Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Heart of Scotland self-guided walking holiday
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Highlights

  • Choose from a broad range of walks
  • Explore the 700-year-old Blair Castle and surrounding Atholl Estate
  • Walk through one of Scotland’s finest landscapes
  • Sample a "wee dram" at Edradour, Scotland’s smallest distillery
  • Relax and enjoy spotting the bird and animal-life of the region

Explore the heart of Scotland on foot. Discover the history, castles, lochs and rivers of Highland Perthshire on this short break. Highland Perthshire is arguably one of Scotland’s most beautiful parts and there is no better way to discover the rich fertile glens and wild hillsides than by hiking. The valleys are home to verdant farmland, ancient forest, historic castles and tranquil lochs, while the heather covered hills are brimming with wildlife.

Blair Atholl, nestled on the banks of the River Garry, is your base for the first two nights. Spend time exploring the Atholl Estate and 700-year-old Blair Castle, the seat of Clan Murray, and base for the Atholl Highlanders, Britain's only private army. From here walk south via Killiecrankie and impressive Ben Vrackie to the charming town of Pitlochry where you will spend the final two nights of the trip.

Highland Perthshire is a favourite destination of many of our experienced product specialists who have compiled a selection of their favourite walks for you to enjoy at your own pace. Welcoming country hotels, baggage transfer, detailed route notes, maps and emergency support are all included in your holiday, should you need it.

Day 1 - Arrive Blair Atholl

Blair Atholl is the quintessential highland village and offers real highland hospitality to visitors. It is the perfect walking base complete with beautiful scenery and a network of excellent trails.


Blair Atholl is on the main Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness rail, bus and road routes. Journey time is about three hours.


Day 2 - Walking in Atholl Estates, 5-10 miles

The area surrounding Blair Atholl is an amazing part of Scotland and you have an entire day to enjoy the delights of this truly special part of the country.


Start by visiting Blair Castle, its imposing white facade dominates the area. It is home to the Atholl Highlanders, one of Europe’s last private armies and exploring the castle and gardens is enthralling.


The afternoon is best spent exploring one of the many way marked tracks available on Atholl Estates, although you can choose from several walks which we provide including challenging hill walks or gentle river strolls.


Day 3 - Walk Blair Atholl to Pitlochry, 10 miles

Start your journey with a relaxed walk on riverside paths to Killiecrankie, site of the first battle of the Jacobite victory and home of the unbelievable “Soldiers Leap”. From Killiecrankie you have the choice of three equally appealing routes to Moulin, by mountain, moor or river.


Day 4 - Pitlochry walking, 5-10 miles

Choose from a number of outstanding walks in and around Pitlochry and the surrounding area. Mountains, rivers, lochs and local attractions will inspire and delight you. Your biggest problem will be which route to take and what sites to visit.


Choices include Edradour and Blair Atholl Distilleries, the Festival Theatre, the Salmon Ladder and the Black Spout Waterfall.


Alternatively, if you are feeling more energetic you may wish to tackle Ben Vrackie, the highest mountain (and a Munro - Scottish mountain over 3000 ft) in the area which is sure to reward your efforts with fantastic views in all directions.


Day 5 - Onward travel

Again, Glasgow and Edinburgh are easily accessed from this central location and should you need to return to Blair Atholl it is a short journey by local transport.

Accommodation

One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the
accommodation. You will stay in carefully selected 3 or 4 star
B&B’s, guesthouses, country pubs and small hotels. Your room will
always have an ensuite or private bathroom. A delicious breakfast is
always included.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we will always try and
accommodate you subject to availability. A single supplement is payable.


Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not
included. Most of your accommodation will be more than happy to provide
a packed lunch on request. Dinner is available either at your
accommodation or at nearby pubs or restaurants.


Dogs

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers do not accept pets.


Time of Year

The best time of year to visit Scotland is from early-April to mid-October when the weather is best, most attractions are open and the days are long. The weather is very unpredictable all year, so it is imperative to be prepared for wind, rain, cold, warmth and sunshine! Conditions (and forecasts) can vary substantially from one day to the next, so do anticipate a variety of weathers, and embrace them as the Scots do (with a good waterproof and windproof jacket on).


Navigation

The Heart of Scotland trail is generally clearly defined on the ground but there is no waymarking for some of the walks so you will need to be comfortable reading a map and know how to use a compass.


Grade

The way is on well-maintained footpaths, bridleways, across fields and on some minor roads. The distances on days 1 and 3 depend on how much you wish to do so you can make the trip as easy or as difficult as you wish.


Baggage Transfer

Daily door to door baggage transfer is included in the cost of your holiday. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 15kg per person.


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.


Dogs

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers do not accept pets.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack. 


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

Getting to Blair Atholl

Blair Atholl is 80 miles north of Edinburgh on the main transport route through the highlands. By car the journey from Edinburgh takes 1.5 hours and Blair Atholl is well signed from the A9. The village also has excellent public transport connections and is served by Scotraill trains and Citylink Bus services from Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness.


Getting back from Pitlochry

Pitlochry is located close to the A9 motorway. There are several trains per day to Glasgow and Edinburgh with Scotrail and similarly there are several bus services with Citylink.


Should you wish to travel back to Blair Atholl, simply take the train which takes around 10 minutes or the local number 87 bus, which takes around 20 minutes.

Included

  • Hand-picked B&Bs, guesthouses and small hotels with en-suite rooms
  • Door to door baggage transfer
  • A detailed info pack, guide book and map for the group leader
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our offices in the event of a problem

Excluded

  • Travel to the start or from the finish of the walk
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Travel Insurance (required)
  • Personal Equipment

Extras

  • Additional nights
  • Solo traveler supplement
  • Single room supplement

We are often asked the following questions by walkers planning The Heart of Scotland trip and I hope that you will find the following information useful.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.

How fit do I need to be?

This short break is unique in that it offers you a choice of routes on 2 of the 3 walking days, so you can choose to walk depending on how fit you feel you are at the time. However, in order to get full enjoyment out of the trip we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

How far in advance do I need to book?

As far in advance as possible! We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Highland Perthshire is a very busy area. If booking at short notice we will always try and accommodate your plans.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.

When is the best time of year?

The Heart of Scotland is very enjoyable at any time being that it is a lower level walk, although my personal favourite time of year is the spring and autumn.

What is the best way to get to/from the walk?

We recommend you travel by train. Further travel information is available on our Essential Info page. If you are driving we recommend leaving your car in Pitlochry where on street and secure long term parking is available.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use local bus services or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

Great Location, Fantastic Accommodation

5

Organised a custom adventure for us that met our requirements. Identified a great location for us and the accommodation was absolutely fantastic. Would definitely consider using Macs Adventures if we were looking for a hiking holiday in the future.

Dingers

Brisbane, Australia

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We had a great time!

4

We had never done a self-guided walking tour before and this was a great first experience.

Bee

California

true

Great Trip Booked with Little Notice

5

My wife and I decided on a hiking tour of Scottish Highlands with only two or three weeks notice. Macs jumped to work, found us wonderful accommodations at a time when most B&Bs and hotels were fully booked, supplied us with splendid hikes, arranged luggage moving, and made everything easy generally. Highly recommended. The hospitality industry people we interacted with were highly complimentary of Macs too, a good indication of a travel company well managed.

Wesley

USA

true

You won't find this in the Lonely Planet

4

I wanted to get a short break from the hectic everyday life, and did. Loved the nostalgic atmosphere of Atholl Arms and Blair Atholl, and appreciated the slightly more vibrant feel of Pitlochry. Got a ton of fresh air, stayed in neat and friendly hotels, enjoyed the Scottish sun and relaxed. I took the trip alone, and felt safe the whole time. Glad to recommend it. Nice pubs and distilleries, and good local food added to the charm of the region. This was my first time with Macs' but definitely not the last. I got great help from the office while stumbling across the wrong hotel in Pitlochry (my phone refused to open the accommodation documents in rtf). They'd organized everything very well 👌

HannaTee

Lahti, Finland

true

Best of Braveheart!

5

We did the heart of the Highlands, in theory only three days of self-guided walking, but we squeezed an extra day in at the beginning. Scotrail from Edinburgh to Blair Atholl and checked into the charming, if stereotyped Atholl Arms Hotel (great food, ale and location along with helpful if quirky staff), and then traipsed the Glen Tilt walk to warm up. Day two, we hit Cairn Liath in a gale. Just perfect to end that blustery day in front of a blazing fire with local Whiskey. Smooth luggage transfer and a terrific long walk to Pitlochry, the highlight of the Highlands. Two nights at Dunmurray B&B were not enough. Proprieters were amazing people - friends, helpers, guides. Climbing the Ben was spectacular, and dinner at Fern Cottage capped my 60th birthday. Thank you, Mac's Adventure, for setting up the best trip I've had in a decade.

Larry the Lionhearted

Stuttgart

true

Heart of Scotland

4.6 5

100.0

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