As we approach the summer months and people begin to jet off to all corners of the globe for their yearly dose of vitamin D, one country(area?) that many fail to venture in to is the Scottish coast.. The British Summertime, which presents the perfect conditions for endless exploring with its endless hours of daylight and heat that pinnacles at a bearable temperature, is the perfect time to embark on an adventure closer to home. For those whose preferred getaways include hiking amongst nature, Scotland is the perfect summer destination.
For shorter hikes that take around 2-3 days to complete, the “Mull of Galloway Trail”, covering a distance of 37 miles is picturesque. Beginning at Mull of Galloway and finishing in Glenapp in South Ayrshire, it links with the Ayrshire Coastal Path. Part of the Scotland’s Great Trail’s Network, it is also a key ‘chapter’ in the International Appalachian Trail. It is a perfect hike for exploring the South West coast of Scotland; taking in the spectacular coastal views as well as an array of wildlife which includes deer and seals, and spectacular plants. Secondly, the Berwickshire Coastal Path, which covers 28.5 miles in 2-4 days situated along the southern coast of Scotland is enriched with sandy beaches, extensive birdlife, breathtaking cliff tops complete with arches, stacks and crumbling castles and the fishing village of St Abbs.
For Island hikes, the West Island Way and Arran Coastal Way are both part of Scotland’s Great Trails Network. Whilst the West Island Way can be achieved in 2-3 days and covers a distance of around 30 miles, the Arran coastal way takes 4-6 days and hikers follow the islands coastline for approximately 65 miles. Both islands have extensive and beautiful beaches and the West Island way remains flat for the major part, giving hikers 360 degree views of the coast and sea as well as the neighbouring Isle of Arran. Arran is a splendour in itself, proudly hosting a collection of breathtaking beaches and coastal views as well as Goatfell, one of Scotland’s many mountains with scenery to catch your breath and no corner of the hike is without families of adorable seals.
Seasoned hikers, with impressive stamina and a true passion for coastal walking trails, should take on the John Muir Way, which takes hikers on a 134 mile journey from Helensburgh in Argyll to Dunbar in East Lothian. A coast to coast walk, named after John Muir; the father of national parks and global conservationism, should take hikers between 7-10 days to complete. Views of snowy mountains sit in stark contrast to golden, sandy beaches and deer, birds, quaint villages and unforgettable walking trails are the hightlights of this trip.
The Fife coastal path is an experience like no other; taking you on a 117 mile journey through mining towns, surfing villages, rugged cliffs, cosmopolitan cities and award winning beaches. This coastal journey offers a multitude of activities for adventure seekers or those wanting to chill out and enjoy the view.
The Ayrshire Coastal path, equalling 100 miles from start to finish, begins in Glenapp and finishes in Skelmorlie. Also a part of the International Appalachian Trail, it connects up to the Mull of Galloway Trail as well as the Clyde Coastal Path and hikers can enjoy the mountainous and ever changing scenery of the Isle of Arran as well as panoramic views of the British Coastline. A coast steeped in history, it provides magnificent wildlife and views to match.
For more information, visit: www.visitscotland.com/see-do/active/walking/routes-trails/#coastal-trails