I take no credit for the planning and execution of this walk across Scotland. Since my father was from Bristol, England, before emigrating to Canada, and my wife's maternal relatives were from Scotland, this walk appealed to us. After a few hiking trips to the U.K., the Scotland walk is still one of our favourites.
The actual route the group followed was designed and pre-hiked by Dave Southall (picture to right). Dave has been mountaineering in Great Britain and Ireland for several years and is a combined Blue Badge Guide and qualified Mountain Leader (Northern Ireland Mountain Leader Training Board) in the country. A former bank manager, he was awarded a first class honours degree in Environmental Science (2006), Master of Research degree by the University of Ulster and, recently earned his Ph.D. in post glacial landscape evolution. He also holds a Certificate in Archaeology from the Institute of Lifelong Learning at Queens University, Belfast.
A group of 13 went from Canada and Dave provided the group with Ordinance Survey maps. Three of us on this trip were (are) certified hike leaders in Canada and the group did manage to make it all the way across Scotland without getting lost. Dave also hired a van and provided daily transportation, set up accommodations before our arrival and provided us with lunches on hike days.
Prior to 2006 Santa Claus was kind enough to give me a Garmin 60 CSx recreational, handheld GPS receiver. I had been using it in Canada to record all our walks. I purchased all the electronic Topo Canada and Topo USA maps that Garmin sells. However, I could not justify the cost of buying the electronic equivalent of the British Ordinance Survey maps. I simply turned on the GPS receiver and recorded our walks across Scotland. However, thanks to services like Google Earth and Google Maps, I can see where we walked and so can you.
For those who may be into the GPS/GIS technology I am providing GPS track data below for all ten hikes. Enjoy.
Whole GPS Track of the Walk Across Scotland
Immediately below there is an embedded Gogle Map of the walk across Scotland. If you are familiar with Google Maps, you can zoom in and out and switch to Satellite view. In some cases Google Street View may work. The end of each hike is marked. A dated summary of the walks appears below & includes a separate GPS download for that one hike. At the bottom of the web page, are files that have all ten hikes included if that is what you prefer.
Scotland: Coast to Coast 2006 - A Post Trip Summary
DAY 00 > 2006 July 28 Friday
– Advance Party Arrival in Glasgow
Four of us arrived in Glasgow early Friday morning after an over-night flight from Toronto. We taxied to our overnight accommodation in Glasgow and checked in. We went for a walk in Glasgow and lunched at the world famous Willow Tea Rooms (217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow), designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904. After lunch we took the train from Charing Cross out to Helensburgh and visited The Hill House on Upper Colquhoun Street. Those with a passion for design and architecture love The Hill House, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s finest domestic creation, sitting high above the River Clyde commanding fine views across the river estuary and was commissioned in 1902 by the Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie. Later, back in Glasgow, we had a delicious Indian dinner near the hotel. Overnight: Premier Travel Inn, 10 Elmbank Gardens (Charing Cross), Glasgow.
DAY 01 > 2006 July 29 Saturday
– Main Party Arrival
Nine others arrived this morning after an over-night flight from Toronto. Dave met them at Glasgow airport and transported them and luggage to the accommodation in Luss. Meanwhile, after breakfast at the Premier Hotel, the four of us met our personal taxi man who drove us to Luss on Loch Lomond where we met Dave and the rest of the group (Google Street views: across from hotel | street leading to Loch & typical Luss house | at end of street at Loch | ). Once settled into our accommodations we walked around Luss ... spectacular. Before dinner we had a group meeting to review the routine for the next day, our first hike day of ten. Dinner was provided at the The Loch Lomond Arms Hotel (formerly the Colquhoun Arms Hotel) and some of us enjoyed a delicious lamb dinner. Overnight: The Loch Lomond Arms Hotel, Luss, Loch Lomond. Google Street view of hotel | Street view of walk to Loch Lomond.
DAY 02 > 2006 July 30 Sunday
– Tarbet/Arrochar to Inveruglas [Hike 1 of 10]
The coast to coast walk started from a parking lot (56.203547,-4.709628) in Tarbet on Loch Lomond with a short forest walk (3.7 km) to Arrochar at the head of Loch Long, an inlet of the Firth of Clyde (Google Street view). We paused to dip our toes into the ocean (56.203529,-4.748375), took a group picture and ate lunch. Then we followed a low level 8 km path up Glen Loin through the Arrochar Alps to Inveruglas on the ‘bonnie banks of Loch Lomond’. Hike Distance: 3.71 + 8.19 = 11.9 km. Overnight: The Loch Lomond Arms Hotel (formerly the Colquhoun Arms Hotel), Luss, Loch Lomond.
Hike 1 was along part of the Glen Loin and Coiregrograin, Arrochar Circuit. I recommend having a look at the free GPS map offerings provided by walkhighlands.co.uk. The following YouTube video shows the loop and the first segment of the video is the route we followed. The scenery is wonderful.
DAY 03 > 2006 July 31 Monday
– Inveruglas to Inversnaid, Loch Katrine, Loch Achray (Brig o’ Turk) [Hike 2 of 10]
After breakfast Dave drove us to Inveruglas where we caught an early ferry across Loch Lomond, below the north west slopes of Ben Lomond, to Inversnaid. We followed the northern shore of Loch Arklett before embarking on the Steamship Sir Walter Scott for a scenic trip down Loch Katrine through countryside immortalized by the writer in his Waverley novels. This area is the heart of Rob Roy MacGregor country (Wikipedia) , most famous of Scotts’ characters, who, unlike Robin Hood, actually existed. From the eastern end of the Loch a further walk by the shores of Loch Achray brought us to the end of the days hike.
Hike Distance: 7.76 + 5.75 = 13.37 km <> Ferry Distance: 2.1 km + 10.2 km = 12.3 km <> Total distance travelled = 25.67 km
Overnight: Abbotsford Lodge, Stirling Rd, Callander, Perthshire (Google Maps | Google Maps Street view). Note that at the time I produced this web site the Abbotsford Lodge domain name, www.abbotsfordlodge.co.uk did not seem to be working.
DAY 04 > 2006 August 01 Tuesday
– Loch Achray to Callander [Hike 3 of 10]
We walked about 11.8 km along the south shore of Loch Venachar through the wooded slopes of the Menteith Hills with views of Ben Ledi and Ben Vane ending near the highland town of Callander (Google Maps | Wikipedia), capital of the Trossachs Hills. After the walk we opted to visit the Callander Tourist Information Centre (formerly the Rob Roy Visitor Centre). Overnight: Abbotsford Lodge, Callander.
DAY 05 > 2006 August 02 Wednesday
– First Day of Rest
We visited the town of Killin (Google Maps | Wikipedia) situated near the head of Loch Tay over which rises Perthshire's highest mountain, Ben Lawers. Here we shopped and attended the Killin Highland Games. Overnight: Abbotsford Lodge, Callander.
DAY 06 > 2006 August 03 Thursday
– Callander to Strathyre (Rob Roy Way) [Hike 4 of 10]
Hike 4 started along the banks of the River Leny (Gaelic name: Garbh Uisge, meaning "Rough Water") near Callander and then followed a cycle track along the west shore of Loch Lubnaig (Google Maps) through one of the regions most dramatic V-shaped glens, Strathyre, and finished at the village of the same name. We met Dave in the parking lot of The Village Shop (Google Street view) in Strathyre. Distance: 13.1 km. Overnight: Abbotsford Lodge, Callander. NOTE: Hike 4 is one segment of the Rob Roy Way. An excellent online resource for the Rob Roy Way is www.walkhighlands.co.uk that includes GPS data and maps. Have a look at the free offerings at Callander to Strathyre. To see one of those free offerings click here ... the route is the light blue line on the topo-map.
DAY 07 > 2006 August 04 Friday
– Strathyre to Forest of Acharn [Hike 5 of 10]
The coast-to-coast walk continued from the village of Strathyre through Lochearnhead (Google Maps) at the west end of Loch Earn (Google Maps), famous for its water sports. We continued along a track bed of a dismantled railway to the head of Glen Ogle (Google Maps | Street view), above Killin, at the entrance to Acharn Forest (Google Maps). Distance: 17.2 km. Overnight: Killin Hotel, Killin. NOTE: Hike 5 is also a segment of the Rob Roy Way. An excellent online resource for the Rob Roy Way is www.walkhighlands.co.uk that includes GPS data and maps. Have a look at the free offerings at Strathyre to Killin. To see one of those free offerings click here ... the route is the light blue line on the topo-map.
DAY 08 > 2006 August 05 Saturday
– Entrance to Forest of Acharn to north east of Ardtalnaig [Hike 6 of 10]
The route continued through pine-forested Acharn to the hills above Loch Tay, the waters of which feed the distilleries of many famous brands of Scotch whiskey. The views of the high mountains to the north included Meall nan Tarmachan (Wikipedia) and Ben Lawers (Wikipedia). We hiked 8.92 km to lunch, after lunch we hiked 9.00 km (see pipeline waypoint in GPS data) to Ardeonaig (Google Street view) where a few folks took the van. The rest of us hiked up the road for another 2.38 km toward but not quite to Ardtalnaig (Google Street view 01 | Google Street view 02). Distance: 8.92 + 9.00 + 2.38 = 20.3 km. Overnight: Killin Hotel, Killin. NOTE: Hike 6 is a third segment of the Rob Roy Way. An excellent online resource for the Rob Roy Way is www.walkhighlands.co.uk that includes GPS data and maps. Have a look at the free offerings at Killin to Ardtalnaig. To see one of those free offerings click here ... the route is the light blue line on the topo-map.
DAY 09 > 2006 August 06 Sunday
– Ardtalnaig to Auchnafree. [Hike 7 of 10]
Unlike the Rob Roy Way that continmues north east to Aberfeldy, on Hike 7 we headed south east from the shores of Loch Tay through Glen Almond (near the River Almond), the remotest part of our whole route. We past ancient homesteads and isolated sheep farm at Auchnafree (56.47546,-3.90798). Here the shepherds constructed possibly the remotest golf course on earth. The group agreed that this segment of the series was the most awesome. See example of topo map available online. Distance: 19.7 km. Overnight: Amulree Country Hotel. Note: I believe the Amulree Country Hotel is up for sale now and may not be operational at this time. The website address http://www.amulreecountryhotel.co.uk/ does not seem to be working (2014JAN02 Thursday). > Google Street view of Amulree Country Hotel.
DAY 10 > Monday, August 7, 2006
– Auchnafree to Amulree. [Hike 8 of 10]
This was a short hike with a climb from Augnafree, through the mountain pass of Glen Lochan and past Lochan a'Mhuilinn to the tiny hamlet of Amulree. [Link to photograph sample of Lochan a'Mhuilinn - Glen Lochan by Kathryn Whyte.] In this segment we witnessed the stone remnants of shepherd families’ summer dwellings called “shielings”. Shielings online resources: 1) Wikipedia, 2) The Shielings in Scotland. Distance: 11.3 km. Overnight: Amulree Country Hotel. >> Below is a photograph of Dave who met us at the end of hike 8 near the Amulree Country Hotel ... we were at a loss for words!
DAY 11 > Tuesday, August 8, 2006
– Second Day of Rest
Dave drove us north (Google route) to Pitlochry for an afternoon of shopping and other activities. During our walk in Pitlochry we saw the Blair Athol Distillery. Some folks did the Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder Circular Walk that takes about an hour. Nine opted to attend the evening performance at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Overnight: Amulree Country Hotel.
DAY 12 > Wednesday, August 9, 2006
– Amulree to 3.5 km south east of Glenalmond College [Hike 9 of 10]
We started off with a short, gentle ascent that took us over the saddle between Meall nan Caorach (56.485453,-3.740266) and Meall Reamhar (56.478617,-3.751907) down to the small village of Harrietfield and Glenalmond College (formerly Trinity College, Glenalmond), one of Scotland's premier high schools. From the saddle and off to the south east there were superb views of the Perthshire lowlands and the city of Perth. The walk ended at coordinates 56.426170,-3.627160 where Dave picked us up. See the final 3.5 km of Hike 9 in Google Maps. Distance: 17.6 km. Overnight: Amulree Country Hotel.
DAY 13 > Thursday, August 10, 2006
– Methven to Perth [Hike 10 of 10]
On our final walk we descended through sheep pastures and arable land to Perth, capital of Scotland. It was the seat of the Scottish Kings before England and Scotland were united by the succession of James VI of Scotland who became James I of England after the death of Elizabeth I. Heading south of Methven we veered eastward and entered Perth by crossing A9 and walking along Old Gallows Road > Burghmuir Rd > Jeanfield Rd > Long Causeway Rd > High Street > Tay Street. Having parked the van at the River Tay, Dave walked up and joined us for this special moment. At Tay Street we lingered at the stone railing viewing the old city and the River Tay. Then we headed north along Tay Street and past Smeaton’s Bridge (or Perth Bridge 1771) at W Bridge St and entered the North Inch Park (see note below re. why it is called Inch). We descended the bank to the river’s edge and into the water. Dave broke out a few bottles of champagne and for several moments toasting took place along with pictures. It certainly was an emotional moment and we were so thankful for the planning done by Dave. Distance: 17.6 km. Overnight: Arden, Achnacarry and Iona Guesthouses in Perth.
In the Scots language, the word “inch” is used very much as in English, as a unit of measurement, but in Scotland, when you see “Inch” on a map, it means an island, as handed down from the Gaelic word innes. The two public meadows or parks of Perth are called Inches (i.e., islands), from the fact that they used at one time to be insulated by the Tay.
DAY 14 > Friday, August 11, 2006
– Perth to Edinburgh
After breakfast, we visited Scone Palace, crowning place of the Kings of Scotland. In the afternoon we travelled to Edinburgh where we checked into our accommodations, had another Indian dinner (yum) and attended the world famous spectacle of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo below the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle. Our very good seats at the Tattoo were purchased a few months ahead of time by staff at the travel agency in Canada. Overnight: Arden House, Edinburgh.
DAY 15 > Saturday, August 12, 2006
– Edinburgh to Glasgow
Following breakfast, we departed for and toured the Royal Yacht Britannia berthed at Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh, Midlothian. After, Dave drove us to Glasgow to overnight at the Premier Travel Inn, 601 Hamilton Road, Glasgow East.
DAY 16 > Sunday, August 13, 2006
– Glasgow to Toronto
Normally we would have had breakfast but, due to a combination of the 8:00 a.m. serving time at the hotel and the requirement of being at the airport three hours ahead of the flight time (a high security alert), Dave drove us from the hotel to Glasgow airport in record time. We said our good byes to Dave and headed into the terminal and our return to Toronto. Due to the high security alert from three days before, we arrived three hours ahead of flight time. Security was very tight and no carry-ons and no liquids were allowed. However, passage through security was rather smooth if one followed the requirements.