This route is a classic way to see Scotland on foot, and takes you through the heart of the central Highlands, from the rich and varied landscapes of Perthshire in the east, to the dramatic Glencoe & Lochaber mountains in the west. This route (126 miles / 205km is for fit and experienced walkers - there are two long days and you also have the classic crossing of Rannoch Moor, through remote and rough country. 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.
|CtC A||Perth||Fort William||11||A challenging "off-the-beaten track" hiking route across Scotland||£685*|
|CtC B||Perth||Glencoe||9||Great scenery, and lots of historical interest and wildlife||£610*|
It is also possible to do the walk from Perth to Fort William in 9 days (10 nights) by missing out the overnight stop in Pitlochry. To do this you need to follow the direct route from Birnam to Aberfeldy which passes through the Griffin Wind Farm. If you wish to avoid the windfarm, there is a longer way round (21 miles) via Ballinluig which still avoids the need for an overight in Pitlochry. The price for this Perth-Fort William 10 night trip is £645 per person. The price for this Perth-Glencoe 9 night trip is £605 per person. If you don't have time to do the whole walk, we can also arrange this route starting in Aberfeldy and finishing in Fort william (7 nights, £495) or Aberfeldy-Glencoe (6 nights, £465) per person. Or it is possible to start the walk in Pitlochry, which will be 8 nights to Fort William (£535), or 7 nights to finish in Glencoe (£505) per person.
Extra nights These are are recommended in Birnam, 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. Extra nights in Kinloch Rannoch cost GBP45-50 per person per night, and extra nights in Rannoch Station cost GBP64 per person per night.
Version A 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 14 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 (14 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.
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.
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).
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. This is the same as Version A except that on Day 9 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.
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 £100 respectively for up to four people - we can quote for larger parties).