Last October I blogged about the official launch of the new Scottish National Trail, an 864km (535 mile) route from Kirk Yetholm in the Borders right up to Cape Wrath on the north coast. Devised by Cameron McNeish, outdoor writer and broadcaster, the new trail links together a series of existing trails to form the longest walking route in Scotland and the second longest in the UK.
Following the launch I went along to hear Cameron McNeish and Richard Else talk eloquently about the creation of the Scottish National Trail, part of a tour to launch their book – Scotland End to End – which describes the character of the route (text by Cameron with photography by Richard). At the time I asked Richard if a detailed route guide was included, or if there were plans to produce one.
According to Walkhighlands:
The route combines sections of official routes such as St Cuthbert’s Way, the Southern Upland Way, the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals, the West Highland Way and the Rob Roy Way. Other parts – including sections through central Perthshire, the Cairngorms and the Northwest Highlands – make for a more serious backpacking route with neither waymarking nor a continuous path, as well as a number of potentially hazardous river crossings. The difficultly generally increases as the route heads northwards. Walked in its entirety, the route will surely come to be regarded as Britain’s toughest and yet most varied backpacking challenge.
There will be relatively few people able to spare the five weeks or so needed to complete the trail in one continuous walk; most will want to split it up into sections and perhaps complete it over a period of years. Walkhighlands have divided the route up into 40 sections ranging from 8.5km to 39.5km which means it’s now far easier to be able to plan and undertake your walks with more confidence.
This must surely rate among the most varied and spectacular walks in the world, and I can imagine it’s a challenge many people will want to add to their bucket list.