Trekking in Scotland I hear you say? But you can’t go trekking in Scotland – that’s something that you do in the Andes or the Himalayas surely?
I beg to differ, in Scotland you can have some fantastic trekking, multi day trips taking in fantastic views, seeing rare and beautiful wildlife and not seeing a single soul (outside of your team) for days.
Unlike the more famous tea house routes in the Himalayas or the classic Peruvian Machu Picchu treks, trekking in Scotland has no queues of people stretching as far as the eye can see, and none of the associated problems such as overcrowded campsites and mismanagement of waste. There is no worry about how you will cope with the altitude, a potentially dangerous and very unpleasant problem. Trekking in Scotland requires no expensive porter tips, no extortionate inoculations against rare and dangerous diseases. It never results in a friend turning around and saying, “I did that last year, did you visit this temple/monastery/tea house?” You are also unlikely to be attacked by bears, wolves or pumas whilst trekking in Scotland.
So, those are a lot of things that Scotland doesn’t have, but what will I get from trekking there?
The Scottish Highlands are as unpopulated as the Amazon Basin, the High Andes and the Tibetan Plateau. The mountains rise up from sea level, or almost, at most points, meaning that many are well over 1000m from top to bottom. Although it may not have the altitude of the greater ranges, the scale of the mountains is no poor relation. You have unrivalled seclusion, whilst not compromising on the unspoilt vistas.
The series of lochs and glens that cut across Scotland allow fantastic trekking amongst stunning mountain scenery without having too much up and down to contend with, ask any one who has cycled the Lands End to John O’Groats! This makes for fantastic multi day treks for beginner backpackers. There are many stunning and rewarding journeys you can choose from.
At Mountain Freedom one of our clients’ favourites is a great three-day trek on the Isle of Skye that crosses right across the Cuillin mountains, starting in Elgol and taking the coastal route to Coruisk, traversing the infamous “Bad Step” (sounds much worse than it is). Our kit is dropped off to join us here in the heart of the Skye Cuillin, having been transported over by boat. On the second day we explore the southern end of the Cuillin Ridge, and on day three the pace picks up crossing out of the Cuillin via one of the high passes.
What if I want a bigger challenge? Can Scotland offer me that?
Yes, trekking in Scotland can be as challenging as you like. The Cape Wrath Trail for instance is longer than the trek to Everest base camp or the Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit. The Letterewe and Fisherfield Trek in Wester Ross generally lasts 4 days and it can be extended to a week or more, summiting A’Mhaighdean, Scotland’s most remote Munro and doing some of the other great peaks and scrambles in the area of this great wilderness area.
What is unique to trekking in Scotland?
The northerly position of Scotland means that in the spring and late summer you have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights, this fantastic display takes your breath away every time. In the summer the evenings are too light for the Aurora to be seen, in fact they’re so light it hardly ever gets properly dark. Would you believe that the photo at the top of this page was taken after 11pm? Trekking in Scotland isn’t on most peoples bucket list – I hope I have proven to you how wrong this is, but it does mean that your trip will be pretty unique and get all your friends talking. We at Mountain Freedom specialise in fully supported trekking, just like you’d experience in Nepal or Patagonia, supplying everything you need, right down to the Haribos! This makes us a perfect choice for first time trekkers and backpackers. Our guides will support you every step of the way…