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Loch Lomond national park tours - footwear

Seems like a silly question, but bear with me, please. As part of my extended trip throughout England and Scotland, I plan a daytrip to Loch Lomond (like this one from Rabbies:

It does list a nature walk, and elsewhere mentions that terrains might be slippery. To those who have taken this or a similar tour: is it easily doable without hiking boots (wearing just regular walking shoes)?

My hiking shoes are ankle-high and take up half my suitcase. There's no way I can wear them on the plane either, and I won't need them for any other excursions, since my trip is this month. Seems very wasteful to pack a single-use item, but on the other hand, I don't want to end up in the hospital with a twisted ankle either.

Thoughts/ advice?

Posted by
15 posts

Hi Ellen,

My husband and I just spent half of July in Scotland (a week not too far from Loch Lomond) and a month in UK, overall. We also spent two weeks in Scotland during August 2011. If you are concerned about getting your walking shoes muddy/dirty, then you do not want to wear them on the walk/hike- even on well-worn trails, as there is a good chance you will encounter mud. It rained more often than not during our July 2015 trip through UK and ever day during our August 2011 trip.

I hope that helps.

Happy Travles!

Posted by
5678 posts

Yes, it's the mud--and the bogs. I have found that except for the highly groomed trails in gardens the Scottish trails and paths tend to be muddy, boggy, rocky and beautiful. :) I am always glad that I have my boots. I wear them onto the plane and then change into more comfortable shoes once I am seated. I tied them onto my backpack when getting off the plane unless I'm transferring to another flight in which case I put them back on.


Posted by
5835 posts

You should inquire with the tour provider as to the roughness of the walking element of the tour. Parts of the West Highland Way follow the eastern shore of Loch Lomond and reported the areas that Rob Roy roamed. Some of the track is rough in comparison to Western US trails and sturdy boots with traction would be a good idea. However, that said, the tour provider may take you to easier walking section of the Loch.


Boots – Your boots are the most important item of equipment as far as
comfort is concerned. Many parts of the Way are rugged and good
quality walking boots are essential. Make sure that they fit and break
them in thoroughly before starting the walk, as new boots can become
very uncomfortable and may cause blisters. In summer, you might get
away with a pair of light trail shoes on less rugged parts of the Way
but these do not provide ankle support and are not likely to be
waterproof so expect to get cold, wet feet if it rains.

Socks – There are many good quality socks designed specifically for
walkers and these are highly recommended. The high natural fibre
content makes them very comfortable to wear. Some people prefer to
wear a thinner lining sock, preferably silk, under their walking
socks. These have the advantage of being easy to wash and dry quickly
so you can change them more often.

Posted by
5835 posts

As an aside, the diversion for some tasting at the Glengoyne Distillery was worth leaving the West Highland Way path.

Posted by
5678 posts

I would agree that you should probably ask Rabbie's tour. But I think it's been a cool damp summer, so that means more mud and bog. The nice thing about having the boots is that you just get to squelch on through it all!


Posted by
5 posts

Ellen, my family and I were just in the Highlands for the last week in July and we wore our hiking shoes practically everyday, if not because of hikes, for the grip they provided on all of the stone on footpaths, old castle ruins, and the like. I would say those shoes were the best item we packed with the exception of the rain jacket. :)

Having said that, you could make sure to pack some plastic bags to hold muddy shoes and keep some slip-on shoes to change if you only think you need them for one outing. It was an annoying investment at first I will say to buy them (x6!), but you could wear the boots on the flight to save room in the luggage. Also, some of my kids opted for hiking shoes which looked more like sneakers/trainers and didn't have the ankle height to them. For all six of us - and we all wore some type of hiking shoe - the benefit came from the fact that they were thick soled and had good tread for wet conditions, and were waterproof which helped more with the kids but also with the muck (as I called it). The height of them did not make a difference for the activities we did.

You will have a great trip! I was nervous with all the talk of the rain, but it was definitely manageable and we even had some sunny spots here and there. It was amazing. :)