West Highland Way Round

The West Highland Way Round began life in 2012 as a personal alternative to the West Highland Way, a 99km loop starting and finishing in Fort William following less well walked trails through Lochaber and over Rannoch Moor. Setting out south along the West Highland Way – swimming against the tide of long distance walkers – it called at Kinlochleven and King’s House before branching east along an old drove road to Rannoch Station where the way turns north, following the Road to the Isles to remote Corrour Station before swinging west for the return via Loch Treig and Glen Nevis. In this the 40th anniversary of the West Highland Way, the guide – up until now only available as an ebook – has been fully revised and released as a paperback, now available from Amazon.

Take a Hike: Berneray

The islanders of Berneray lay claim to possessing ‘possibly the most beautiful beach in the whole of the Hebrides’. It is an ambitious assertion, their cherished West Beach up against stiff competition. The Western Isles is, after all, fringed with stunning strips of white sand.

With high expectations and eager to see if this coastal treasure was all it was cracked up to be, or if the proud proclamation was simply a tourist lure, I boarded the MV Loch Portain at Leverburgh and set sail across the Sound of Harris. Read more…

Take a Hike: Niddry Bing

A mighty legacy of West Lothian’s shale oil industry, Niddry Bing, on the outskirts of Winchburgh, remains in use but it is still possible to climb to the top and gaze across the vast summit plateau.

Originally 61-metres high when it was abandoned by the oil industry in 1961, quarried for aggregates, the spoil heap has been slowly lowered over the years, although it remains a substantial landmark.

Sitting at the foot of its steep southern escarpment and on the edge of a golf course where the crude oil works once stood, restored Niddry Castle adds historical interest to a circuit that begins by the Union Canal. Read more…

This walk is an extract from my new book Bing Bagging – Central Scotland, a collection of 18 routes to the top of 23 shale and coal bings in West Lothian, Lanarkshire, Dunbartonshire, Stirling and Fife, available as a paperback or ebook from Amazon

Take a Hike: Den of Fowlis

October nearly at an end, in search of some autumnal colour, I found myself draw to Den of Fowlis, a beautiful, slender wooded ravine blessed with the liveliest of wee streams.

Tucked away in the Angus countryside, just a few miles west of Dundee, it is a real hidden gem, one of those out of the way spots that despite its obvious charms does not attract too many visitors. Read more…

Take a Hike: Dronley Wood

Up until 65-years-ago, anyone venturing out of Dundee to breath in the fresh Angus air and enjoy a pleasant wander around Dronley Wood, in the shadow of the Sidlaw Hills, could have done so by train. The hamlet of Dronley, a stone’s throw from the plantation, was a stop on the Dundee to Newtyle Railway. After almost a century of service, the station closed in 1955 but visitors can still call here, the former goods yard now a car park and my starting point for a short loop around the forest. Read more…

Glorious Good Friday on Rannoch Moor

I could not resist the lure of Rannoch Moor once again and, setting off to walk the Road to the Isles from Corrour Station to Rannoch Station, I was rewarded with an excellent day, dry with hazy sunshine and a cooling breeze. After driving to Rannoch Station, I boarded the 11.08am train for the short journey north to Corrour. The carriages were packed with walkers, the majority of whom spilled out on to the platform when we arrived at Corrour. Read more…

Tentsmuir Sea Eagle Walk

The return of the sea eagle – or white-tailed eagle – to Scotland is one of the great conservation success stories. The last native bird was shot on Shetland in 1918 but in the 1970s the raptor was reintroduced and experts estimate there are now 200, most roosting in the isolated western isles. Thanks to ongoing work, Britain’s largest bird of prey is now soaring over east coast waters too. Read more…

Peat Path to Fitness

Nestling in the hills above Loch Ness, Abriachan is a scattered rural community. In 1998, villagers bought 500 hectares of land from Forest Enterprise and embarked upon an ambitious project to enhance the local environment, create new jobs and attract more visitors to the area through the creation of a path network, mountain bike routes and other facilities. One of the more unusual trails to emerge from this was the Peat Path to Fitness. Read more…