A challenging "off-the-beaten track" hiking route across Scotland, which takes you through the heart of the southern Highlands, from the rich and varied landscapes of Perthshire in the east, to the dramatic Glencoe & Lochaber mountains in the west. This route (130 miles / 210km) is for fit and experienced walkers - most days are 12-14 mile hikes but there can also be one or two 17 mile day hikes depending on your itinerary. Highlights include crossing the mountains between Fortingall and Rannoch, and the classic crossing of Rannoch Moor, from east to west. On most days you will follow quiet paths and you will see far fewer people (and much more wildlife) than on the West Highland Way. From Kingshouse you can choose to finish on the shore of Loch Leven at Glencoe or join the West Highland Way for the last 2 days walk to Fort William. Also options to have additonal overnight stops at Kenmore (between Aberfeldy and Fortingall) and at Bridge of Gaur (between Kinloch Rannoch and Rannoch Station).
|CtC A11||Perth||Ft. William||11||One long day 17 miles (Kinloch Rannoch to Rannoch Station).||£795|
|CtC A10||Perth||Ft. William||10||walk directly from Birnam to Aberfeldy (no overnight stop in Pitlochry)
through Griffin windfarm*, so two long days of 17 miles
|CtC B10||Perth||Glencoe||10||one long day of 17 miles (Kinloch Rannoch to Rannoch Station).
|CtC B9||Perth||Glencoe||9||walk directly from Birnam to Aberfeldy (no overnight stop in Pitlochry)
through Griffin windfarm*, so two long days of 17 miles
*Route options: If you choose to walk from Perth to Fort William in just 9 days (10 nights) or to walk from Perth to Glencoe in just 8 days (9 mights) this means you have to follow the direct route from Birnam to Aberfeldy which passes through the 'Griffin' Wind Farm. This means you walk parallel to a line of 9 turbines over 2 miles in the middle section of the walk. The closest you get to the turbines is about 100m. If you like the look of wind turbines this is quite interesting, but if you don't, you are better to have the overnight stop in Pitlochry and avoid the windfarm altogether.
Extra nights: These are are recommended in Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and Fort William if you want to climb Ben Nevis at the end. These extra nights cost from £40 per person per night. Also possible to have extra nights in other villages, e.g. extra nights in Kinloch Rannoch cost from GBP50 per person per night, and extra nights in Rannoch Station cost GBP70 per person per night.
Additional nights: It is also possible to have have additional overnight stops in two places - the attractive village of Kenmore half-way between Aberfeldy and Fortingall, and Bridge of Gaur, a small village at the west end of Loch Ranoch (so it breaks the long day from Kinloch Rannoch to Rannoch Station). Add £75 per person for the night in Kenmore (hotel) and GBP50 per person for the night in Bridge of Gaur.
Accommodation is based in very good guest houses and B&Bs on most of the nights, except in Fortingall, Kinloch Rannoch, Rannoch Station and Kingshouse, where we book the hotels as standard. If you prefer we can usually book good B&Bs instead of hotels on two of these nights, in which case we can reduce the above prices accordingly. Contact us for more information and details.
Shorter itineraries in 2016: If you don't have time to do the whole walk, we can also arrange this hike starting in Aberfeldy or Pitlochry and finishing in Glencoe or Fort william. (6-8 nights). Contact us for prices and more information.
Version A (11 nights) itinerary: -
Day 1. Arrive in Perth. Depending on what time you arrive you may have the chance to explore this historic town, visit Scone Palace or climb nearby Kinnoull Hill, which overlooks the Firth of Tay.
Day 2. This is a walk of 13 miles, mostly along the banks of Scotland's longest and biggest river, the Tay, famous for salmon fishing. Overnight in the quiet village of Bankfoot.
Day 3. Today's walk takes you into the highlands by a secluded and beautiful glen, and then by the woods and waterfalls of the Hermitage before arriving in Birnam (10 miles), the Victorian village, which lies on the other side of the river from historic Dunkeld, the ancient capital of Scotland.
Day 4. Today's walk is 15 miles and ends in the attractive Victorian town of Pitlochry, which sits below Ben Vrackie. On the approach to the town, you have the option to visit Edradour Distillery, which is the smallest working malt whisky distillery in Scotland.
Day 5. A gentle climb over the hill between Pitlochry and Strathtay in the morning, then follow the old railway line and riverbank path to Aberfeldy (10 miles). On approaching Aberfeldy, you can visit the Aberfeldy Whisky Distillery (and Dewar's World of Whisky Exhibition). If you have an extra day in Aberfeldy you have the chance to visit Menzies Castle, which lies 1 mile to the north-west of the town, over General Wade's Bridge on the other side of the River Tay, or explore the Birks of Aberfeldy.
Day 6. The walk today (15 miles) has a historic theme and there is also an option to walk up the Birks of Aberfeldy. The route passes by a 4000 year old Neolithic stone circle at Croftmoraig and through the grounds of Taymouth Castle where Queen Victoria spent her honeymoon. You also have the chance to see a re-constructed crannog on Loch Tay. The day's walk ends at the peaceful village of Fortingall, where you can see the ancient yew tree which is estimated to be more than 3000 years old and the oldest living tree in Europe. There is a lot to see on this day, so if you choose the CtCA13 or CtCB11 itinerary, you have an additional overnight stop in the village of Kenmore, halfway between Aberfeldy and Fortingall, which gives more time to enjoy the waterfalls of the Birks, the stone circle, Taymouth Castle, and visit the Crannog.
Day 7. A challenging walk (12 miles) over the hills via Glen Mor, a remote glen which sits beneath Schiehallion. You have now reached the heart of the Highlands and the quiet village of Kinloch Rannoch, which sits at the east end of Loch Rannoch.
Day 8. Today you walk on a very quiet road by the shores of Loch Rannoch and on to the eastern edge of Rannoch Moor, to Rannoch Station where the road ends. If you take the road on the south side of the loch, you can opt to take a short detour into the Black Wood of Rannoch, one of the few surviving remnants of the ancient Caledonian pine forest which had covered the Scottish Highlands since the last Ice Age. This is the longest day (17 miles), but if you choose the CtC A13 or CtC B11 itinerary it can be broken into two shorter days by having an additional night at Bridge of Gaur, at the west end of Loch Rannoch.
Day 9. The classic traverse of Rannoch Moor, (from east to west, not south to north as on the West Highland Way). Rannoch Moor has been described as "the largest abstract painting the world" - a walk through this unique landscape of grass, heather, peat, water and mountains is an unforgettable experience. Overnight at Kingshouse. (13 miles).
Day 10. Here you join the West Highland Way which follows General Wade's Military Road over the Devil's Staircase. The highest point is 550 metres above sea-level, but as you start at about 250m and the track zig-zags over the hill the ascent is not as bad as the name suggests. From the col it is all downhill to the village of Kinlochleven (9 miles).
Day 11. Today starts with another climb, as you continue on the West Highland Way through the Lairigmor, and into Glen Nevis (14 miles). Overnight in Fort William, the 'capital' of the Western Highlands. The town is effectively base camp for Ben Nevis so is popular with walkers and climbers.
Version B (9 or 10 nights). This is the same as Version A except that you walk from Kingshouse down historic Glencoe, and finish at Glencoe Village, on the shores of Loch Leven (14 miles).
Route guidance: we provide detailed written descriptions (in English) of each section, and three 1:50,000 OS maps which cover the whole route. We also provide information about the history and things to do in each place you stay, general information about walking in Scotland and travel arrangements before and after your walk.
We are based in Aberfeldy which you pass through on this walk, so we come to meet you at your accommodation to say hello and answer any questions you may have about the rest of the hike. We have been organising this Coast to Coast route for over 20 years as a self-guided hike so there is not much we don't know about the things to see and do along the way.
Baggage Transfer: Due to space constraints, note that only one piece of luggage per person can be transferred. (We transfer you luggage from you accommodation to accommodation everyday - including across Rannoch Moor).
Please book early to avoid disappointment as accommodation is limited in some villages. The sooner you book the better, especially if you are planning the to do the walk in May and early June.
Start: Perth can be reached by bus train or taxi from Edinburgh or Glasgow, journey takes just over an hour. Transfers can be also be arranged from Edinburgh or Glasgow airports (about £80, or £120 respectively for up to four people - we can quote for larger parties).