Ayrshire and Arran
Ayrshire and Arran have long been favoured by discerning walkers. Recent developments in
Ayrshire include path networks around the villages of Straiton and Barr, while you can
also enjoy excellent walking on the Ayrshire coast. Perhaps more famous for its
Championship golf courses, it is worthy of exploration on foot, and as far down as Girvan
has a good train service.
The island of Arran, reached by ferry from
Ardrossan, is often called 'Scotland in Miniature'. The northern half of the island
includes superb hills with fine craggy peaks. Goat Fell is the highest at 874m, but the
many interesting - and sometimes narrow! - ridges all provide great sport, while the
lovely glens below offer both fine approaches to the hills and great viewpoints for those
seeking less of a challenge. The southern part of Arran has lower hills and good forest
walking, while the coast has everything from cliffs to sandy beaches, historic sites and
The Dunfries and Galloway region also provides a great variety of walks. The hills
around Glen Trool contain surprisingly tough terrain, topped out by the highest peak in
the area, The Merrick (843m). Long and satisfying days can be enjoyed here in solitude on
the Rhinn of Kells or the Cairnsmore hills. Many summits here, such as Criffel and Screel
Hill, enjoy particularly good views considering their modest altitude and the relative
ease with which they can be reached.
Galloway's forests provide excellent shorter
walks, as does the long and tortuous coast, which included the most southerly point in
Scotland at the Mull of Galloway and the major historic site of Whithorn, where St Ninian
introduced Christianity to Scotland. You can also find important wildlife sites such as
Caerlaverock, beautiful gardens, and attractive villages served by quiet roads.
The Scottish Borders area extends from the North Sea, which offers attractive
coastal walking, inland to the bulky, rounded hills of Tweeddale, which rise to over 800m.
The area is characterised by attractive river valleys, extensive forests and friendly
There is an excellent local walks network and a
special effort has been make here to attract walkers in recent years. More paths are being
opened each year, especially around the towns and villages. A Scottish Borders Festival of
Walking, running for a week in early September, is well established, and the St Cuthbert's
Way trail, opened in 1996, starts at the magnificent 12th century ruin of Melrose Abbey,
reputed resting place of the heart of Robert the Bruce. The route runs across the
Borderlands, finishing on the Northumberland coast at Lindisfarne.
Southern Scotland has much to offer and provides
the warmest of welcomes to walkers, and with an equitable climate can be enjoyed all year
Ayrshire & Arran Tourist Board: http://www.ayrshire-arran.com
Dumfries & Galloway Tourist Board: http://www.galloway.co.uk
Scottish Borders Tourist Board: http://www.scot-borders.co.uk