Trekking in the heart of the Highlands

A feeling of being wild and free

It is already past dinnertime, yet the sun still stands high in the sky at this time of the year. Craigmore, a hill just above the town of Aberfoyle, lies in golden light and invites for a beautiful evening walk. It takes about an hour, and I am alone up there watching the sun set. The wind is strong and fresh and by the temperature you may be surprised that it is already June. However, for hiking I find it quite right and enjoy the wind, which always gives me that feeling of being wild free. 

Trekking in a quiet corner of the Highlands

It is not my first time in Scotland, and I have been hiking in the Scottish Highlands many times before, yet it is my first time guiding a trek and I am looking forward to a week of hiking from the Lowlands around Drymen just north of Glasgow to the heart of the Eastern Highlands at Pitlochry. I have deliberately chosen quiet paths away from the buzz of the the West Highland Way, the most known long-distance trail of the highlands. I want my group to feel the peace of the Highlands that I love so much about this remote mountain range.

With the sun on our side

And Scotland is kind enough to deliver on all my hopes. The first part of the week is full of sunshine and easy walking along tranquil cycling paths and farm roads. We even dare to wear shorts and swim in one of the many lakes along the way. After two days the group falls into the routine of meeting at breakfast, walking for 4-5 hours with a lunch break halfway through. The afternoons are free, and we can roam around the various little towns we stay at, topping up on lunch supplies and souvenirs in the local shops or going on a little afternoon stroll to one of the surrounding hills. In the evenings we eat in typical Scottish pubs and try many of the local brews that are special to the region.

Right through the heart of the Highlands

Halfway we arrive in Killin at Loch Tay where we start walking on narrower paths through the heart of the Highlands high above the lake. The scenery changes from green meadows to wild vast land covered in beacon and heather. The temperature drops and rain showers are more frequent yet always interrupted by sunny spells. Grazing sheep with their lambs become a constant companion in the following days.

Sleep, eat, hike, repeat

By now the group has fully arrived in this peaceful corner of the world. The quiet scenery has a calming effect that is hard to describe, and no words can do it justice. It is like a drug that makes your heart feel light yet a healthy one. In these few days you already feel how your body adapts – how your lungs grow stronger, your legs carry you further, and the rucksack on your back feels lighter each day.

A place to to return to

On our last day we walk along the river Tay and through a yellow sea of Scottish broom with wide views over the Highlands that we crossed in the last seven days. I look back at days filled with deep and thoughtful chats, lots of laughter, and quiet moments where we followed our own thoughts. One thing is certain – I will be back for sure next year!