Wild camping at Sandwood Bay

Wild camping at Sandwood Bay

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.

It’s now great to hear that the people who run the excellent Walkhighlands website have now completed detailed route guides for each stage of the trail together with a new website to promote it.

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.

 

 

9 Comments on “The Scottish National Trail – A Detailed Route Guide

  1. Pingback: Scotland’s Long Distance Walks | Wild about Scotland

  2. Walking the whole route on may 1st May 2016 with teddy my dog, trying to find out what maps I need to take with me, cannot find out anywhere I have a route idea, but all info will be greatly received. Also I walked around the coast of Britain, which took 2 years, I will be carrying a 85lb Bergan and camping all the way.

      • Always carried everything, around the coast of England ,it as heavier,35 years Army, since I was 16.will carry 5 days rations and the dog carries 16lb on his back packs, plus I will have extra food for him, never bothers me carrying that weight, and I am 5ft 7” tall and 58 years old survival instructor, mountain trained and I was born in Snowdonia.

  3. Wow ! I’d say a third of that weight was heavy….

    I hope you have a great time. I’d be interested to hear about the best/worst bits of the Trail and how you get on navigating the route.

    • Ha ! just stumbled across your website Wild 2012, i can vouch for Dave and the weight he carries and his walking habits as i have known him since we joined the Army. I had the pleasure to accompany him on the Coast to Coast St Bees To Robin Hoods Bay Walk two years ago and we did it in seven days, bivvied all the way, the only way i could slow him down was to buy him 2 pints instead of the one.
      He set off on the Scottish Trail on Tuesday and should be in West Linton now, awaiting an update.

      • Thanks for the update, John, and good luck to Dave on the Scottish National Trail.

  4. I’m planning on doing the route starting May 1st 2017. I won’t be carrying anywhere near 38 kilos though.
    I’d be interested to find out how Dave got on though.
    Small spot, doesn’t 864k convert to 536m?

    • Thanks for spotting that mistake – now corrected. Hopefully Dave – or someone else – will let you know their experiences. Good luck with it and please give some feedback once you’ve completed it!

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