I am beginning research into self-guided inn-to-inn walks in Scotland (using a company to reserve accommodations and transfer bags). The various itineraries all look interesting, so to help with the decision process I am interested in hearing about walks you, the reader, many have taken, or companies you may have used. Thank you.
We booked the West Highland Way walk through Contours Walking Holidays and were pleased with the service. Contours booked overnight accommodations and luggage transfers. The company also provided a copy of the "official" trail guide book, maps and written detailed instructions. Instructions included specific directions to find our overnight accommodations and what to expect during the day with respect to food opportunities etc. Accommodations varied from B&Bs to small inns and were all very satisfactory.
Do you have a certain region of Scotland in mind? It's a big place, especially when brought down to the scale of what you can cover on foot. Indicating where in Scotland you're considering would help us know how to give advice relevant to your plans.
epitd -- I do not have a region of Scotland of mind; that is one of the areas for which I am seeking suggestions. I am interested in all walking tours, rather than routes that require the traveler to have a car (some I saw that include islands require cars to get to ferries or to drive part of the route etc.). I am open to suggestions/comments about all areas of Scotland.
Long distance inn to inn walks in the UK are relatively easy to do using alternative modes of transportation other than private car (trains, bus/coach etc). As noted, we have used Contours for three walking routes accessed by train and/or bus. Contours provides specific advice as to getting to/from the start/finish points.
Using our WHW walk as an illustration, we took a coach from Edinburgh to Glasgow, then a local bus to Milngavie for an overnight at a B&B before the start of the walk. The B&B was located a couple hundred meters from the WHW start. Concluding the walk a week later in Fort William, we returned to Glasgow by a scenic West Highland Line train.
We are using Macsadventures.com this September to walk The Great Glen Way. We used them in France last year in Alsace and had a blast. We have also hiked in Italy using NicholsExpeditions.com Both of these offer the self guided, luggage transfer, all accomodations pre-booked.
Here is the direct link to Macsadventures Scotland hikes:
I've had both companies customize the self guided tours. In Italy, Nichols added a cooking class for us in a small family run B & B, and this September, since the Great Glen Way 1st two days are long...we are taking an extra day (off from hiking) in St Augustus...
We've taken many self guided bike trips and now we alternate years doing a hiking trip.
Love self guided - as long as you can read the route guide and a map, and are prepared to be on the trail by yourself, it's wonderful.
We've walked the West Highland Way many years back, but we travelled light (backpacked all our gear) and booked it ourselves using various accommodation lists to be found on the t'internet (we are Brits, Sassenachs in fact!). Some of the stop off points on the WHW are self evident so that narrows the options down a bit. Some of the places we stayed probably aren't there now as things change but I'm sure you could book your own B&Bs online - it's a hit and miss process, some places are a delight, some.....less so, as we've found on various national trail treks over the years.
Our most recent Scottish Trail was the Great Glen Way which we did in an unusual but brilliant way (though I say so myself - it was my suggestion to our group!) - we used Caledonian Cruising and our accommodation was their converted barge Fingal which sailed down the Calendonian Canal and was our floating B&B. All meals are in, as much cake as you can eat, packed lunches and enough tea to sink a battleship (but not a barge). All you had to pay for was booze, a small supply of which was carried on board, but there are several smashing pubs en route to visit (rude not to) including the floating pub 'The Eagle' on the canal. There are guides too to lead the way so you don't have to worry about getting lost. Fingal sleeps 12 in double bunked en suite rooms - small, but cosily comfortable. Caledonian Cruising now have a second barge, Ros Crana (look up your Gaelic mythology!) and you can choose I think which direction you travel - Fort William to Inverness or vice versa. They get booked up quickly though, so go to the CC website and see what is available (they will already be taking bookings for 2018) - they do other types of trip, wildlife, canoeing/sailing, music, Munro bagging etc.. I can't recommend them highly enough and would love to do another trip with them!
Let me know if you want to know the our stopping points on our ancient West Highland Way trek (also hugely enjoyable) - I can pm you - got to recall them first!
Wherever you go, have a great trip!
I'll support Edgar's recommendation of Contour. We walked The Great Glen Way last year and were very satisfied. Apart from all the documents you need, you get a phone number for support and a link to download the route for your GPS.
We used B&B's for accommodation an visited inns for dinner etc.
PS. They've changed their website address. Its: http://www.caledonian-discovery.co.uk/
I presume they have changed it so as not to be confused with the huge 'Lord of the Glen' (which the Fingal crew disparagingly abbreviated to 'The Log'!!).