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With new, comfortable Caledonian Sleeper trains entering service on both ‘Lowlander’ (from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow) and ‘Highlander’ routes (from London to Fort William, Inverness and on to Aberdeen), there’s now another reason to plan an active break that will take in the majesty of Scotland’s great outdoors.
Tackle the Scottish version of the Coast to Coast
Best known for encouraging the establishment of the Yosemite National Park, Scotland has been rather slow to recognise its famous son – it wasn’t until 2014 that John Muir was honoured with a trail in his native land. The John Muir Way is a path that extends from Dunbar, on the southeast coast, to the seaside town of Helensburgh in the west, forming a Scottish coast-to-coast route.
Relive the legend of notorious Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor
Rob Roy MacGregor was a notorious outlaw and a folk hero, who escaped capture several times. The 80-mile Rob Roy Way takes you through classic Highland scenery and areas that were his old haunts. It begins in Drymen, whose Clachan Inn is the oldest registered licensed pub in Scotland and would have been known by Rob Roy as it was run by his sister!
Find your favourite loch along the Great Glen Way
The Great Glen Way is an exhilarating long distance trail starting at Fort William and concluding at Inverness, Scotland’s northernmost city. Following mostly canal and loch-side footpaths, it passes by the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. Scattered along the shores of Loch Ness, the centuries-old forts and castles remain a silent witness to the country’s turbulent past.
Spot native wildlife as you cycle through the heart of the Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands Cycle is a week-long trip that will see you cycling along scenic paths and quiet forest trails where you can spot native wildlife such as red deer, stag or golden eagles. At Fort William a day is set aside to rest, (or ascend Ben Nevis!), followed by a train journey that takes you across Rannoch Moor to Loch Rannoch. The trip concludes at the riverside city of Perth.
Discover the diversity of Scotland’s ‘Big County’
Enjoy majestic mountain peaks, shimmering lochs and pretty glens. On our Lochs and Bens trip, you’ll take Scotland’s backroads and country paths, explore peaceful villages and rural towns, take a forest walk and visit castles and ancient monuments found along the way. The trip focuses on Perthshire, known as Scotland’s ‘big county’ because of the wide variety of landscapes that can be found here.
Follow the old military roads of the West Highland Way
From the south of Loch Lomond to Fort William and Ben Nevis, the famous West Highland Way connects Britain’s largest lake with its highest mountain. The route is a step back into history - many stages follow military roads that date back to the 1700s and used to link the Highlands to the Lowlands, as well as hotels that originated from droving inns that operated for centuries.
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Dramming on the Rob Roy Way
After a recent trip to Scotland resident guide Jon Millen shares tips on enjoying a wee dram on the Rob Roy Way. Find out more about our Rob Roy Way walking holidays >>
On the Rob Roy Way, there are a few connections with alcoholic beverages, at the start of the walk in Drymen sits the Clachan Inn, the oldest registered licensed pub in Scotland. Clachan means “a building of stone”, a more permanent construction of its time when many buildings were made of turf and timber. In 1734, it was the first of its kind to have its own still to distil and sell its own whisky. The first licensee of The Clachan was Mistress Gow, one of Rob Roy’s sisters! Find out more >>
Later on in the walk, leaving Aberfeldy, one passes the Aberfeldy Distillery: the only distillery built by the Dewar family. Steeped in history and craftsmanship, since 1898 the stills have produced a beautifully balanced single malt whisky. Distillery tours take place throughout the day and include access to their atmospheric warehouse and heritage centre. You can browse the distillery shop for limited editions or even ‘fill your own’ bottle of exclusive Aberfeldy Single Malt whisky. Find out more >>
On the last day in Pitlochry there are a beautiful couple of optional walks that you can do. One takes you past the Black Spout Waterfall and up to the Edradour Distillery, renowned as the smallest traditional distillery in Scotland and arguably the most unique. Dating back to 1825, it stands alone as the last stronghold of handmade single malt whisky from a farm distillery still in production today. Despite this small scale production, Edradour uniquely boasts over 25 distinctive expressions of Highland single malt Scotch whisky with their wonderful characters and flavours. Find out more >>
Also in Pitlochry along the road you can visit the Blair Atholl Distillery which commenced in 1798. The rich, nutty 12 year old signature malt is distilled here then added to the popular blend known as Bells, the most popular blended whisky in the UK. Find out more >>
If you need a break from whiskey (not likely, but it could happen!) we recommend an extra day in Pitlochry to make the most of extra walks. You can ascend a peak called Ben y Vracki. On the way down you pass an old hotel called The Moulin Inn, which has its own brewery started in the 1990s, which supplies beer to this and another hotel. The beers are of excellent quality and include the quaffable ‘Brave Heart Ale’. You can visit the tiny brew house behind the hotel and even by a pack of the different beers. Find out more >>