10 of the best winter walks in Scotland

Wednesday, 10th January 2018, 5:01 pm
Updated Monday, 24th December 2018, 2:36 pm

Scotland's cities and mountains rarely look more beautiful than when blanketed in a layer of snow or frost.

Though the frigid temperatures encourage most to stay as close to a source of heat as possible, walkers needn't let their hiking boots gather dust.

Experiencing the nippy conditions is well worth it for the extraordinary views of a wintry Scotland.

Roslin Glen, Midlothian

Roslin Glen (Photo: Wullie Brown)

Situated south of Edinburgh this walk explores the extraordinary ruins of Rosslyn Castle and its picturesque surrounding area.

Start at Rosslyn Chapel, the site of the final scenes of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code before descending to Roslin Glen - this is well signposted.

From here follow the River North Esk and explore an ancient gunpowder mill, before heading to the 16th century Rosslyn Castle.

Standard: Beginner

Rothiemurchus Forest and the Iron Bridge, Cairngorms

Rothiemurchus Forest (Photo: Nick Crainey)

This remnant of the ancient Caledonian forest is home to some of Scotland's most spectacular wildlife including; Capercailles, ospreys and wild cats.

A circuit route taking in the Iron Bridge and views of Scotland's moody giants - the Cairngorm Mountains - is a winter's day well spent.

The Iron Bridge was built by members of Cairngorm Club in 1912.

Standard: Beginner

Faskally, Perthshire

Loch Faskally (Photo: JP)

Though Faskally attracts its largest crowds in Ocotber and November when it's lit up by a sea of lights known as the Enchanted Forest, the wooded area is also well worth a visit in winter.

Loch Faskally is sandwiched between steep sections of forest - a circuit of the mad-made reservoir makes for an leisurely and pleasant stroll.

Standard: Beginner

Water of Leith, Edinburgh

Dean Village on the banks of the Water of Leith (Photo: Shutterstock)

Carving the west of Edinburgh in two the Water of Leith is an oasis of peace from its source in the Pentland Hills to its mouth into the River Forth.

There are several routes which can be taken along the body of water, including from the Modern art gallery to Roseburn, and from picturesque Dean Village to Leith - each of them is as intriguing as the next.

If experienced, a walker can trace the river's full 35 kilometre length.

Standard: Beginner

The Hermitage, Perthshire

The Hermitage is home to several follies (Photo: Shutterstock)

Located just off the A9 near Dunkeld, this wooded walk is peppered with ethereal Victorian follies and picture-perfect waterfalls.

Start by following the River Braan past Ossian's Hall and continue until you reach Ossian's Cave. From here follow the signs for Braan path to Rumbling Bridge.

Standard: Beginner

The Balmoral Cairns, Aberdeenshire

It is worth pairing a walk to the Balmoral Cairns with a visit to Balmoral Castle (Photo: Shutterstock)

Follow in the footsteps of the Royals in Deeside and study the cairn stones erected by the blue blooded family throughout the 1800s - the highlight of which is undoubtedly the pyramid shaped Prince Albert cairn.

Consider pairing this walk with a visit to Balmoral Castle - just as long as her majesty isn't present.

Standard: Intermediate

Beinn Fhionnlaidh, Argyll

The view southwest from Beinn Fhionnlaidh's summit (Photo: Finlay Greig)

If equipped with crampons and an ice-axe a back and forth hike up this munro makes for an excellent winter walk.

Translating as Finlay's mountain, this Argyll peak is easy enough to navigate in clear conditions and offers stupendous views of the Isle of Mull to the west and Ben Starav to the southeast.

Standard: experienced

Ben Chonzie, Perthshire

Ben Chonzie's summit (Photo: Jan Zeschky/Flickr)

Munro baggers looking to get their first taste of mountaineering should consider trying Ben Chonzie on a calm winter's day.

In summer, Ben Chonzie from Glen Lednock is as easy as they come, however, in icy or snowy conditions the Perthshire peak is a different prospect altogether. Views of Glen Turret from the munro's peak are excellent.

Standard: experienced

Ben Lomond, Trossachs

Ben Lomond from Quinloch Muir (Photo: Alan Ingram)

Ben Lomond is Scotland's busiest peak, so walkers who enjoy their own company might prefer to tackle the mountain in winter.

Walkers should hike up the south ridge's well-trodden path to the top before considering if it is safe to descend the less popular Ptarmigan ridge.

Standard: experienced

Fionn Bheinn, Torridon

View of the Torridon hill from Fionn Bheinn (Photo: Stuart Gordon/Flickr)

Among the rugged and imposing peaks of Torridon sits Fionn Bheinn: a relatively accesible munro and a fantastic viewpoint for the region.

Though rounded, a walk up Fionn Bheinn in winter is anything but dull. On a winter's day a view from this humble peak delivers some of the finest views in the country.

Standard: experienced