot in Dundonnell. There are a few pullovers on the A832 where you can park for free.


The trails vary in length and difficulty. Some complete a full loop, while others are better done out and back. There are options to avoid the grade 3 scrambles and bypass the ridgelines if you prefer. The trails also intersect at multiple points, so you can hop between them depending on how you feel as you reach each challenge.


Most trails are not clearly marked, and it can sometimes be confusing when different paths overlap. We recommend downloading the hike you plan to do on the AllTrails app. You can track your progress with GPS and navigate the sections of the trail that are unclear.


STAC POLLAIDH


Stac Pollaidh was our introduction to hiking in Scotland, and it was such a great first experience that it has remained on our highlights list ever since. A steady incline leads you to a rocky summit with a spectacular view of the surrounding peaks, valleys and lakes.


Stac Pollaidh is located in the area of Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands.


There is a free car park opposite the start of the track. Public toilets are available in Achiltibuie, which is a 15-minute drive from this spot.


The loop takes 2-2.5 hours to complete.


Most of the track is well-marked and maintained. The last part of the path can get boggy after wet weather.



STEALL WATERFALL


The walk to Steall Waterfall is the easiest trail on this list, but no less amazing than the others. It gives your legs a nice break from climbing and instead leads you along a gorge to an open valley, with a waterfall cascading down the rocks in the distance. You may also recognise this place as a film location in the fourth Harry Potter movie.


Steall Waterfall is located in the northwest Highlands near Fort William.


There is a free parking area at the end of Glen Nevis Road, where the trail begins.


The out-and-back trail takes around 1.5 hours return.


There is very little elevation gain on this track, however, the track does include some scrambling over rocks along the way. Once you reach the valley, there is a river crossing to get close to the falls. If the river is too high, you will need to use the steal rope bridge. It is short but can get quite wobbly in the middle and may not be enjoyable for people with a fear of heights.



QUIRAING


The Isle of Skye has a number of great hiking trails but we would have to say that Quiraing was our favourite. It is part of the Trotternish ridge, formed during a landslide a very long time ago. The landscape is dramatic yet beautiful, with notable rock formations, challenging climbs and rewarding views in every direction.


Quiraing is located on the Isle of Skye, on the west coast of Scotland.


Parking is available at the start of the track. It costs £3 for 3 hours of £5 for 6 hours. There are no public toilets available, but there is a food truck selling hot and cold drinks, snacks and tasty burgers.


The loop track takes around 3 hours to complete.


The trail is well-marked and maintained. Some sections can become boggy after wet weather. There are a few steep inclines and some scree on the way down.


This is a popular hike on the Isle of Skye and can attract large crowds in peak season. We recommend arriving early to avoid this.


OUR GOOGLE MAPS


When planning our travel destinations, we pin our bucket list of sites to see and recommended places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas when travelling, and can easily share these lists for our friends and family to use too.


Click here to see our Google Maps for 5 Best Hikes in Scotland.


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