Trail running in Scotland

Everything you need to know about trail running in Scotland

From £50/day All year round 1/2 day+ Beginners to experts

Scotland is laced with an endless network of world-class trail running terrain with drovers’ roads and stalkers’ paths that have been in use for centuries.

Whether it is a point to point crossing of Scotland or a weekend exploring the finest local trails we will help you to find the best running and an adventure to suit any level.

On all of our guided trips we will travel as a group, finding a pace that suits everyone and allows us time to take in our magnificent surroundings. This is not a race but a mountain running experience.

Trailrunning in Scotland

Runners are spoilt for choice when it comes to remote trails in Scotland. Dramatic mountains, stunning lochs and rugged coastlines are around every corner and it’s hard to go for a run without encountering some stunning scenery. Many of the best trails though are point-to-point. While these linear routes are logistically more complex than circular trails, they are worth the effort for the immense satisfaction you get from journeying through wild or remote terrain.

10 of Scotland’s best trail running routes for adventure-seekers

Whether you prefer to follow a waymarked route or use your own navigation skills, this bucket list has something for everyone.

1. Two Lairigs, Glencoe

-Best for: Remote mountain ‘feel’ but with roadside access
-Distance: 12km (or 14km if you run back to the start)
-Where: Glencoe, West Highlands
-What: This trail circumnavigates the base of Buachaille Etive Beag by ascending the Lairig Eilde and descending the Lairig Gartain. Expect fantastic mountain views all along its length.
-Best bit: The highest point of the Lairig Gartain (the col is marked with a cairn). Look behind you as breathtaking views open up towards Loch Etive.
-Level of difficulty: 2/5 – It’s not too long and the trail is well-defined.
-More info: Best undertaken in an anti-clockwise direction to avoid meeting a (sometimes impassable) burn at the very end! There is a 2k section of boggy roadside trail to get back to the start, but this can be missed out if you have two cars.

2. Lairig Ghru, Cairngorms

-Best for: A runnable adventure of epic proportion
-Distance: 30.5k
-Where: The Lairig Ghru is the most well-known pass in Scotland and bisects the Cairngorm National Park from Speyside to Deeside.
-What: The trail is deceptively gradual, climbing to a high point of 835m. Here, runners suddenly find themselves in a remote location, which feels very exposed in poor weather (it is often snowbound in winter). The trail also becomes a jumble of boulders, which certainly slows the pace, but the views are fantastic.
-Best bit: The fabulous descent that sweeps down beyond the Pools of Dee is a trail-runner’s dream.
-Level of difficulty: 3/5 – The length and remoteness of this trail means it’s is not to be underestimated.
-More info: Best completed north to south.

3. West Highland Way, West Highlands

-Best for: Ultra-distance classic with a long ‘running history’.
-Distance: 154km.
-Where: Milngavie to Fort William.
-What: Scotland’s most popular National Trail is waymarked and usually completed in a south-to-north direction, leaving the most challenging sections for its latter stages. The journey tackles every kind of terrain; country parks, loch shores, open moorlands and mountain trail.
-Best bit: The Devil’s Staircase, Glencoe. This viewpoint is hard-won but the reward of spectacular views over both Buachialle Etive Mor and the Mamore mountain range in Lochaber make it worth it.
-Level of difficulty: 4/5 – There is nothing technical here, it’s just very long!
-More info: The route is home to the ultramarathons the West Highland Way Race, Highland Fling, and Devil o’ the Highlands. While many choose to tackle this trail as a multi-stage ultrarunning challenge, each stage should be seen as a great trail run in its own right.

4. Bennachie, Aberdeenshire

-Best for: Accessible hill running experience with rocky summits
-Distance: 9.25km
-Where: Bennachie is an upland plateau with several rocky tops. It’s also the most popular hill in Aberdeenshire. This trail takes in the two highest peaks of Bennachie
-What: Fast running on flowing trails through heathery ground link Oxen Craig and Mither Tap. Follow signs and spongy forestry trails back to Bennachie Visitor Centre.
-Best bit: Ascending out of the forest and gaining the view across to Millstone. Plus, getting your hands dirty with some easy scrambling on the rocky tors.
-Level of difficulty: 2/5 – Moderate ascent and medium distance make this a good all-rounder.

5. Loch Affric, Glen Affric

-Best for: ‘Bang for your buck’ in the mountains
-Distance: 18km
-Where: Picturesque Loch Affric in the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve
-What: A circuit of two halves – the trail on the south side of the loch is a major vehicle track with stunning views, while the other side is an undulating singletrack. Both offer excellent running with a reasonably flat profile.
-Best bit: Lochside trail with gnarled ancient woodland and fantastic sweeping views. Even the drive to the start is stunning!
-Level of difficulty: 2/5 – The (mainly) waymarked trail and low overall ascent profile make this a distinctly doable adventure.

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