There are now four officially designated Long Distance Routes (LDR's) in Scotland which were established under the Countryside (Scotland) Act 1967.
The West Highland Way, Speyside Way, Great Glen Way and Southern Upland Way. These routes provide continuous paths through some of Scotland’s finest landscapes. They have been created by linking together existing paths which had been used for droving, commerce and for pilgrimage with the provision of new paths where there were gaps.
All are waymarked with the LDR symbol of a thistle within a hexagon and are carefully managed and maintained to a high standard to provide the best possible experience for the Long Distance Route user.
The Highland Council is involved in the management and development of the West Highland Way, The Great Glen Way and The Speyside Way with the Southern Upland Way managed jointly by Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway Councils.
The West Highland Way is 152km (95 miles) long.
The walk links Milngavie to Fort William - from the outskirts of Scotland’s largest city to the foot of its highest mountain, following the shores of its largest freshwater loch. It passes from the lowlands, across the Highland Boundary Fault and on into the
The Great Glen Way is Scotland's latest formal long distance walking route. This magnificent 75 mile/117km way-marked route stretches from Fort William in the west to Inverness in the east. The route traverses Britain's greatest geological fault.
The Speyside Way was first opened in 1981, and currently links Buckie on the Moray coast with Aviemore within the Cairngorms National Park. The route offers mainly easy walking on low ground with a mixture of seashore, river valley, old railway and moorland passing some of Speyside‘s famous distilleries a total distance of 84 miles (135 km).
The Southern Upland Way
(Dumfries and Galloway/Borders)
The Southern Upland Way is Britain’s first official coast to coast long distance footpath. It runs 212 miles (340km) from Portpatrick on the south-west coast of Scotland to Cockburnspath on the eastern seaboard.
For more information:-
Scotland's Great Trails
Scotland's Great Trails - where will they take you?
Including the four national Long Distance Routes, Scotland's Great Trails are nationally promoted trails for people-powered journeys. Each is distinctively waymarked, largely off-road and has a range of visitor services. With each trail being at least 25 miles in length, all are suitable for multi-day journeys as well as day trips.
Collectively, the 20 different routes provide over 1300 miles of well managed paths from the Borders to the Highlands, offering great opportunities to explore the best of Scotland's nature and landscapes and to experience our amazing history and culture.
"It’s not necessarily about completing the route, unless that’s what you’re into, it’s about getting out there, coming close to nature and getting your free fix of countryside. They’re easy to follow, anyone can do them and there’s one near you."