10 of the best places to go walking in Scotland

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TFN has teamed up with conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland to pick 10 of the best places in Scotland to go for a walk

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8th January 2016 by Paul Cardwell 1 Comment

Whether you are a hardened hiker or a Sunday stroller there is somewhere to suit you, so strap on your walking shoes and get out and enjoy our beautiful country.

The National Trust for Scotland looks after 188,000 acres of Scotland’s countryside from the stunning and wild St Kilda in the West, to St Abb’s Head in the East. 

With most sites open all year round, and with routes and rambles available for a wide range of fitness levels, walkers don’t have to travel far to find stunning spots to smash those step targets. 

Each of the walks below is ideal for the winter and you can choose from a selection from across the country with differing levels of difficulties and through a range of landscapes. 

Walkers are reminded to check conditions before heading out, and to make sure that they are properly equipped and that they have the skill and fitness levels for their chosen routes. 

1. Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve

1. Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve

Moffat Valley Water, Dumfries & Galloway DG10 9DP on A708 – Open all year.

Described by Sir Walter Scott in his poem Marmion, this is a spectacular place with the titular waterfall cascading into the Moffat Valley Water and the landscape unfolding over steep slopes to Loch Skeen and the peak of the White Coomb.

For more information click here.

2. House of the Binns Estate

2. House of the Binns Estate

Linlithgow, West Lothian EH49 7NA, off A904 - The house is currently closed but the estate is open daily from 7.30am – 7.30pm.

The Dalyell family have lived on this estate since 1612 (and renowned Parliamentarian Sir Tam still resides in the House) and it was here that General Tam Dalyell formed the Royal Scots Greys regiment in 1681 (later to find lasting fame at the Battle of Waterloo). The grounds offer woodland walks, a panoramic viewpoint of the First of Forth and a recently discovered Neolithic burial chamber.

For more information click here.

3. Hill of Tarvit Garden and Estate

3. Hill of Tarvit Garden and Estate

Cupar, Fife KY15 5PB, off A916 – The mansionhouse and golf course are currently closed but the garden and grounds are open from 9am until sunset.

Nestling on a hillside in the Fife countryside, the early 20th century Hill of Tarvit mansion is set among Lorimer-designed gardens comprising of formal lawns, yew hedging and paths which extend to the wider grounds and a hilltop viewpoint.

For more information click here.

4. Culzean Country Park

4. Culzean Country Park

Maybole, South Ayrshire KA19 8LE, on A719 – The castle is currently closed but the country park and walled garden are open from 9.30am until sunset. The Home Farm restaurant is open daily from 11am – 3pm.

Culzean is simply astounding. The Robert Adam designed castle constructed between 1777 and 1792 replaced a much earlier structure and part of it served a lifetime abode presented to President Dwight D. Eisenhower in gratitude for his role as supreme commander of allied forces in WWII. It was also played the part of the home of the fictional Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man. The extensive grounds include the Swan Pond with its fabulous new children’s play area, routes to rocky, volcanically formed beaches with views over to Ailsa Craig and allegedly haunted sea caves and plenty of woodland walks.

For more information click here.

5. The Hermitage

5. The Hermitage

Near Dunkeld, Perthshire, off the A9 – Accessible all year round (weather permitting).

Once part of one of the most important 18th century picturesque landscapes in Scotland, an attractive woodland walk leads though spectacularly large Douglas firs (including one of the tallest trees in the country) to the amazing folly, Ossian’s Hall, overlooking the Black Linn waterfall. Follow in the footsteps of notable visitors of the past including Wordsworth, Queen Victoria, Mendelssohn and Turner, as you wander around this magnificent designed landscape with its dramatic natural features.

For more information click here.

6. House of Dun Garden and Estate and Montrose Basin Nature Reserve

6. House of Dun Garden and Estate and Montrose Basin Nature Reserve

Montrose, Angus, DD10 9LQ, on A935 – The house is currently closed but the garden and estate are open from 9am until dusk.

The beautiful Georgian House sits in formal gardens with parkland and woodland beyond. You can explore and enjoy the Victorian walled garden and wooded den, before venturing further afield to the Montrose Basin Local Nature Reserve.

For more information click here.

7. Drum Castle Grounds

7. Drum Castle Grounds

Drumoak, by Banchory, Aberdeenshire AB31 5EY, off A93 – The castle is only open on certain weekends but the grounds are open all year round.

Drum is one of Royal Deeside’s top historic attractions, just 10 miles from Aberdeen. It is one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses and is set beside an ancient oak woodland. You can explore the estate through three way-marked walks, an arboretum and the Old Wood of Drum (a Site of Special Scientific Interest). William de Irwyn was gifted the Royal Forest of Drum and the Tower of Drum by King Robert the Bruce in 1323. The tower has benefitted from various improvements over the centuries, including a Jacobean mansion house extension in 1619 and Victorian adaptations, such as the impressive library converted from the lower hall.

For more information click here.

8. Glencoe and Dalness

8. Glencoe and Dalness

Glencoe, Argyll PH49 4HX, on A82 – The visitor centre is open from 10am until 4pm but the site is accessible all year (please watch out for avalanche warnings if climbing!).

The most famous Scottish glen is also one of the country’s most dramatic, with forbidding mountains, thundering waterfalls and sparkling lochs. Internationally famous for its amazing landscape, its natural and cultural heritage, the scenery of Glencoe has been fashioned by millions of years of geological and geomorphologic processes; it is now regarded as some of the finest ‘wild’ landscape in Scotland. The drama is also reflected in Glencoe’s history, both real and imagined – myths, massacre (13 February 1692 – the Massacre of Glencoe. On that cold, bloody night, 38 unsuspecting MacDonalds were killed as they slept by soldiers who had billeted with them for 12 days) and movies (James Bond’s home in Skyfall and the scene of 633 Squadron’s daring-do) are all now part of the fabric of this magical, mysterious place. Walkers and climbers are drawn from all over the world to tackle its many mountaineering routes, including eight Munros, while animal-lovers come to catch a glimpse of Scottish wildlife including red deer, golden eagles and pine martens.

For more information click here.

9. Balmacara Estate and Woodland Walk

9. Balmacara Estate and Woodland Walk

Balmacara, Kyle, Ross-shire IV40 8DN, on A87 – The visitor centres are currently closed but the estate and woodland walk are open from 9am until sunset.

Covering 6,330 acres on the Lochalsh peninsula, this traditional Highland crofting estate is a diverse mix of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes. It encompasses croft and farm land, woodland, moorland, villages, coastline, saltmarsh, lochs and offshore islands, and offers stunning views across the water to the mountains of Skye and Applecross. The estate is also packed with fascinating archaeological and historic features, including two Scheduled Monuments – the open-air church at Plockton village and the crannog on Loch Achaidh na h-Inich. Plockton, a planned village dating from 1801, is a designated Conservation Area and well worth a visit, as is Balmacara Square, where you can see the estate’s original 18th-century steadings, mill house and ice house.

For more information click here.

10. Brodie Castle Grounds

10. Brodie Castle Grounds

Brodie, Forres, Moray IV36 2TE, off A96 – Grounds open all year.

The 16th century castle has a 71 hectare estate with landscaped gardens, a large pond, a walled garden, a woodland walk, an adventure playground and a nature trail with observation hides for watching wildlife.

For more information click here.

Comments

15th January 2016 by Laura Plumb

10 of the best National Trust properties to walk at maybe - I feel inclined to compile a 10 of the best 'wild' walks for TFN readers...