Tag Archives: Hiking

If hiking in Scotland is on your to-do list then Loch Lomond is just one of many places you should visit in the country.

When walking in Scotland, you will find hikes in all shapes and sizes. From the vast landscapes and mountain ranges for the more experienced hikers to quaint Munros for the more novice among us, there are spectacular of views available across the country (and even in the local area). You’ll also find lots of coastal walks and forest paths when on your travels, which allow you to make the most of the incredible scenery and landscapes. It really is the ideal way to see the best of the country!

Even the weather won’t spoil the fun. But do check it before you go!

Find out more about hiking in Scotland and Loch Lomond from our posts below.


Top Tips To Prepare For The West Highland Way

Walking the West Highland Way? We salute you. Embrace the wild rolling hills, charming villages and craggy mountains as you embark on Scotland’s most famous long distance trek which affords stunning scenery for 96 miles. Walking the West Highland Way offers great solitude or provides the opportunity to socialise and meet new friends, as people tend to split the route into similar segments, meaning you will often encounter the same people on a daily basis. The terrain can be strenuous, the weather can be turbulent and motivation levels can fluctuate as tiredness kicks in. So make sure you’re fully prepared for it by following our top tips!

Training

96 miles. 8 days. It’s a long distance. The exhaustion will hit you harder on different days but if you’ve done your research, planned out your route and prepared, then don’t be nervous! Take your time and enjoy it. Choose when you’re walking the WHW and set yourself mini goals on the lead up to the main event. Step by step, one walk at a time and you’ll be ready to go the distance.

Your training programme will differ dependent on your walking experience. If you’re an avid hillwalker then just keep practicing, whereas if you’re a novice, start small, walk for 30 minutes every day, then progress. Give yourself time to rest and recuperate, then up your walking time and terrain. The WHW includes flat landscapes, narrow and rocky paths and upward climbs. If you’re comfortable with walking long stretches on flat surfaces, then you need to challenge yourself and walk on an incline progressively. Our best piece of advice is to study the route and emulate this in your training. As your confidence grows, try a hill that’s more challenging, because if you don’t push yourself, you’re going to struggle and that will take the fun out of walking the WHW.

There are plenty of walking routes throughout Scotland that will help you prepare!

Walking Clothes & Shoes

Scotland’s weather can be relentless and can change in the blink of an eye. It’s critical that you pack clothes, footwear and kit suitable for all weather eventualities. According to the advice given on the West Highland Way website, you should follow a 3 layer clothing system: a base layer, middle layer and an outer layer for protection.

Waterproof or windproof trousers are a must, they’re lightweight and quick drying! We’d also recommend gym t-shirts or loose t-shirts as comfort is key and you’ll be wearing them all day. A cosy sweatshirt is also ideal for the trek as you might need an extra layer between your waterproof and t-shirt for added warmth. If you’re trekking in the winter, a cosy hat and pair of thick gloves will be your saviour and if you’re embarking on this trail in the warmer months we’d suggest a lighter set of gloves and skip-cap to protect the back of your neck if the sun decides to make an appearance.

With rough sometimes wet terrain, and rocky paths, a good sturdy pair of boots will be critical. It’s the most important item of equipment for this journey, you need to be comfortable and supported. Break in your boots well in advance and make sure they’re appropriate for every weather condition. You’ll also require some good quality socks to go with your boots. Thick walking socks in the winter with a thinner lining sock or slightly thinner but supportive socks for the summer. We’ve also heard that packing a pair of light flip-flops is a must especially in the evenings when your feet need some well-earned rest and air.

Other must-have accessories include a rucksack for your water and food, spare socks, midge net and repellent, sunscreen, headlamp, first aid kit and thermals!

Book Your Accommodation

There’s plenty of accommodation dotted throughout the trek but don’t leave booking your accommodation last minute as you don’t want to be disappointed especially in spring, summer and the autumnal seasons when the route is at its most popular. Whether you fancy combining camping with an overnight in a B&B, the choice is yours. If you’re worried about budget or simply want to immerse yourself in nature, there are plenty of campsites available to choose from. We’d suggest you familiarise yourself with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code if this is your choice of overnight. However, if you’d prefer something more comfortable, there are a plethora of hotels, local B&Bs, guesthouses and hostels to choose from. Beware, some villages including Rowardennan and Bridge of Orchy have limited options therefore you’ll need to book in advance to ensure your space. It’s all about organisation, if you book in advance, you’ll enjoy the comforts and charms of local villages which just adds to the overall experience of the WHW.

Luggage Transfer

Make your life that little bit easier and give your back and shoulders a rest and book your baggage in for transfer at certain points throughout the trail. It’s 6-8 days of constant walking, constant pressure on your shoulders, let someone help you even if it’s just for a couple of days. Two benefits of luggage transfer are that you’ll only need to carry your day bag with food and water, and your extra clothes and socks will be dry and waiting for you at the end of the day. There are several companies on hand to transfer your luggage. Costs vary dependent on which company you choose but a list of recommended baggage transfer companies can be found here.

Take Your Camera

Scotland is home to breath-taking scenery and the WHW gives you a glimpse of all that our rugged landscapes have to offer. Each town or village offers a vibrant charm and picturesque setting. Why not take advantage of Scotland’s rich beauty and take a selfie or panoramic of the view.

Sometimes a photograph might not do the landscape justice but its a memory you can cherish and look back on. Each day will be different, document your journey, appreciate the scenery and take lots of photographs. By taking photos you’ll always be able to differentiate segments of the journey. It’s an essential accessory for your hike!

The West Highland Way is challenging but when you cross that finish line in Fort William, there’s no feeling like it. As long as you properly prepare, have the right walking gear, plan out your day-to-day mileage and book your accommodation in advance, you’ll have the time of your life and make memories you’ll never forget.


Munro Climbing

Everything You Need To Know About Munro Bagging

Munro Bagging in Scotland

Hikers Munro Bagging

Hikers bagging some munros

Bagging (or reaching the summit of) a Munro, a mountain of at least 3,000 feet, is one of thebestways to see the wonders of Scotland from a different viewpoint. Providing breathtaking views, unrivalled scenery and wildlife, as well as a number of seasons in one walk, Munro bagging is an experience in itself, with nothing quite like it. And with Scotland boasting 282 Munros and 227 subsidiary tops, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

If this sounds like it’s up your street then you won’t be alone as thousands of people are now pulling on their hiking boots every year to tick another off their list. The activity of Munro bagging has seen a recent surge in popularity and become somewhat of a phenomenon in Scotland, with many tourists travelling to the country to see what all of the fuss is about. For a hugely fun activity, little experience is required to navigate the first or indeed, every other Munro following that.

You can also maximise your stay and bag a few Munros in the space of just two or three days – many now plan a Munro bagging weekend to make the most of their time in Scotland.

 

Some Munro Bagging Facts

Hiker staring at mountains

  • Munro bagging isn’t a new activity, as Reverend AE Robertson was reportedly the first person tocomplete the first round of Munros in 1901 (reaching the summit of all 282 Munros). Some of his climbs were speculative however, and Ronald Burn in 1923 is looked upon by others as officially the first to achieve a round.
  • Sir Hugh Munro compiled the first ever full list of Munros (hence the name), the ‘Munro’s Tables’, in 1891.
  • Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK is arguably the most well-known of the Munros, standing at 4,411 ft (1,345 m).
  • The fastest round was carried out by Stephen Pyke in 2010 who managed to bag all the Munros in 39 days and 9 hours. He also didn’t use any forms of motorised transport and even cycled and kayaked between each of the Munros.
  • Remarkably, the youngest person who has completed a round of the Munros was 10 year old Ben Fleetwood, who finished the last of his Munros in August 2011.
  • 13 rounds of the 282 Munros is the current record which was achieved by Steven Fallon in 2006.

 

Tips for BeginnersHikers beginning a munro trek

 

For those setting off to bag their first Munro, there are some fantastic hiking tools readily available for you – from interactive maps to detailed guides, these tools will allow you to make the most of your time climbing the mountain and to help you enjoy it as much as possible.

 

Here are a few munro bagging tips to get you started:

  • Plan Ahead

Scotland’s fantastic climate is unpredictable. It may be the middle of summer but it’s possible that you may still experience four seasons in one day. Take plenty of snacks and water, check the weather forecast and plan your route, letting someone know where you are going.

  • Layers, Layers, Layers

Hiking is an arduous task and as you ascend and descend, temperatures can fluctuate – you are at the top of a mountain after all, and it is Scotland. By wearing layers, including a waterproof jacket, you can peel off and add back on as required.

  • These Boots are Made for Walking

Investing in a good pair of walking boots and breaking them in could help your feet last the journey and avoid the much dreaded blisters afterwards.

  • Are you Camera Ready?

When you finally make it to the top, you’ll want to capture the amazing views on offer so remember your camera or phone (and make sure it has plenty of battery) as you will want to remember the moment.

 

What other Munro bagging tips do you have for beginners?


Highland Cow

Weather in Loch Lomond Throughout the Year

Highland Coo-1

When our guests are planning their holiday to Loch Lomond, we understand that the weather is a very important factor to take into consideration. There are plenty of jokes about the weather in Scotland, but luckily most of them just aren’t true (honest!). So we’ve put together a post below which gives you an insight into the weather throughout the year here in Loch Lomond and when the best time is to take part in your favourite activity.

Lonely Planet states that it rarely gets too hot or too cold in the Loch Lomond area; we have four distinct seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, each with their own special character and charm (which you can sometimes experience all in one day!) As the saying goes, ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’, so it pays to be prepared.

Spring

Spring sees the days starting to lengthen and the average temperatures rising from around 9° C in March to 14° C by mid-May. These months are usually amongst the driest of the year, with just 71mm of rain falling in March and 65mm in May, so they are the ideal time to get out and about and enjoy our stunning scenery.

There are numerous hiking trails to enjoy, or you can hire bikes. Try your hand at fishing or take a ferry trip to Inchcailloch island, part of the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve, which is carpeted with bluebells in April and May.

Summer

June, July and August are the warmest months of the year for Loch Lomond weather, with daytime highs reaching around 19° C and comfortably cool evenings with average temperatures of between 10 and 12° C. The summer is ideal for water sports, including water-skiing, kayaking and swimming and the long light evenings are perfect for whiling away the time fishing on the lochside or riverbank. The summer is also the season for festivals and Highland Games: the Loch Lomond Highland Games and the Luss Highland Gathering are both held in July.

Autumn

September, October and November see temperatures starting to drop back, from an average of 16°C in September to around 9°C in November, but the shortening days bring glowing light and golden and red leaf colours. Autumn is a very popular time of year to visit Loch Lomond, you can take a guided nature walk to spot rutting red deer or enjoy a cruise on the loch. Around half the days during autumn will see some rainfall, but even if the weather is wet there are plenty of fun things to do.

Why not visit one of our local whisky distilleries or enjoy a day trip to the Loch Lomond Sealife Aquarium?

Winter

With snowy mountainsides above the gleaming waters of the loch, the winter landscape around Loch Lomond is hard to beat. Average daytime temperatures range from 8°C in December to 6° C in February and rainfall amounts are around 250mm a month; this may sometimes fall as snow, especially at higher altitudes. In winter, the roads are quiet, so it is the perfect time to go for a cycle ride or car tour, then warm up over a pub lunch by a log fire.

If you are going climbing or planning a hill walk, or even if would just like to know what the weather in Loch Lomond will be like when you arrive, we would recommend checking the Met Office or BBC as these are generally the most reliable.