Scotland Hiking/Walking Base Town?

I'm looking for some suggestions or recommendation for a base town for a Hiking/Walking vacation in Scotland. I'm planning a week long stay for the hiking/walking trip, probably combined with another week or 10 days for a loop trip to other sites around Scotland and England. For the hiking/walking part, my plan is to pick one location, and then do day trips from there. Just day trips, nothing longer than 12-15 miles, and things as short as a mile or two could be fun..
I'd prefer to not have to rent a car, but it might not be possible.. I'm looking for a base location where I will stay the entire week; that has 4 or 5 nice day hikes, in the nearby area (less than an hour drive or bus to the trailhead). Mountain hikes, beach hikes, lakes, rivers, farmlands, all are acceptable... Other local attractions (castle, museum, historical sites, stone circles, etc) would be a plus... I'd like this week to be a chance to focus on one place and try to become a temporary local.. I've been to Scotland and England for a quick loop trip several years ago, and was on the Isle of Skye for 3 nights, and that seems like it might be a good option, but there are also lots of other areas of Scotland that I'm interested in. Just looking for recommendations or experiences from others who may have done more hiking in Scotland...

Posted by Kathleen
Camano Island, WA, usa
331 posts

Dumphries in Galloway would be an interesting location...you are near ancient castles, abbeys and the seaside, the Cheviot Hills and Hadrians Wall. Dumphries is the Georgian-style home town of Bobbie Burns. There is also a museum for John Paul Jones nearby...he was a local boy gone rogue.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3296 posts

Hi Matt, I assume that you want to walk in the Highlands. ; ) I've done several walking trips basing myself in Strathpeffer and more recently in Fortrose. We're in Fortrose because we like the hotel. ; ) It's The Anderson. It's a great place to come back to after a good day of walking. Here's why we like this locationyou can get to the West, to North, to the East and to the south within about an hour of driving. This is important as the weather really can vary in all those directions. In about 6 or more week trips, I've only completely lost two days of walking. Here are some of the places that I've walked. Glen Afric CairngormsRothiemurchus Estate Culbin Sandswhen it's raining everywhere, you can at least get a forest walk and beach walk in. Loch Maree Torridon Ullapool Hills With a super duper early start and a late return Applecross. North Sea shore walks. Drove Road walks near Tain. Inverpolly I've also walked around Dunkeld where there are some nice walks. I like the north better for a week's trip as there is more variety. Pam

Posted by susan
aberdeen, scotland & london, uk
237 posts

Hi matt Have a look at Braemar and Ballater.
S :0)

Posted by Kathleen
Camano Island, WA, usa
331 posts

Matt: I forgot to mention that Dumphries is near Galloway Forest Park...one of the biggest natural areas in Scotland...the Highlands is nice, but I think the southwest of Scotland gets the short shift with the mystic of the "Highlands".

Posted by Emma
Derry
161 posts

Hi Matt, you ever look into Keswick in the midlands as a base town? Wonderful location for walking tours. Each day at the city center TI are posted fliers for the following days walk. Folks simply show up at the TI and follow their guide. Also you might check with the Ramblers organization for walking tours. You will find them all over Scottland. Each evening they have plays at the local Keswick theatre at reasonable prices. Keswick is a very small beautiful town with lots of B&B's at good value for money. Enjoy your trip.

Posted by carol
sarasota, fl
28 posts

When we did a cycling tour of the highlands, we took a break in Fort William so we could hike Ben Nevis (an all day hike). Also took a trip on the Jacobite train from there.