Going on walks and hikes is a great way to get out, be amongst nature and wildlife and it is shown to have numerous health benefits. It is essentially universally recognised that spending time in nature can help with anxiety, stress, boost your endorphins levels and dopamine production, making you happier. Also, walking is an activity, which is obviously healthy for you. I also believe there is so much to learn in the wilderness, there is so much to interact with and find out just outside your front door. I have also developed a passion for nature and wildlife and enjoy challenging myself to name the wildlife and plants I discover and I want to encourage others to get out and experience nature too. This I hope will lead more people to have a greater appreciation for our planet and to do more to protect it. Therefore, I will always encourage you to go out on walks and see beautiful scenes. Here are my top 5 Scottish Highland walks that I have discovered so far:
This is a great day out for all your family. The short 30-50 minute walk is located behind the House of Bruar, which is an upscale department store that sells classic tweed, outdoor wear, gifts, cashmere and has a food hall. You can spend a nice amount of time there and then go on the walk in your own time. Just behind the House of Bruar are the Falls of Bruar and a great walk to start this list. To me this is a stunning and gorgeous walk up a deep gorge seeing the numerous cascades of the falls. It is a relatively easy walk, though a little steep but one I believe most could do. The journey takes you up the well trodden path in a loop, over stone bridges following the waterfall and numerous plunge pools. You cannot really get lost on the walk as it is a single track that follows the waterfall through the gorge and back down to the House of Bruar. It is one I always recommend to any of my friends and family who will drive past it.
You start the walk at Logie Steadings Visitor Centre, which at the time of writing this has a cafe, whiskey shop, book shop, art gallery, craft stores and more. From there you can make your way to the river walk, which has a map at the beginning and is clearly sign posted (you can also use google). The path takes you along the Findhorn River, where if in the right season you can see salmon swimming upstream. The walk is easy to follow but fairly narrow and a bit rocky. I enjoyed this walk as it is full of trees covered in moss, rocks surrounding the wide river and numerous amounts of wildlife. The walk leads you to Randolph’s Leap where you can see the rocks on either side of the river come close together forming a small waterfall. I imagine it gained its name due to the fact the rocks are close together it was a popular location to leap across the Findhorn River. It was such a nice walk that even when it began to pour it down we were not fazed by the great walk we had just had. I would highly recommend this walk, as it immerses you in nature and wildlife.
Loch an Eilein
This was one of the first walks I went on and one of the longest on the list. I believe there are multiple routes to Loch an Eilein, so I am sure you can take a route that suits you. We started the walk at Rothiemurchus in The Barn and headed east out of the estate then followed a track through the Rothiemurchus Forest that leads to Loch An Eilein. Along the way you come across the stunning Lochan Mor and a number of wildlife and plants. Either side of the path is littered with Bilberries and pines immersing you into the scottish forest. On this walk I was also fortunate enough to see a Scottish Common Lizard, so keep your eyes peeled. It took us to Loch An Eilein where there were a number of ducks, a small shop (bring cash) and the iIsland castle ruins. You can loop around and head back through the pines and bilberries to Rothiemerchus.
Fairy Glen Falls
This walk is a little further north than the other walks, just above Inverness where you can take the short stroll to see the Fairy Glen Falls. The falls are pretty but certainly not of any great stature but the walk is a beautiful one. The walk starts in the little village of Rosemarkie following the stream in the woods to the falls before returning the same way. It is a short walk but one where you go through what feels like an ancient woods bustling with wildlife. The walk itself is on a fairly rocky and rooty path, so make sure you are mobile enough to handle this. There is a little pond on the journey to take a break and at the end you come across the pretty little falls.
This is the longest walk (hike) on this list and is a bit more challenging. It is a fairly easy walk to navigate, as you park the Invereshie and Inshriach National Nature Reserve and take the path east up the munroe. There are a couple of forks, which you need to make sure you go the right way but the walk is fairly straight forward. On the journey you head through a small woods that then opens up to the monroe, which you head up across the mountain. It does get quite steep but once you are at the plateau it is worth it. It took me and my partner about a 6 hour round trip and stuggled a little on the steep section that is just past the half way mark, however we do not have a ton of experience hiking, so I believe most of you could do it (just bring water). At the top you get an amazing view of the rocky cliff and stunning views of Loch Eanaich to the east of the munroe. I recommend you warm up for this one but if you do it you get a great sense of accomplishment and beautiful views of the Cairngorm mountain range.
I have not been in Scotland too long but have managed to go on many walks in the surrounding areas, which I have enjoyed. This list is just a small collection of some of my favourite walks that I would recommend to my friends and family, so I also wanted to recommend them to you. My short time up here has shown me how beautiful Scotland is and it is clearly full of beautiful walks to go on. Most of the walks on this list are relatively easy (apart from Sgòr Gaoith), so most people should be able to do them. Like I said at the start, I want more people to connect with nature to protect it, which I hope these walks help me achieve this. I am always trying to get out and see more, so if you have any walks or hiking suggestions let me know.