Highlands & Islands

National Geographic includes West Highland Way in list of top 20 hikes

On the West Highland Way
Image caption The West Highland Way stretches for 96 miles (154.4km)

A walking route in Scotland has been included on a US travel magazine's list of the world's best hikes.

The West Highland Way covers 96 miles (154.4km) from Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William.

National Geographic Traveler Magazine ranked it alongside 19 other trails, including the Santa Cruz Trek in Peru and Tibet's Mount Kailash Pilgrimage.

The magazine's August/September issue also has a feature on the Scottish islands of Muck, Eigg and Jura.

Colorado-based Doug Schnitzspahn compiled National Geographic Traveler's guide to the world's best hikes.

The writer has spent several years building and maintaining trails while working for the US Forest Service in Montana and Idaho.

Image caption An impression of the supercontinent of Pangaea some 300 million years ago

Mr Schnitzspahn said the West Highland Way could "feel big and windswept at times, taking in the rocky peaks and rolling grasses of Glen Coe and climbing the Devil's Staircase path on the Aonach Eagach ridge".

He added: "But the route also takes in more subtle beauty, including the bogs of Rannoch Moor and the shores of bucolic Loch Lomond."

The writer also highlighted the fact that the Scottish trail forms part of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT), which also features in the National Geographic list.

The IAT is an attempt to connect treks in the Appalachian Mountains of the US to others in Canada, Greenland, Scotland, France, Spain and Morocco.

Mountains in the countries are the remains of a range that traversed part of the supercontinent of Pangaea some 300 million years ago, before it broke up.

Previously, National Geographic Traveler included a 300-mile (483km) sea kayaking expedition along Scotland's west coast as the only UK entry in its list of 50 Tours of a Lifetime.

Britain's largest national park and the Highlands were also included on a list of places in the world for travellers to visit during 2011.

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