We appreciate plotting your first route across Scotland can be quite daunting especially if you are from overseas or have no experience of Scotland. Deciding where you might like to start and finish often makes the route in between fall into place.
There are 12 possible starting points which are detailed here. If you don’t have prior experience of Scotland good places to start are:
Oban – after an initial road walk there are good routes which can be predominantly on tracks
Mallaig – take the ferry to Mallaig and you are in wonderful Knoydart. Rough under foot but relatively clear paths to Loch Arkaig or Kinlochhourn.
Shiel Bridge – the Affric Kintail Way has made this even more popular over recent years. You are soon amidst spectacular wild scenery on relatively clear paths.
It is worth noting that starts from Torridon, Strathcarron, Plockton, Morar, Lochailort are quite challenging both physically and navigationally so maybe best saved them for future crossings!
Most start points are easily accessible by public transport but Acharacle and Kilchoan may be a bit of a challenge and Glenelg and Torridon require a little ingenuity.
There are no fixed finish points. You can finish anywhere on the East Coast between Fraserburgh in the north and Arbroath in the south. After you dip your toes in the sea you then make your own way (motorised transport now allowed!) to Challenge Control in Montrose where you sign out in person. There are some wonderful places to finish and Roger Smith has produced a guide to those south of Aberdeen which can be found here. Some of the most popular are:
Dunnottar Castle – an atmospheric ruin near Stonehaven on a promontory high above the sea. A stony beach gives access to the sea.
St Cyrus – a wonderful long stretch of sand accessed by a path down the cliffs
Kinnaber Links – another long stretch of sand south of St Cyrus which also benefits from a farmshop café nearby
Lunan Bay – yet another beautiful beech with the ruins of Redcastle
Where you start and finish is completely up to you – as is the bit in the middle! – but we hope these resources might help you choose.
Photo: Leslie Grossman