In 2013, the Year of Natural Scotland, why not explore our six favourite Scottish walks? We've selected some of the most challenging as well as the most serene Scottish trails, so whether you're a hiking newcomer or an old hand, you'll find your perfect walk in Scotland.
Beinn Alligin, Wester Ross
Beinn Alligin is a mountainous route for adventurers. It's home to two Munros – Tom na Gruagaich at 922m and Sgurr Mor at 986m – as well as the Horns of Alligin. It'll take all day to walk the full route, including both summits and the Horns, but it's well worth it by the end. The path offers up a fair set of obstacles in summer, but be more cautious about ascending the Horns in winter, when there may be snow or ice on the ground.
Quinag offers walkers of all abilities an excellent chance to experience steep cliffs and dizzying drops without the difficulty and danger posed by more difficult climbs. The mountain reaches 808m but hikers benefit from the car park's position 250m up from ground level. The summit of Quinag offers spectacular views over some of Scotland's oldest geological gems.
Tentsmuir Forest, Fife
Set in north-east Fife, Tentsmuir Forest covers 1500 hectares of glorious Scottish wilderness. The forest is almost entirely bordered by water, and is packed with paths and tracks used by walkers, hikers and ramblers. Tentsmuir Forest is a great gentle walk in Scotland for wildlife enthusiasts, and is well worth visiting after nightfall if you're interested in capturing a glimpse of one of the forest's many species of bats during the walk.
Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh
This one's for city-dwellers that want to take a break from the urban life every now and again. Arthur's Seat is located in the middle of Scotland's capital city, but that doesn't make it any less of a natural beauty. Arthur's Seat is the remnant of an extinct volcanic plug which climbs 251m tall. There's a gentle road for casual walkers who don't mind missing out on the very peak, but more avid hikers will want to take the more difficult route right to the summit.
Ben Nevis, Invernesshire
Ben Nevis is famous as the highest mountain in Britain, peaking at 1,344m. There are two routes to the summit: one is known as the 'tourist path' and ascends steadily from Glen Nevis, and another scales buttresses, corries and crags, and is not for the faint-hearted. Whichever way you choose, you'll be able to enjoy stunning views over Scotland from the peak.
Iona is a walker's paradise. A small island in the Inner Hebrides with a rich monastic history, it measures just one mile by 3.5 miles. Iona is ideal for walkers more in the market for a gentle and peaceful amble than an uphill struggle, and the island is also home to Iona Abbey, a church dating back to the middle ages.
Climbing any of the Scottish mountains can be a serious undertaking in any season and should only be done with appropriate preparation and equipment. Information correct at time of publishing.