Okay, so I'm most likely going to Scotland this summer on a hiking trip. Our plan (so far) is to fly into Edinburgh or Glasgow and stay for a few days before heading up to Milngavie, then spend some 7-10 days hiking the West Highland Way up to Fort William.
After we reach Fort William we don't really have any plans, but somehow we have to get back to Edinburgh/Glasgow to catch a flight home.
SO! My questions
Which city would you recommend, Glasgow or Edinburgh? I know we can do both, but I guess we'll have to favour one over the other. Personally I'd pick Edinburgh I think, but seeing as I've been to neither of the two, I don't really know what that's based on :P
Does anyone have any experience with hiking the West Highland Way? If so, how was it, any tips? Things not to forget, how long did it take, etc?
Is it legal to camp out in the wild in Scotland if, of course, it's away from built-up areas like it is in Sweden? (Norway too I think). Or is it only legal to camp at designated camp sites?
Any ideas on what to do once we reach Fort William? Things not to miss while we're there, etc
Is august an okay time to hike? I've read it can be hell with the midges and that it's the peak of the tourist season, but we don't really have any other possibilities. Is it really that bad?
West Highland Way
I'd love to help you with this question - I have done the West Highland Way - and I live in Scotland - so have lots of opinions - but I am heading out the door now and am busy for two days - just wanted to let you know I am here and want to help.
Of course, you can help me help you by telling me a bit more about the people who are with you, your likes and interests, fitness level and so on.
I would rather make my suggestion regards the city choice once I know what you will like rather than express my own preference (which changes with my mood and where I was last time!).
The WHW can be a bit boring and can be a sod for midges, so I will try to guide you on that too. Where are you planning to stay? What budget? How many of you? What equipment do you have? How far do you walk a day? (It is legal to camp wild but because of the numbers walking the WHW and because of some friction with land owners, this needs to be exercised carefully - it is a long narrow route with a lot of walkers - can get a bit too busy in places).
OK - really must go now.
You can email me here again or direct:
I live in Orkney = www.allfivesenses.com
Have a great day!
I managed a cafe in Old town Edinburgh for a year in 2005. I don't know much about hiking but be aware that you are planning on visiting Edinburgh during the fringe festival. It is a packed out mad house with thousands upon thousands of people coming from around the world. This is either a bad or good thing for you. You could see the tattoo, which is a must! But also pay a lot more for accommodation. Best to book well in advance. It was a given in the hostel that I stayed at the price per week during the fringe went from 55-80pounds. Check out Castle rock Hostel or Brodie's Hostels. They are right on the royal mile.
Good luck, its a wonderful city.
Oh I just remembered, a friend of mine went hiking in Scotland during Aug-Sep in 05... we took photos of his back when he returned, he was completely covered with bites. BRING LOTS OF REPELLENT!
Hello Magnus !
Between Glasgow and Edinburgh, I would strongly recommend Edinburgh as it is much more Scottish and nice old-fashioned if you see what I mean, nice things to see (there are some things to see in Glasgow but it's a bit of a grey city and very modern).
I do think you can camp out in the wild legally in Scotland, I did it myself but I do not know the law for sure. I don't think you would get caught anyway if you were far from built-up areas but I think it is legal indeed.
About the midges, I think it is only in the wild. You won't get much of them in the cities but if you camp... I camped there near Inverness last year and I got absolutely mad but it was in June. Maybe it is not as bad in August. Check about this but do remember to take something against them !!
I don't know wether it's legal to camp anywhere in Scotland, but I've done it a few times and have never had any issues. There are also many designated campsites. I lived in Scotland in '02-'03 and spent most of that time living in Edinburgh. You have definitely chosen a mad time of year to be in Edinburgh, but the atmosphere in the city is amazing then. Lively and happy... there's so much to do and see. You are more likely to spend money though, which is tough if you're on a budget. And accom is hard to come by since many hostels don't take bookings and work on a first come first serve basis. I recommend you take on the experience.
Ok basically the law in Scotland since 2005 is that you have access to any piece of land (with a few exceptions) and are allowed to camp, however this is only the case if you use the land responsibly - don't leave litter, dig holes, start campfires, use the land as an outdoor toilet or camp next to people's houses/in a field which is used for crops. If you obey these basic rules then you shouldn't have any problems. There's a guide on this issue at - http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/default.asp?PageRef=1.