Everyone at Macs Adventure gets the opportunity to head out onto the trails and test out our trips. We go to make sure the directions and route notes are correct, that the accommodation we use is clean, comfy and friendly and most importantly, we get a break from the office, to connect to nature and remember what it is all about. It's a great part of the job! It is probably purely coincidental that over the years my trips with Macs have gravitated towards the coast, but perhaps I've been drawn that way. There is something so beautiful about walking along a coastal path, accompanied by the might of the sea, imposing cliffs, beautiful, often empty beaches and always loads of wildlife. So, from all of this experience of walking on the coast, I thought I would compile a list of my favourite coastal walks in the UK.
1. South West Coast Path
Walking out to St Michaels Mount
First on the list and the one I most recently walked, is the South West Coast Path. This 630-mile national trail runs from Minehead in Somerset round to Poole in Dorset. A recent trip allowed me to take in a few sections of the walk starting in St Ives and finishing up in Par, with a visit to the otherworldly Eden Project. The path is a great walk but some sections do have some tough ascents and descents. But the beautiful scenery more than makes up for the tougher cliff walking sections You get the chance to walk through quaint little seaside towns, where you can pick up some fish and chips or ice cream on a hot day!
2. Isle of Wight Coast Path
Checking out where to go on the Isle of Wight
Second on the list is the Isle of Wight Coastal Path. Over half of the island is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, which makes the 67-mile path a delight! Depending on where you are coming from, you can reach the island by hovercraft from Portsmouth which takes only 10 minutes. The island is simply stunning, with breathtaking paths, friendly locals and a way of life all of its own. My personal highlight on the route is the town of Shanklin. This small town has the best of both worlds with the sea side cafes and amusements at the beach and the quieter old town up the hill.
3. Arran Coastal Way
Scotland in miniature - Arran
Next on the list and close to home for me is the Arran Coastal Way. The 62-mile path goes round one of Scotland’s most famous islands, often described as Scotland in miniature. Having lived in a town you can see Arran across the water for most of my life; I am not sure why I have not done the whole way. But having done different sections on weekend trips it really is worth a visit. There is a really strong craft scene on Arran and you can buy a hand-crafted version of just about anything you like, from jewellery and furniture to cosmetics and cheese. And the ice-cream is a must! You go from walking at the base of Goat Fell round to the Blackwaterfoot beach and a visit to King’s Cave. The scenery in Arran is just stunning, no matter what the weather!
4. Fife Coastal Path
The iconic Forth Rail Bridge
Another Scottish one on the list is the Fife Coastal Path. The 81-mile walk runs from the Forth Road Bridge, just outside Edinburgh to the Tay Road Bridge, just outside Dundee. Having the chance to walk along beaches, visit castles on the route and visit the stunning town of St Andrews. The coastal path is a must for an all-round walk. Plus, you can try some award-winning fish and chips on route! The towns are a haven for fresh seafood and you can have a roll and fresh lobster or crab at Crail Harbour for only a couple of ££.
5. Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Beaches of every hue on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Lastly, and by no means least as the list could go on, is the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. This is on my wish list and definitely the trip I want to take next. This 186-mile long national trail runs along the rugged western coastline of Wales, from Amroth to St Dogmaels. The walk itself varies greatly each day with some woodland walking as well the chance to see and walk along award winning beaches. A must see stop is St David’s, the UK’s smallest city with its Cathedral and its plethora of art galleries. I have loved every step of my coastal adventures and highly recommend them all. If you want more information on any of the trips, don't hesitate to get in touch with me, or one of my specialist colleagues.