18 Best Mini Adventures in Scotland
Scotland is a huge adventure playground with high mountains, deep lochs, dramatic coastlines and large area of wilderness. These are our 18 Best Mini Adventures in this great country.
Climb Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK at a height of 1,345 m (4,411 ft). The ascent of this mountain is a serious undertaking with the easiest route taking at least 8 hours. Good preparation and the right equipment are essential as the weather can change quickly, it’s not uncommon for the summit to be in the cloud making navigation very difficult.
Scotland’s coastline extends for over 6,000 miles with a diverse range of landscapes with fiords, dramatic cliffs, sea stacks and endless sandy beaches.
These our favorite coastal paths
- Arran Coastal Way 65 miles circular route
- Ayrshire Coastal Path 100 mile route with fabulous view of Forth of Clyde
- Berwickshire Coastal Path 28 miles with second highest cliffs in UK
- Moray Coast Trail 45 miles with views over the Moray Firth home of it’s famous Dolphins
Visit a lighthouse
I’ve always enjoyed visiting lighthouses as they are located at great natural viewpoints and have a sense of history as many were built in Victorian times.
- Nest point, an iconic and photogenic location on the most westerly headland on Skye
- Ardnamurchan point, the most westerly point on the British mainland, famous for watching whales and dolphins – so don’t forget your binoculars!
- Dunnet Head Lighthouse is the most northerly point on the UK and stands on a 300ft high cliff built by Robert Stevenson in 1831
There is so much choice for mountain biking in Scotland from world class bike parks, awesome single tracks to bikepacking though the mountains
Three of the best bike parks are:
- Glentress Forest is a mountain biking Mecca with a 30km black trail, 19km red, 16km blue trail a free ride park and a 5 miles green track
- Laggan Wolftrax forest tracks from green to extreme.
- Nevis Range – Home to the UCI Downhill World Cup Since downhill trails. The network of trails around Nevis Range known as “The Witch’s Trails” has trails to suit all abilities with two downhill trails are accessed by Gondola.
Go to a Beach
Scotland has the most fabulous beaches with golden sands and azure water they are comparable to the Caribbean!
Wild camping in the mountains
There is something special about wild camping in the highlands. I love finding a spot in a remote glen next to a loch and watching the sunset over the mountains. The early starts are a joy with cold fresh air and the anticipation of a day in the mountains.
Scotland has five well developed ski areas
- Aviemore 30km of pisted runs, 10 lifts located in Cairngorm national park
- Aonach Mor 12 lifts, 35 runs. Off piste skiing
- Glencoe with 8 lifts and 20 runs and spectacular scenery
- Glenshee largest lift system, skiing in 3 valleys 4 mountains
- Lecht the smallest area with 13 lifts
Visit a Waterfall
With Scotland’s climate and geography there are some stunning waterfalls to visit.
These are three of our favorite:
- Plodda Falls, near Glen Affric. 46m high falls with a viewing platform and short walk from the car park
- Steall Falls, Glen Nevis. Scotland second highest falls at a height of 120 m 2.5 mile walk
- Aros Falls, Isle of mull. 30 mins walk through the woods
Get a ferry to Knoydart
Knoydart is an isolated peninsula on the west coast of the Scottish highlands, it’s cut off from the road network so can only be accessed by boat or on foot. There is a fantastic pub, The Old Forge where the locals regularly have impromptu music sessions. There are plenty of local walks and a lochside campsite. I love this place
Fly a Kite on a sandy beach
A simple exhilarating activity. You don’t need a complicated kite just a simple inflatable one that packs down into the size of a jacket. There are plenty of fabulous beaches in Scotland to choose from.
Explore a remote Castle
Dozens of castles are dotted around the coastline, one of our favorites is Castle Tioram on Loch Moidart. Built in the 13th century you can walk to it at low tide.
Scotland has hundreds of miles of deserted roads with stunning scenery – a cyclists paradise. These are five of the classic routes.
- NW 500. An increasingly popular route around the north Coast
- Applecross Peninsula Loop via Bealach na Bà. A cycling challenge
- Hebridean way A wild and remote route
- Five ferries A great cycling adventure on the West coast
- Lochs and Glens North Awe inspiring route through the heart of the highlands
Kayaking is a very popular activity in Scotland with the west coast being the epicenter. Arisaig Sea Kayak Centre caters from complete beginners to experienced kayakers. The clear water, gently sloping beaches white sands and intricate coves make kayaking here an unforgettable experience.
Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles and Otters can be regularly seen on western islands of Mull, Skye or Outer Hebrides. Whales, Dolphins and porpoises can be seen on boat trips from many locations on the west coast.
Sleep in a bothy
Check out the Mountain Bothies Association for details of the bothies and code of conduct. Many are in remote locations so you need to be take everything you need with you.
Check out a Film sets
Scotland’s iconic landscapes and historic architecture have been the backdrop for many blockbusters. These are the most famous film locations
- Glenfinnan Viaduct, Harry Potter films
- Glen Etive, James Bond, Skyfall
- Doune Castle, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- Glen Nevis, Braveheart
- Edinburgh, Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War
- Dunnottar Castle, Brave
Visit a distillery
There are more than 120 whisky distilleries in Scotland spread over 5 distinct areas. Islay is our favorite region with eight distilleries on the island, most of them produce a strong, peaty and smoky whisky. The exception is Bruichladdich they make a lighter and less peaty whisky along with a botanist Dry Gin
Have a beach bonfire
Watching the sunset with a bonfire and a glass of malt whisky is the perfect end to a day in the highlands.
As well as our 18 Best Adventures in Scotland we have written the following Scottish adventure guides