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Cateran Trail, Perthshire and Angus

Off the Beaten Track: Hiking Scotland’s Lesser-Known Trails (2024)

Scotland’s landscapes, characterized by rugged mountains, serene lochs, and sprawling moorlands, beckon adventurers and nature lovers alike. While well-known trails like the West Highland Way attract global attention, Scotland’s lesser-known trails offer equally stunning views and a more intimate connection with nature.

Off the Beaten Track: A Comprehensive Guide to Hiking Scotland’s Lesser-Known Trails

This guide takes you off the beaten track, exploring the hidden hiking gems of Scotland.

1.Affric Kintail Way, Highlands

A spectacular trail in the Highlands, the Affric Kintail Way spans 44 miles, offering incredible mountainous vistas, loch views, and wildlife spotting opportunities.

Distance: 44 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Highlights: Glen Affric’s ancient pinewoods, views of famous mountains, wildlife encounters

Best Time to Visit: Late spring to early autumn

2.Berwickshire Coastal Path, Scottish Borders

This coastal path winds its way along the stunning cliffs of the southeastern coast of Scotland. The 28-mile trail showcases dramatic coastal landscapes, seaside towns, and seabird colonies.

Distance: 28 miles

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Highlights: Clifftop views, seabird spotting, historical landmarks

Best Time to Visit: Spring to autumn

3.Cape Wrath Trail, Northwest Highlands

One of the most challenging and remote long-distance trails, the Cape Wrath Trail offers solitude and an unspoiled wilderness experience. It’s a journey for experienced hikers seeking adventure.

Distance: 200 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Highlights: Remote landscapes, Munro summits, wild camping opportunities

Best Time to Visit: Late spring to early autumn, weather permitting

4.The Annandale Way, Dumfries and Galloway

This 53-mile route explores the stunning landscapes of Southern Scotland, following the River Annan from its source to the sea. It’s perfect for those looking for picturesque countryside views.

Distance: 53 miles

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Highlights: River views, historical sites, vibrant countryside

Best Time to Visit: Year-round

5.Jura Fell Race Route, Inner Hebrides

Though known primarily as a race route, this trail on the Isle of Jura offers a challenging hike with extraordinary views of the Paps of Jura and a chance to experience island life.

Distance: 16 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Highlights: Paps of Jura, remote island experience, local wildlife

Best Time to Visit: Spring to autumn

6.Cateran Trail, Perthshire and Angus

A circular route steeped in history, the Cateran Trail takes you through farmland, forests, and glens, following paths once used by cattle rustlers.

Distance: 64 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Highlights: Historical sites, diverse landscapes, local culture

Best Time to Visit: Spring to early autumn


Scotland’s lesser-known trails offer a more secluded and personal hiking experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the region. Whether you seek the solitude of remote highlands or the charm of coastal paths, these hidden trails provide opportunities for every hiker, from the leisurely wanderer to the adventurous explorer.

Grab your hiking boots and set off on a journey that promises serenity, challenge, and connection with Scotland’s breathtaking landscape, all away from the typical tourist routes.


  • Scottish Natural Heritage. (2021). “Walking and Hiking in Scotland.”
  • Ordnance Survey. (2021). “Explore Great British Walking Trails.”
  • Cameron, S. (2017). “The Ultimate Guide to Scotland’s Trails.” Hiking Scotland Publications.
  • (2021). “Scotland’s Long Distance Walking Routes.” Website.

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