Summer is on the horizon, and with it, the promise of some incredible summer adventures. With overseas trips often costing an arm and a leg, those in the know will be heading north this summer to get their kicks. The siren call of hikes in Scotland will soon lure you in, with trails so tantalisingly untouched, they’re almost impossible to resist.
The one fly in Scotland’s marvellous ointment (pardon the pun) is the chance of running into a few midges on your travels. These little suckers love Scotland almost as much as we do, and can quickly spoil all the fun. Thankfully, there is a way around this issue thanks to the folks at Smidge, who have developed and tested their repelling formulas right where it matters: that’s right, Scotland. The Smidge DEET-free formula is powerful, water and sweat-resistant and protects against a whole host of biting insects, from your common Scottish midge to mosquitoes, horse flies and even ticks.
We put our heads together to come up with a list of Scotland’s best hikes, which, when armed with your trusty Smidge repellent, could be just the UK adventure you’ve been looking for.
Of course, a list of the best hikes in Scotland could not be complete without the UK’s highest mountain, our mighty Ben Nevis. Standing proud over Fort William at a sky-scraping 1,345m this is no easy hike, and if it’s your first attempt on the summit, we suggest the traditional Mountain Track route to keep things simple.
On conquering the roof of the UK, you’ll enjoy extensive views over the Highlands, not to mention bragging rights down the pub too. If you’re looking for a different route to the summit, take a look at the Carn Mor Dearg route.
Quinag is a majestic mountain overlooking Assynt in Sutherland, with a grand total of three summits which can all be conquered in an excellent, if challenging day hike. Dramatic ridges and spectacular views await the intrepid among you, with the highest peak reaching 808m and offering panoramic views of the Highlands.
The Old Man of Storr
The Isle of Skye is just as magical as it sounds, with a whole heap of stunning scenery and miles of trails to explore. For that iconic view, we love the hike to the Old Man of Storr, the incredible pinnacle of rock that dominate the landscape.
You’ll also fine unbelievable views over the Sound of Raasay and onto the mainland on this classic hike. For the best view, hike past the famous pinnacles and enjoy the view from above.
This fantastic circular route offers some of the best views in Scotland, as well as an optional ridge ascent and a tricky bit of technical grade two scrambling, should the mood strike. The circular route takes you around the summit proper on a well-maintained path, while the optional ridge climb is a little steeper and you’ll need a head for heights.
To reach the more challenging western summit, just ensure you have plenty of previous scrambling experience. The views from this hike will take your breath away, from Loch Lurgainn glimmering down below, to the Summer Isles in the distance. Just don’t forget your camera.
Gaelic for ‘Jewelled Mountain’, Beinn Alligan (996m) definitely lives up to its name in the looks department. It makes for a classic hike in the Torridon region of Scotland, with a ridge traverse offering unparalleled views of the Highlands wilderness.
Again, while the route itself proves a challenging one, there’s also the option to tackle an extra exposed scramble to the Horns of Alligin, an ancient natural landmark that can be seen for miles around and make Beinn Alligin an easily distinguishable mountain when viewed from afar.
Referred to by some as the most beautiful beach in Britain, this delightful coastal walk is the perfect hike for a summer’s day. Rolling moorland, dramatic cliffs and the vast sweep of sand that make up the bay are just some of the picture-perfect views you’ll encounter on this adventure, while wildlife-lovers should keep their eyes on the horizon upon reaching the beach, as dolphins and other marine mammals are often spotted. A tall and magnificent sea stack is the cherry on top of this sensational coastal hike.
Stay protected on hikes in Scotland
Don’t forget if you’re hiking in summer, there’s every chance you’ll be accompanied on the trails by midges, which can be a real annoyance. Don’t forget to pack some good quality repellent such as the range offered by Smidge, so you can hike in peace without the fear of being eaten alive by the little buggers.