Scottish National Trail (incl. GPX!)
With Heritage Paths!
Distance: 864 km Grade: 4 (Hard)
A 39-stage 864 km (!!) hard walk from down south to way up north. This trail definitely includes pathless sections calling for more careful navigation and there will most certainly be scree and even some very serious scrambling. Only for the experienced!
The Scottish National Trail is a walking route from Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders, to Cape Wrath, but there is absolutely no need to do it all in one go. This trail is very much a Cameron McNeish project and follows long-established footpaths for much of the distance. It does become more difficult as it heads north though, so be prepared! The trail finishes with a tough stretch of backpacking - with some pathless and demanding terrain - on the final stretch.
From Kirk Yetholm it follows part of St Cuthbert's Way to Melrose with its picturesque Abbey, and than traces the course of the Southern Upland Way to Traquair. The route runs by the River Tweed up to Peebles before climbing over the Meldon Hills and the Pentlands to reach Edinburgh. Alongside the Union Canal to Linlithgow and on to the amazing Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies. The John Muir Way than carries the route to Kirkintilloch and turns north. The SNT continuous on to Milngavie to join the West Highland Way..
At Drymen the trail switches to follow the Rob Roy Way to Callander, than passes through Comrie to Aberfeldy, where the trail rejoins the Rob Roy Way to Pitlochry.
From Blair Atholl the trail requires some serious backpacking, passing through glorious Glen Tilt and Glen Feshie through the Cairngorms National Park. The Corrieyairack Pass then leads over the Monadhliath to Fort Augustus and the Great Glen. The Great Glen Way is followed briefly before the route leads through Glen Garry and on to the great mountains of Kintail.
The wilds of Monar
By this point the route has joined the Cape Wrath Trail at Mandally and the glories of the dramatic West Highlands reveal themselves - the Falls of Glomach, the wilds of Monar and the Great Wilderness of Letterewe. The route crosses wild country to Oykel Bridge and then to Inchnadamph (Sutherland Trail) and into Sutherland. A final wild stretch leads through this lonely land, passing the iconic beach of Sandwood Bay en route to Cape Wrath - and journey's end.
Stages (on the map):
- Kirk Yetholm - Harestanes 28 km (Slightly harder). The SNT switches to St Cuthbert's Way towards Melrose.
- Harestanes - Melrose 24 km (Slightly harder)
- Melrose - Traquair 29 km (Slightly harder). The SNT switches to Southern Upland Way towards Traquair.
- Traquair - Peebles 12 km (1-Easy)
- Peebles - West Linton 21 km (Slightly harder)
- West Linton - Balerno 19,25 km (Slightly harder)
- Balerno - Slateford 8,5 km (Easy)
- Slateford - Ratho 9,5 km (Easy)
- Ratho - Linlithgow 21 km (Easy)
- Linlithgow - Falkirk 14,5 km (Easy). The SNT switches to John Muir Way towards Kirkintilloch.
- Falkirk - Kilsyth 18 km (Easy)
- Kilsyth - Milngavie 21,25 km (Easy). The SNT follows the John Muir Way towards Kirkintilloch. Here the John Muir Way turns north. The SNT continuous towards Milngavie.
- Milngavie - Drymen 19 km (Easy). The SNT switches to the West Highland Way towards Drymen.
- Drymen - Aberfoyle 17,5 km (Easy). The SNT switches to the Rob Roy Way towards Callander,
- Aberfoyle - Callander 15,25 km (Slightly harder)
- Callander - Comrie 26,5 km (Moderate)
- Comrie - Loch Freuchie 30 km (Moderate)
- Loch Freuchie - Aberfeldy 20 km (Slightly harder). The SNT rejoins the Rob Roy Way just south of Aberfeldy.
- Aberfeldy - Pitlochry 15 km (Slightly harder)
- Pitlochry - Blair Atholl 13,75 km (Slightly harder). At Pitlochry the Rob Roy Way ends. The SNT carries on towards Blair Atholl.
- Blair Atholl - Bynack 27 km (Moderate)
- Bynack - Glen Feshie 21,25 km (Moderate)
- Glen Feshie - Kingussie 23,5 km (Slightly harder)
- Kingussie - Laggan 23,25 km (Moderate)
- Laggan - Fort Augustus 39,5 km (Moderate)
- Fort Augustus - Mandally 18,75 km (Slightly harder). The SNT follows the Great Glen Way southwards towards Invergarry and Mandally where the last switch is made to the Cape Wrath Trail.
- Mandally - Poulary 19,5 km (Moderate)
- Poulary - Cluanie 17,5 km (Moderate)
- Cluanie - Morvich 26 km (Moderate)
- Morvich - Maol Bhuidhe 22,5 km (Hard)
- Maol Bhuidhe - Craig 24,25 km (Hard)
- Craig - Kinlochewe 16,5 km (Hard)
- Kinlochewe - Shenavall 28,25 km (Hard)
- Shenavall - Inverlael 18,75 km (Moderate)
- Inverlael - Oykel Bridge 34,5 km (Moderate)
- Oykel Bridge - Inchnadamph 31,5 km (Hard)
- Inchnadamph - Kylestrome 27,5 km (Hard)
- Kylestrome - Rhiconich 29 km (Hard)
- Rhiconich - Sandwood Bay 19 km (Slightly harder)
- Sandwood Bay - Cape Wrath 12,5 km (Moderate)
Heritage Paths (on the map):
3-Another very interesting option is a more or less direct link with the John o’Groats Trail which runs from Inverness north along the coast. A few km short/south of Oykel Bridge (Stage 36) you cross the Duag Bridge and see the Schoolhouse Bothy on your left hand side. A little ways further there is a distinct fork in the road at NH345973 (GPS: 57.934569,-4.795528). Stick to the right. You’re now perfectly aligned for the Ullapool to Strathcarron Track which you follow all the way to Croick (16 km). From NH465889 (GPS: 57.863450,-4.588854) you take the Glen Calvie Lodge to Braeantra Track (16 km) and the Dalnavie Drove Road (10 km) from NH567781 (GPS: 57.770066,-4.409964) to Dalnavie.