Outdoors in the Highlands
Walking & Cycling in the Highlands
Discover some of the amazing walking and cycling opportunities in the Highlands, something for everyone from family friendly trails to challenging Munros and of course the UK’s highest peak Ben Nevis all in an area of outstanding natural beauty. For links to walks whilst in the Highlands download the free Visitor Attractions Guide.
NEW Loch Ness 360 – The “official” start of the Loch Ness 360° is the same as the official start of the Great Glen Way – Inverness Castle:-) But as the Loch Ness 360° is a circular trail, you can actually walk it in either direction and start anywhere along the route! The new Loch Ness 360° Trail starts in Inverness and takes you around the whole of the famous Loch (5-6 days hiking) – 116km of beautiful Highland scenery, challenging ascents, views, history…and maybe even a glimpse on Nessie?
The Great Glen Way and the Cairngorms National Park; both provide outstanding landscape for spectacular Scottish country walks. There is a wide variety of terrain and difficulty to suit all levels of walkers. You can take a leisurely stroll along the Caledonian Canal or for those who want to make an adventure out of it you can continue you for 22 miles cutting through four lochs to Fort William. Alternatively, the Cairngorms National Park offers many walks and of course Munros to challenge even the most adventurous hill walkers.
The Affric Kintail Way is a fully signposted, superb cross-country route for walkers and mountain bikers stretching almost 44 miles from Drumnadrochit on Loch Ness to Morvich in Kintail by Loch Duich. Given the proximity to the Great Glen Way (Inverness – Fort William) it is quite possible to extend your route to/from Drumnadrochit to Inverness and enjoy a spectacular coast to coast trek. Those who come to travel the Affric Kintail Way can add to their trip by taking advantage of what is available in the surrounding areas, from the Monster Exhibitions and Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness to Munro bagging in Glen Affric and the superb Kintail mountains and other great attractions such as the Falls of Glomach and Eilean Donan Castle.
Inverness City walks, you don’t have to drive to enjoy a fantastic walk in this lovely city. You can leisurely stroll along the banks of the River Ness, across the Ness Islands together with the Caledonian Canal, give a superb urban circuit, whilst Craig Phadraig, site of an old iron age fort, can be seen from most of the city. Below are 3 popular jogging routes that enable you to stretch your legs and see the city landscape all leave from the hotel entrance:
Route 1: From Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa to Ness Islands – approx 30/40 mins
- Turn right outside the front of the hotel and head upstream passing the Cathedral and Eden Court Theatre.
- Follow the river upstream passing the Infirmary suspension bridge and later the fishing hut. You will soon come to a path with lots of trees with the Bught Park playing fields on the right. Continue down the path until you see the white bridge over to Ness Islands.
- Cross over and turn either left or right and follow the path through the islands heading in the general direction of the Hotel. You will come out on the other side of the river so simply turn left and follow the river downstream, passed the infirmary bridge again right down to the road bridge and back to the hotel.
- Similar Route already run on Map My Run it is also a Blue Route for Walkers.
Route 2: Palace Favourite – Infirmary Bridge Run approx 10/15 mins
- Turn right outside the front of the hotel and head upstream passing the Cathedral and Eden Court Theatre. You will see the Infirmary bridge from this point. Follow the river upstream until you reach the Infirmary suspension foot bridge, cross over and head back towards the castle and road bridge then back to the Hotel.
- A nice quick run if you are short of time but want to stretch your legs.
Route 3: The Canal Run approx 1hr 30 mins
- Turn right outside the front of the hotel and head upstream passing the Cathedral and Eden Court theatre.
- Follow the river upstream passing the Infirmary suspension bridge and later the fishing hut. You will soon come to a path with lots of trees with the Bught Park playing fields on the right. At the end of the playing fields and opposite the white bridge turn right and head towards the Aquadome swimming pool. You will pass the ice rink on your left.
- Take the second left at the end of the road as if you are going into the Aquadome and go right through their car park past the Floral Hall.
- Turn right at the road before the rugby pitches and run right up to the end of the road. On your left is the Canal.
- Turn left and follow the canal path for approximately 10 minutes until you get to the opening where you can see the canal and river (bit of an optical illusion). There are steps to the left so go down these and you end up at the bottom of the rugby pitches.
- Head towards the Club House and then back onto the road turning right and following the road down to Whin Park. Go onto the path to the right and head back downstream passed the Archive Centre (on the left) until you get back to the White Bridge.
- Cross over and turn either left or right and follow the path through Ness Islands heading in the general direction of the Hotel.
- You will come out on the other side of the river so simply turn left and follow the river downstream, passed the Infirmary bridge again right down to the road bridge and back to the hotel. Similar Run shown here on Map My Run Jogging
Get on your Bike
Scotland’s is world–renowned for its rugged beauty. What better way of appreciating it than on the back of a bike. Scottish Highland landscapes offer all types of terrain to traverse, from idyllic cycle rides around beautiful lochs, to the most rugged mountain biking challenges. There are many mountain bike trails to suit all abilities. Check out:
- Ticket to Ride Highlands for some of the most popular cycle routes in the Inverness area – located in Bellfield Park it offers road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes as well as kids’ bikes for hire.
- Inverness Bike Hire – located in the city centre it rents out hybrid bikes only.
- Highland Bike Rental – offers both hybrid and mountain bikes as well as kids’ bikes and electric bikes to help lighten the load.
Some great Links…
Here are some excellent specialist links for walking and cycling in the Highlands:
- Walk the Highlands and Loch Ness & Inverness
- Visit Scotland Walking in the Highlands
- Cycling & Mountain Biking in the Highlands
- Paths around Inverness
For other ideas for day trips whilst in the Highlands download the free including bike hire as well Visitor Attractions Guide.