Mountain peaks, standing stones, wilderness, waterfalls, rivers, beaches, cliffs, forests, mud and pubs; the Scottish outdoors is perfect for anyone who just wants to grab a pair of walking boots and get stuck in.

Whether it's a short walk to stretch the legs after dinner, or a long distance trek right across the country, Scotland's diverse scenery is just waiting to be walked through. It's the best way to get up close to the country's fascinating national heritage, landscapes and wildlife, whilst getting some good old fashioned exercise and fresh air at your own pace and in your own time.

Who can do it?

Walking boots

Everyone! Walking is a great activity for families to enjoy together as it is for large or small groups and individuals (solo walkers should always let another know of their route and estimated finishing time). The country is full of well maintained pathways and walking routes of every length, over every kind of terrain, and for every level of fitness. There are also a number of groups across Scotland that actively encourage access to the countryside for those with disabilities.

Where can I do it?

From Galloway to Shetland routes abound! Local tourist offices will have details of popular walks as will websites such as Visit Scotland's Walk in Scotland or Walk Scotland. If you're new to the activity remember to match the route to your own abilities; don't set off on a 10 mile hike when the most walking you normally do is from the front door to the car every morning. To discover some of the best nearby routes and access local knowledge why not join one of the numerous walking or rambling groups in your corner of the country?

More experienced walkers will head for the Munros, the highest mountains in Scotland, all of which measure over 3000 feet. The latest survey counts 284 Munros and 227 'tops'; peaks above 3000 feet that are part of a range or ridge. "Munro-bagging" has become popular among hill walkers and climbers who attempt to scale them all, ticking them off as they go.

When can I do it?


The summer months will naturally see most people out in the countryside but the beauty of this pastime is that it can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Walkers should always be well-prepared for the journey as, no matter what time of year, the weather can turn from clear blue skies to disorienting low lying cloud in no time at all.

What equipment do I need?

At the very least you will need suitable boots, a map, compass, mobile phone, torch, whistle and first aid kit. Many walkers also carry GPS. Suitable clothing is very important; you will need waterproofs, a hat and gloves. Wearing layers of clothes is essential for warmth and far more suitable than trying to keep cosy in one big jumper. Take plenty of energy-boosting food as well as water and, in winter, a warm drink.

How much does it cost?

Map and compass

While walking itself does not cost anything there are numerous courses available to equip you for a day in the hills, such as map reading skills, compass skills, GPS navigation and winter skills. Prices vary; a two day basic map reading skills course can cost £75, while a one day basic winter skills course can cost from £70. You may find that for added confidence in the hills it is a small price to pay.

Page first published on Tuesday 19th June 2007
Page last updated on Thursday 16th October 2008

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