Thursday, 27 December 2012

Fabulous Scottish winter walks

With a covering of snow on the peaks of Scotland's hills and mountains and a clear, bright day there can be few better times for a walk. While spring and summer are alive with nature and autumn is a bounty of colour, winter reveals its own spectacular scenery and tranquillity.

Here we bring you five great walks to try this festive season. Remember, too, that Glentrek offers a wealth of expertise on walking in Scotland and will be only too happy to offer guidance to a fabulous walk or trek.

Cateran Trail: Cutting a superb 64-mile walking route through Angus and Perthshire, the Cateran Trail is one of Glentrek's favourite walks. Choose one of five lovely stages and set off to explore the countryside that was renowned for caterans (or rustlers). The second stage is from Kirkmichael via Enochdhu to Spittal of Glenshee and offers a refreshing eight-mile route. 

Den of AlythWoodlands are stunning at any time of year and we particularly enjoy the stark features during the winter months. Head to the wooded valley near Alyth, by Kirriemuir, to walk a short but delightful route close to the tumbling Burn of Alyth.

Drummond Hill walk: Follow a waymarked walking route at Drummond Hill, near Kenmore, Perthshire. The straight up and back walk of about 3.5 miles takes your gently to Black Rock viewpoint with splendid views over Loch Tay. 

Strathdon ridge walk: An eight-mile hike takes you along the fab Glenbuchat ridge, near Strathdon. The walk starts from the ruins of Glenbuchat Castle with the route taking you along the ridge high above the glen. On a winter’s day, the chances are you will meet no-one else!

Winter Munro: If you have been walking Munros in summer, why not walk one in winter, too? Meall Chuaich, near Drumochter, will take you off the beaten track for around five hours and reveals lovely views over Badenoch and Strathspey.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Cairngorms listed in top 50 greatest places on Earth

Of course, here at Glentrek, we already rate the Cairngorms very, very highly. With the national park on our doorstep, we’re intimately familiar with its beautiful and magnificent landscape. And now leading worldwide publication, the National Geographic, has ranked the Cairngorms among the last great places on Earth

The list includes other such places as unspoiled beauty, such as Madagascar, the Gobi Desert and the Galapagos Islands.

The US magazine has included the Cairngorms in its 50 of the World’s Last Great Places, describing it as a “destination of a lifetime”.

And Scottish promoters could not be more thrilled. VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay is reported as saying: “Our country boasts some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, so it’s no surprise the Cairngorms has been named as a must-visit destination by National Geographic.”

And Duncan Bryden, convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, added: “We are absolutely delighted with this accolade and to be the only UK entry is simply fantastic.”

In a press release, a spokesman for National Geographic said: “Our spirits are refreshed by such pristine locations as the Cairngorms.”

If you’re looking for a great Christmas present for someone special why not treat them to a guided walking trip to the Cairngorms (Glentrek can help!)? You can also buy them “50 of the World’s Last Great Places” published by National Geographic for £6.99.

Friday, 2 November 2012

New Scottish national walking trail

Scotland’s amazing stable of long-distance walks has been given another boost with the launch of its longest ever walk. The Gore-Tex Scottish National Trail stretches an amazing 470 miles from the south of Scotland to the far north west.

Launched earlier this week in Edinburgh – where the walking route passes through – it is hoped that the new walking route will put Scotland firmly on the radars of even more overseas visitors.

The trail is the brainchild of writer and broadcaster, Cameron McNeish. Reported in Scotland’s national newspaper The Herald, Cameron said: “I wanted to re-discover my country for myself, especially those areas I wasn't so familiar with, and in doing so walked a route I believe can stand comparison with the best routes anywhere in the world."

His website adds: The Gore-Tex Scottish National Trail will become “one of the iconic walking routes of the world” thanks to a combination of variety and quality of walking through the Scottish landscape.”

Starting in Kirk Yetholm the route heads first for Scotland’s capital Edinburgh before walkers take canal paths west towards Milngavie, near Glasgow. The route then goes north towards Aviemore.

The final section of the walk stretches almost 120 miles from Badenoch to Cape Wrath, much of it following the existing Cape Wrath Trail.

Other trails followed as part of this longer route include the Rob Roy Way from Drymen to Pitlochry in Perthshire. This is an area that Glentrek knows really well!

The route will not have its own waymarkers, except for new plaques at Kirk Yetholm, the Water of Leith Visitor Centre in Edinburgh and Cape Wrath.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

10-year-old twin girls bag a full Munro round

If you are struggling to find the energy or motivation to go walking, perhaps this heart-warming tale will give you a push. For 10-year-old twin girls Cliona and Nuala McCheyne recently finished a full round of Scotland’s 282 Munros.

The girls, from Dunoon, have been walking Munros sine they were aged only four and with their parents Diane and Neil they have spent many weekends enjoying themselves on Scotland mountains.

What are the Munros?

The Munros are mountains with a summit of at least 3,000ft (914.4m) and are located across Scotland. The were first identified by Sir Hugh Munro in the early 19th century and since then several thousand people have walked the full round of 282 Munros.

But many people take decades to walk all the Munros, and never have the Munros been completed by children so young. For mum and dad, it has taken 26 years to finish the full round, while the family dog, West Highland terrier, Aonach, is still on 224 Munros.

One of the twins, Cliona is reported as saying: “It’s been great fun doing them. We’ve never found them scary. Our mum is a bit scared of heights so we always have to encourage her.”

Of course, no one is saying that you need to go out and embark on the full Munro round challenge. You could simply try bagging a few Munros for starters. In fact, in Angus and the surrounding there are some of the easiest Munros.

As with any hike in the countryside, it is important that you know how to navigate yourself safely by map and compass before setting out, especially if the weather forecast is poor. Glentrek offer hill walking navigation courses, should you be interested.

The twin girls were able to learn map reading skills as part of their family Munro bagging trips. Mum Diane is reported as saying: “The girls have learnt so much doing the Munros, like how to map-read. It’s been a huge learning curve for them.

“We’re so proud. It’s a remarkable achievement for anyone. We didn’t set out to break a record. We just did it so we could spend time together and we’ve loved every minute of it."

Easier Munros to bag

The Cairnwell and Carn Aosda

Dreish and Mayar


Mount Keen

Ben Chonzie

If you would like any information about bagging Munros, or would like some guiding assistance do please get in touch.