Bagging Munros, wild camping and mysterious lochs: readers’ favourite wilderness trips in Scotland

<span>The Globe sculpture by Joe Smith at Knockan Crag, near the Bone Caves.</span><span>Photograph: Susanne Pommer/Alamy</span>
The Globe sculpture by Joe Smith at Knockan Crag, near the Bone Caves.Photograph: Susanne Pommer/Alamy

Camping in the Bone Caves of Sutherland

We live in the north-west Highlands of Scotland and frequently spend our free time having micro-adventures. We tend to avoid the busiest times of year. One February half-term, my sister and I loaded our ageing campervans with mattress and children and headed north to Inchnadamph. Our destination was the Bone Caves of Assynt. The wild camping was free, we were cosy tucked up in the van and awoke to a sprinkling of snow, blue sky and a glorious sunrise. We made the walk up to the caves and back through an uninhabited glen following the limestone river that bubbled over ground and occasionally underground too. The weather held for a chilly paddle in the sea at Clachtoll followed by a camping dinner cooked in the bitter cold at the car park at Knockan Crag with its incredible sculptures and geological timeline that the children deeply connected with. A memorable trip that we may never be able to recreate fully, but I will never forget.

From dizzy heights to the shore of Nevis

From the tiny settlement of Bracorina, overlooking Loch Morar, is a craggy walk up to a ridge with only lonely lochans, hardy Highland sheep and the odd sea eagle for company. Cross the heights and you are met with a steep walk down through thickets of ferns to an abandoned crofters’ settlement on the shores of the sea loch, Nevis, with views out to the most remote peninsula in the British Isles, Knoydart. This rewarding, sweaty and visceral walk sums up all that is magical about this untouched corner of Scotland.
Miles Watson

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An artist’s view of majestic Mull

The Isle of Mull is a rugged paradise and, on its western coast, across a single-lane road flanked by the sea, is the gorgeous Balmeanach. You can book an eight-person farmhouse once occupied by the artist Jolomo (John Lowrie Morrison), where, aptly enough, your surroundings give the impression of having stepped into a sweeping landscape painting. Observe wild deer and birds in the shadow of the Gribun cliffs, venture into MacKinnon’s Cave, or gaze on to the Atlantic from a secluded beach.

Rail and sail to Arran

For me, the best thing about Scotland’s wilderness is its accessibility. Glasgow’s early risers can be eating a late breakfast on the slopes of Arran’s lesser-climbed Beinn Tarsuinn while watching the CalMac ferry they arrived on puff its way back to the mainland, all by 11am and via public transport. Tarsuinn, and its similarly quiet neighbour, Cir Mhòr, offer the same impressive views as nearby Goatfell, but with a fraction of the visitors. Intrepid adventurers can camp here for the night before bagging the other two island Corbetts. Those in search of home comforts can enjoy the walk back to the civilisation of Brodick along Glen Rosa, with its views and secret swimming spots. Rail and Sail from Glasgow Central with Scotrail and CalMac.

Mysterious Loch Duich

The hamlet of Ratagan on the banks of Loch Duich provides views across the dark and mysterious-looking loch with the Five Sisters of Kintail rising into the skies at the other side. It’s idyllic, like receiving a huge, warm hug from mother nature. Ratagan is a great spot for exploring all the area has to offer, among them the utterly beautiful Eilean Donan Castle, which is just a short drive away.

Hiking in the Wester Ross wilderness

In Wester Ross is our last “great wilderness”, mountains so remote they require days of hiking to explore. I was delighted to get a more accessible taste of these looming highlands on the Beinn Eighe mountain trail, Britain’s only way-marked mountain hike. Ascending through a forest of Scots pine, the landscape opens to a rougher, rockier terrain before summiting to incredible views. The route down passes lochs and waterfalls. We had dinner at the Badachro Inn, a pub packed with jovial vibes, delicious local food and sea views.
Ami Udeshi

Small but beautiful Eigg

Eigg is a stunning (tiny) island that’s just a few hours on the boat from Mallaig. It’s perfect for hiking, biking and swimming (with a seal if you’re lucky). The beach at Laig is beautiful, with the best sunsets I’ve ever seen.

Tranquillity in the Cairngorms

The Spittal of Glenmuick remains a gem within the Cairngorms national park and Royal Deeside. Walks here encompass diverse scenery from rugged and wild to calm and picturesque, depending on everything from the time of day to the time of year – nearby Braemar has dipped to -27C in winter. A loop of Loch Muick is manageable for most; those seeking more can bag the several Munros that loom above, which includes the majestic Lochnagar and the dramatic drop to the water below. An early start to enjoy the isolation and tranquillity of this special place is recommended.

Capes, cliffs and wildflower meadows, Durness

At the top of Scotland, the daylong coastal walk starts at the ferry crossing from Durness to Cape Wrath, through wildflower machair meadows, dunes and along sand cliffs. Best of all is to go when the tide is out, when you can walk in the middle of the wide sandy estuary. Round the top you can finish at Balnakeil craft village, in time for hot chocolate at Cocoa Mountain, or continue to the beautiful Balnakeil Bay.

Winning tip: walking in wonderful circles on Kerrera

Take the West Highland line from Glasgow to Oban; within an hour you’re trundling through the rolling Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park. A 30-minute wander and a wee ferry hop across the Sound of Kerrera … you arrive. On Kerrera, as you meander the circular walk that skirts this tiny island, your walking buddies will be wild goats and the odd seal. Homemade delights await en route at the Tea Garden before Gylen Castle rises before you. Pause to take in big views out to Mull and the Slate Islands before meandering back – via Balliemore Farm for an ice-cream – to the ferry port.

Please use the comments to tell us about your own favourite trips in Scotland’s countryside