Scotland's Great Trails
Prìomh Shlighean na h-Alba
Where will they take you?
Formerly known as Long Distance Routes, Scotland's Great Trails are nationally promoted trails for people-powered journeys.
Each is distinctively waymarked, largely off-road and has a range of visitor services. With each trail being at least 25 miles in length, all are suitable for multi-day journeys as well as day trips.
Collectively, the 23 different routes provide over 1300 miles of well managed paths from the Borders to the Highlands, offering great opportunities to explore the best of Scotland's nature and landscapes and to experience our amazing history and culture.
"It’s not necessarily about completing the route, unless that’s what you’re into, it’s about getting out there, coming close to nature and getting your free fix of countryside. They’re easy to follow, anyone can do them and there’s one near you."
Find out more on the Scotland's Great Trails website.
Have a look at the Great Trails Map.
From Glenapp to Skelmorlie, the Ayrshire Coastal Path runs for 110 miles (161km) along the rugged cliff-tops and sandy shores of one of Britain’s finest panoramic coastlines, with iconic Ailsa Craig and Arran always in the frame. Walkers will tramp the native heath of Scotland’s three greatest heroes - Burns, Bruce and Wallace - over a land steeped in history, and teeming with wildlife.
This trail runs from Cockburnspath to Berwick, a distance of 28.5 miles (45km). With the second highest sea cliffs on the eastern side of Britain, this walk takes you along some of the country's most spectacular coastline. Why not see the the sculpture and collect bronze markers along the way?
This trail - as the name would suggest - links Scotland's four great ruined abbeys of Melrose, Dryburgh, Jedburgh and Kelso. History aside, much of this 68 mile (109km) route traces the path of the River Tweed,through undisturbed semi-wooded farmland which boasts an abundance of roe deer, hares and buzzards.
A circular route of 64 miles (103km), this trail connects Blairgowrie, Kirkmichael, Spittal of Glenshee, Kirkton of Glenisla and Alyth, and can be joined anywhere along the way. Caterans were originally the fighting men of a Highland clan (from the Gaelic ceathairne), but the name came to describe the marauding cattle thieves who flourished in this region until the 17th Century.
This riverside trail of great contrasts runs 40 miles (64km) from Glasgow's West End to the World Heritage Site of New Lanark and the nearby Falls of Clyde. One of its key features is the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve (NNR), six ancient woodland fragments that have survived in the steep-sided gorges possibly since the end of the last Ice Age.
This 24 mile (39km) section of the former Highland Railway line is characterised by its steady and gentle gradient, and is popular with off-road cyclists. A 'short' Great Trail but even so, it rises to 1,050ft at Dava Summit, and its endpoints join the Speyside Way at Grantown-on-Spey with the Moray Coast Trail at Forres.
Traversing the Firths of Forth and Tay, this 93 mile (150km) coastal trail will surprise with a kaleidoscopic A to Z of attractions, from Archaeology to Zoology! There are prehistoric caves, an impressive collection of castles and an abundance of seabirds and seals to be seen all year round. It's easy to follow - just look out for the waymarkers.
Following the tracks of the former Formartine and Buchan Railway, this trail covers 53 miles (85km) in a Y-shaped route: 25 miles from Dyce to Maud, where the line branches to offer a choice of 15 miles to Fraserburgh or 13 miles to Peterhead. Its shallow gradients are popular with walkers, cyclists and horse-riders alike, and make a great way to explore the farming communities of Aberdeenshire and pick up a little of the surprising local Doric accent along the way!
From Bowling, east of Dumbarton, to Fountainbridge only half a mile from Edinburgh Castle, this trail crosses 66 miles (106km) of Central Scotland. Its flat profile and generally good surface make it popular with cyclists - usually heading from west to east with the prevailing wind!
Scotland's first formal canoe trail and currently the only Great Trail on water. Paddle the length of the Great Glen by canoe or kayak using the Caledonian Canal and the three lochs of Lochy, Oich and Ness. Discover 60 miles (96km) of dramatic scenery, engineering marvels and rich history along the way.Website
This Great Trail is 45 miles (73km) in length, and celebrates the life of John Muir, the conservationist and founder of America's National Parks who was born in Dunbar in 1838. It links East Lothian with Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders, and joins the end of the Southern Upland Way at Cockburnspath.
From Tarbert to Southend, this trail stretches 87 miles (140km) and feels more 'island' than 'mainland'. The secluded peninsula is warmed by the Gulf Stream and is a haven for wild and naturalised plants, and renowned for its dairy products. Campbeltown and its loch are famous for their whisky connection and Kintyre's furthermost point, the Mull of Kintyre, for its pop anthem.
A seascape of sweeping sandy beaches and rugged cliffs, dotted with picturesque fishing villages, characterises the 50 mile long (80km) Moray Coast Trail. It is home to a range of species which makes it the envy of many parts of Britain, including the 130 strong bottlenose dolphin colony of the Moray Firth and the remarkable sight of ospreys fishing in Findhorn Bay.
From its source at Glenbuck Loch to its mouth at the town of Ayr, this 44 mile (71km) trail follows the valley of the River Ayr through rolling countryside rich in wildlife. It's a route steeped in history too, as the area has strong connections to Robert Burns, William Wallace, John Louden McAdam (think tarmac) and many Covenanters.
A 77/94 miles (124/151km) walk across the Southern Highlands of Scotland. Starting from Drymen on the West Highland Way it goes north east to finish in Pitlochry. It follows the tracks and paths used by Rob Roy MacGregor in the 17th & 18th centuries as he worked fought and lived the life of Scotland's most notorious outlaw. The paths were also well used by other historical characters throughout the Jacobite uprisings, and the feuds between the local clans.
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A great trail for the statistician, the Southern Upland Way runs for 212 miles (341km) between trailheads at Portpatrick on Scotland's west coast and Cockburnspath on its east coast. Crossing the Southern Uplands, the walker scales some 22,113ft (6,740m) - surprisingly greater than the height of Mount Kilimanjaro - passing over 80 summits above 2,300ft (609.6m). It normally takes 12-16 days to complete.
Following the course of the River Spey, the Speyside Way runs 65 miles (105km) from Aviemore in the heart of the Cairngorms to Buckie on the Moray Coast, where it joins the Moray Coast Trail. It's a sensational trail for naturalists and also for whisky enthusiasts: among its distilleries, surprise your senses with the two best-selling whiskies in the world - Glenlivet and Glenfiddich - which both come from Speyside.
With a reputation for gifts of healing and insight, St Cuthbert became known as the 'Wonder Worker of Britain'. After his death as Bishop of Lindisfarne in 687AD, his remains were closely protected and often moved. This Great Trail links together many of the places associated with him, winding the 62 miles (100km) from Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders to Holy Island off the Northumberland coast.
From Balloch, the gateway to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, this 31 mile (50km) trail visits The Gareloch and Loch Long before returning to Loch Lomond. Eclectic sights en route range from Faslane nuclear weapons base and Loch Sloy hydro-electric power station, to Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Hill House and the photogenic skyline of the Arrochar Alps.
Linking Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow with Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, this 96 mile (154.5km) trail is Scotland's first and most popular long distance route. A journey that gradually gets tougher, it culminates with the crossing of Rannoch Moor and the ascent of the notorious Devil's Staircase out of Glen Coe, followed by the final downhill reward of the spectacular Glen Nevis.
Be surprised to discover Scotland's first island long distance path. This trail runs the length of the Isle of Bute, 30miles (48km) from Kilchattan Bay to Port Bannatyne. The perfect way to discover the island's treasures, it visits hidden coves, remote beaches and tiny fishing communities.