- Crossing Scotland with 9 days of walking through ever-changing landscapes.
- Enjoying a fireside dram at the end of an unforgettable day.
- Spotting Ben Nevis, which marks the end of your Coast to Coast.
- Traversing the incomparable Rannoch Moor.
- Tucking into a perfectly prepared meal at a remote Highland hotel.
Traverse Scotland from Coast to Coast on foot. Take on a classic journey from Perth to Fort William across the moors, mountains and rivers of the central Scottish Highlands. The Scottish Coast to Coast walk visits charming highland towns, remote hotels, quiet glens and wide open moors. All touched by history, people and stories.
The Scottish Coast to Coast Walk starts in the elegant city of Perth and follows the River Tay to Dunkeld and Aberfeldy. The route meanders to Kenmore before heading into the empty, and majestic, countryside of Fortingall, Kinloch Rannoch, Rannoch Station and Kingshouse. At Kingshouse you join the West Highland Way to Kinlochleven and then Fort William, the end of your Scottish Coast to Coast Walk. Whilst the incomparable scenery of the Scottish Highlands is the number one draw there are numerous other points of interest to explore on your journey across Scotland; prehistoric settlements, medieval churches, beautiful cathedrals, restored Crannogs, ancient clan battlefields and more.
But the walking is only half the story. On your coast to coast journey you will also discover delicious locally sourced salmon, smokey whiskies, charming highland hotels and the warmest of welcomes.
Download an elevation profile chart for this walk.
Day 1: Arrive Perth
Perth is an elegant town of almost 50000 sited on the banks of the River Tay at the head of the Forth of Tay and the jumping off point for your coast to coast walk. Perth is easily accessible by road, rail and car from Glasgow and Edinburgh (1h20) or further afield.
Settle into your accommodation, take a stroll or visit St John’s Kirk.
Day 2: Perth to Bankfoot
After collecting a pebble from the banks of the River Tay you head north along the banks of the Tay to Luncarty and Stanley. The Tay is the longest river in Scotland and you will get to know it well over the next few days.
Walk: 13 miles, ascent approx. 200m
Day 3: Bankfoot to Dunkeld
Following a very quiet county road you quickly leave Bankfoot behind and climb gently alongside Garry Burn to Glen Garr. You may be tempted to climb the Obney Hills to visit either the obelix or prehistoric fort, which mark their summits. Continue to Dunkeld via the Rumbling Bridge and Hermitage. The Hermitage has long been a stopping point on the grand Scottish Tour. The mature forests, streams and waterfalls make for a delightful end to a pleasant day.
Dunkeld and Birnam straddle the River Tay and much of the townscape has been restored by Historic Scotland, making it one of Scotland’s prettiest towns. Dunkeld Cathedral is a particular highlight.
Walk: 9.5 miles, ascent/descent approx. 300m
Day 4: Dunkeld to Aberfeldy
Today your Coast to Coast moves up a notch with a tough day over the moors and through forests to Aberfeldy. You start by following the old military road to Ballinloan and then climb over Grandtully Hill to Aberfeldy. The excellent cakes at the Watermill cafe in Aberfeldy should only be skipped in emergency!
Walk: 19 miles, ascent 650m, descent 600m
Day 5: Aberfeldy to Fortingall
The Birks of Aberfeldy are the first of many highlights on an action packed day to Fortingall. Following footpaths and farm roads you soon reach Kenmore at the head of Loch Tay. History buffs shouldn’t miss the Scottish Crannog centre or alternatoivey the Kenmore Hotel, one of many claimants to the title of Scotland’s oldest inn. Leaving Kenmore the route climbs over Drummond Hill, rewarding with expansive views of Loch Tay.
The hamlet of Fortingall is famous for having the oldest tree in Scotland and is reputedly the birth place of Pontius Pilate - the son of a Roman Legionary and a local girl.
Walk: 13 miles, ascent/descent approx. 750m
Overnight: Coshieville House B&B
Day 6: Fortingall to Kinloch Rannoch
Get ready for a wonderful day of classic Scottish hillwalking through an empty corner of the highlands. You follow a rough track to Glenmore Bothy, with the iconic shape of Schiehallion looming ahead. A ruined highland village lies at its feet. Once you climb over the shoulder of Schiehallion it is all downhill to the Kinloch Rannoch. The path is indistinct and very rough/boggy in sections, but the scenery more than makes up for it.
Walk: 11 miles, ascent 700m, descent 750m
Overnight: Kinnloch Rannoch
Day 7: Kinloch Rannoch to Rannoch Station
The empty highland landscape and dark waters of Loch Rannoch are your only companions as you walk to the remote Rannoch Station. You follow the small almost completely traffic free road on the southern shore of Loch Rannoch for most of the day, although some small off road diversions are possible.
Walk: 17 miles, ascent 200m, descent 150m
Overnight: Moor of Rannoch Hotel
Day 8: Across Rannoch Moor
The emptiness of Rannoch Moor is beguiling. A big sky landscape of marsh, rivers, lochs and bogs populated only by deer. Your walk follows an ancient right of way which cunningly finds a route through this empty, but beautiful, landscape. Kingshouse Hotel, sitting picture perfect in front of Buachaille Etive Mor marks the end of your day’s walk. Summer 2017: Kingshouse Hotel is closing for refurbishment from October 2016 for approx. 18 months, and a transfer from Kingshouse to nearby accommodation (returning to Kingshouse the next day) will be provided.
Walk: 12 miles, ascent 200m, descent 300m
Overnight: Kingshouse Hotel
Day 9: The Devil’s Staircase to Kinlochleven
Joining the West Highland Way you are soon climbing the Devil’s Staircase at the head of Glencoe. A short sharp climb rewards with 360 degree views of the peaks of the western highlands. Kinlochleven sits winking at you from the valley far below and you will be enjoying a drink before you know it.
Walk: 9 miles, ascent 400m, descent 600m
Day 10: Kinlochleven to Fort William
All that remains is a final push to the west coast at Fort William. Reflect on a coast to coast journey of contrasts as you walk through the remote Lairigmor pass towards Ben Nevis. Scotland’s highest mountain, which marks the end of your coast to coast epic. Well done!
Walk: 15 miles, ascent/descent 650m
Overnight: Fort William
Day 11: Onward Travel
Continue your adventure in the Highlands or return to Glasgow by train (4hrs) or bus (3hrs).
We specifically choose each nights’ hotel, inn, guesthouse and B&B to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. They range from remote highland inns with a history dating back hundreds of years to charming family run B&B’s. We aim to use three star accommodation as a minimum but some remote inns are either not graded or only two star. Each night offers something different.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
Due the remote nature of this trip, it is not available for solo walkers. However, if you require single rooms these are available, although a single supplement is payable. Single rooms in remote inns or small B&B’s may not have en-suite bathrooms.
A delicious breakfast is included each morning. Most accommodation offers a full Scottish Breakfast as well as a continental option. You won’t start the day hungry!
Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants.
The Scottish Coast to Coast Walk is available from the end of March to October. You can start your walk on any day of the week, with the exception of Sundays, during the season.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
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.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers do not accept pets.
This route is not way marked |(with the exception of the last two stages, which are on the West Highland Way), and a few sections follow very indistinct trails. You should be a competent navigator with map and compass. The route comprises of hill and mountain tracks, riverside trails, minor roads and highland paths, some of which can be indistinct and boggy. We can provide GPX tracks as a guideline for this walk. Download an elevation profile chart for this walk.
You may wish to extend your time on the Scottish Coast to Coast and we can add extra nights at any point before, during or after the walk. Kinloch Rannoch and Fort William are popular options. Taking a rest day in Aberfeldy allows you visit Castle Menzies, enjoy a Land Rover Safari or even white water rafting on the Tay.
This trip is not available to solo walkers for safety reasons.
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.
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 Perth
Perth is a major transport hub and easily accessible from Glasgow and Edinburgh by road, rail or coach. The train from Glasgow takes 1h20 and 1h15 from Edinburgh.
Getting from Fort William
Regular trains (3 per day) and buses (4+ per day) run from Fort William to Glasgow. The journey takes 3 hours by bus and 4 by train, although the train is more scenic.
Visit www.travelinescotland.com to plan your journey by public transport.
- Hand picked accommodation in country hotels, inns and B&B’s.
- Daily door to door baggage transfer
- A detailed info pack, route notes and map for each party.
- Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem.
- Travel to the start or from the finish of the walk.
- Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks.
- Travel Insurance.
- Personal Equipment.
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.
- Single room supplements (if applicable)
- Additional Nights
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Give us a shout if you have any further queries.
How fit do I need to be?
The daily distances are up to 17 miles and the trip is graded moderate to strenuous so you should have a good level of walking fitness as you will be walking for up to 8 hours each day. If you currently don’t enjoy that level of fitness regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk is recommended. 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?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Highlands are very popular especially in May and the summer.
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. You can download a full equipment list from our website here:
When is the best time of year?
Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year for walking in Scotland because the theory goes that the weather is better and the midges have not yet appeared. Although having walked in the highlands extensively I believe that any time from late March to October offers a wonderful experience.
What are the midges like?
Midges are small biting insects (much like North American gnats) which are prevalent in the summer months. They are particularly bad on still, overcast days but do not bother you if you are moving, the wind is blowing, sun is shining, it’s raining, or you are inside so as long as you carry repellent for the odd occasion you may need it they shouldn’t have any impact on your experience.
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 and several sections of the way are closed to dogs as they are permissive paths through farm land.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
You can use public transport, local taxis or our baggage van may be able to move you to the next overnight stop. Full details are included in your info pack.