Frequently asked questions about walking in Scotland

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  • Autumnal shot between the trees on Lady Mary's Walk in Crieff
    Lady Mary's Walk, Crieff
  • A couple enjoy the splendid view of Loch Duich from the pass of Mam Rattachan
    Loch Duich
  • A man admires the view over Loch Na Keal to Ben More in the Isle of Mull
    Loch Na Keal and Ben More on the Isle of Mull
  • A couple standing on the edge of a cliff on the Seaton Cliffs Nature Trail
    Seaton Cliffs Nature Trail in Angus

Find information on weather, walking routes and where to go walking with these frequently asked questions about walking in Scotland.

I’ve heard it always rains in Scotland. Is this true?

Don't believe the comments that it always rains in Scotland. This quote from the Met Office suggests otherwise.

"There is a general misconception that the whole of Scotland experiences high rainfall. In fact, rainfall in Scotland varies widely, with a distribution closely related to the topography, ranging from over 3,000 mm per year in the western Highlands (comparable with rainfall over the mountains of the English Lake District and Snowdonia in Wales) to under 800 mm per year near the east coast (comparable with the Midlands of England)."

What if it is raining when I go walking?

You can still make the most of your day if it’s raining - why not visit one of our many spectacular waterfalls at a time when they are at their best? The highest waterfall in the UK can be found at Eas Coul Aulin north of Kylesku in the north-west Highlands.

Where in Scotland should I go walking?

Despite its relatively small size Scotland has a huge variety of walking and one area can differ to another. Check out the variety of walking routes on offer in each area.

Does Scotland have any long-distance walks?

Scotland has a number of long distance routes which make superb multi-day trips and many sections of these routes are also great for excellent short walks for a day or less. Check out our long distance walks, Scotland's Great Trails and our National Trail, which links Kirk Yetholm in the Borders with Cape Wrath, the most north-westerly point on the mainland.

What if it's wild and windy?

Although you might consider this a time to stay indoors, why not wrap up well and venture out to see the power of nature? From a safe distance, witness huge waves crashing against the sea cliffs on a walk around part of Scotland's beautiful coastline.

Which season is the best for walking in Scotland?

Spring is a great season to explore the woodlands of Scotland when bluebells carpet the forest floor and daffodils brighten the roadside verges. Spring also sees the return of many bird species from their wintering colonies, such as puffins, gannets and ospreys.

Summer is one of the best times to go walking as Scotland's northerly position gives it long summer days allowing you to really make the most of your day. In June you will often find the sun doesn't set until long after 10pm, meaning you can easily undertake evening walks. This is when the light is at its best and, of course, there are also those famous west coast sunsets to look out for!

In autumn the countryside takes on a very different look - warm colours emblazon the countryside in a blanket of golds, ochres, reds, and bronze. Low-lying mists and the smell of fungi add to the autumnal atmosphere, while wild geese flying overhead herald the first frosts. Why not time your visit to see what some believe, is Scotland at its best?

Nothing beats the view of a clear sunny winter’s day in Scotland when snow crowns the mountain tops and you may even be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights on a long winter’s night. Late winter sees the arrival of the first snowdrops, these pretty flowers are a reminder that spring is on its way.

Are all of the walks in Scotland mountain routes or tough hill climbs?

Although Scotland is known for its mountain walks, there are many easier but equally rewarding routes. On the coast, why not try some dramatic sea cliff walks in areas such as Shetland or the Mull of Galloway in Dumfries & Galloway, or the beautiful beaches and dunes of Harris, Aberdeenshire, Angus or Ayrshire? Inland, the ancient Caledonian pine forests of Glen Affric, Speyside and Deeside or the open deciduous woodlands of Perthshire, the Trossachs and the Borders, offer a huge range of woodland walks.

Are all Scotland’s paths in the countryside or are there paths in towns and cities?

Many new local path networks have been created or extended in Scotland in recent years. The paths take you to local places of interest and the best viewpoints, and are usually close to a range of facilities.

Details of local networks including guides and maps are normally available from VisitScotland Information Centres or online.

What is a Munro?

In Scotland, mountains over 3,000 ft high are referred to as Munros after Sir Hugh Munro, first president of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, who was the first to publish a list of these peaks in 1891. There are 284 Munros on the list and over 2,500 people have climbed them all. Ironically Munro himself is not one of them, having only two to climb at the time of his death.

What is a Corbett?

In the 1920s J Rooke Corbett published a list of hills between 2,500 and 3,000 ft. Unlike Munros, where there was no set criteria for the amount of distance or re-ascent between peaks, a Corbett must have at least 500 ft of reascent on all sides. There are currently 220 Corbetts and these too have become a tick list for hill baggers.