Scotland’s longest walking route was launched this week, offering a fabulous trail from the English Border to the northern Highlands. The Gore-Tex Scottish National Trail begins in Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders and finishes at Cape Wrath in the north-west Highlands – and links a number of existing long-distance trails to form one 470-mile walk.
The trail is the brainchild of Scottish walks writer and broadcaster, Cameron McNeish, and was officially opened by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond in Edinburgh.
Reported in Scotland’s national newspaper, The Herald, McNeish said: “I wanted to re-discover my country for myself, especially those areas I wasn’t so familiar with, and in doing so walked a route I believe can stand comparison with the best routes anywhere in the world.”
His website adds: The Gore-Tex Scottish National Trail will become “one of the iconic walking routes of the world” thanks to a combination of variety and quality of walking through the Scottish landscape.”
Salmond added: “[The route] showcases this beautiful country of ours, reminding us of Scotland’s history and beauty and highlighting the rich variety of our national landscape.”
The route of the new Scottish National trail
Starting in Kirk Yetholm the route heads first for Scotland’s capital Edinburgh. Canal paths then take walkers west towards Milngavie, which is north of Glasgow, before heading further north towards Aviemore, in the magnificent Cairngorms National Park.
The final section of the walk stretches almost 120 miles from Badenoch to Cape Wrath, much of it following the existing Cape Wrath Trail in the Scottish Highlands.
Other trails followed as part of this longer route include St Cuthbert’s Way and the Southern Upland Way in the Scottish Borders, the West Highland Way from Milngavie to Fort William and the Rob Roy Way in the southern Highlands.
The route will not have its own waymarkers, except for new plaques at Kirk Yetholm, the Water of Leith Visitor Centre in Edinburgh and Cape Wrath.