Absolute Escapes December 11 2023

Did you know that 2024 marks 20 years of Absolute Escapes?

Our adventurous team love nothing more than getting out and exploring the UK & Ireland for ourselves. In this blog, each member of our team reveals their all-time favourite walks to inspire your future adventures.

When you book with us, your trip will be created individually by one of our travel specialists to match your preferences and budget. This list includes something to inspire all tastes, from our most beloved walking trails to unforgettable hill walking experiences.

At Absolute Escapes, we don’t skip the finer details; instead, we focus on them. From tailored travel arrangements to accommodation reservations, trail transfers to restaurant recommendations, we plan your package with precision to ensure every element of your escape is as it should be: an incredible journey, perfectly planned.

Read on to explore our ultimate walking experiences in the British Isles (or jump into a specific country using the links below).



Arran Coastal Way (Sannox to Lochranza) – Katie Rogen

Length: 9 miles / 16 km
Duration: 4 – 6 hours
Ascent: 119m (390 ft)

The Isle of Arran has always been a special place for me, having spent much of my childhood running around its wild beaches and developing a love for the freedom of island life. One of my favourite sections of the coastal path is from Sannox to Lochranza, which is typically the second day of the Arran Coastal Way.

The day begins on the peaceful Sannox Bay with the craggy peaks of Glen Rosa behind you. The beach leads you around to north Sannox where the wildness of the terrain comes into view. Most of the day is defined by lush green hills swooping down to an ever-changing coastline of vibrant red sandstone, immense boulders, and pebble beaches. It’s no wonder that Arran is known as a geological treasure.

The best lunch stop (or cake stop if purchased from the lovely Glen Sannox Cafe) is Laggan Cottage, an abandoned but scenic bothy, and the only evidence of settlement along this part of the coast.

The last section of the walk involves a fair bit of scrambling over a higher, narrow path. At Newton Point, towards the end of the trail, a cairn inscription perfectly encapsulates the feeling of achievement finishing this walk as Lochranza comes into view, arguably Arran’s most picturesque village:

There is perhaps no scene on Arran which so impresses the beholder with a feeling of solitary beauty as the first glimpse of Lochranza.” – Andrey Crombie Ramsay, Geology of the Island of Arran


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Beinn Alligin, North West Highlands – Sheila Tulloch

Distance: 6.5 miles / 10.5 km
Time: 7 – 8 hours
Ascent: 1190m (3904 ft)

Considered by many to embody the northern Highland landscape, Torridon is an ancient and enchanting wilderness. Its rugged mountains are incredibly old, dating back 750 million years. I have been fortunate enough to visit this special area since childhood, walking along its glorious sandy beaches and as I grew older, venturing into its magnificent mountains.

Lying above the shores of Loch Torridon is Beinn Alligin, one of the true jewels of the north west of Scotland. This is the easiest of the three famous Torridon ridge traverses and includes the mighty Horns of Alligin – a great fair weather scramble and my first true scramble. With Torridon’s incomparable mountains rising all around you, there can’t be many better hill walks in Scotland.

After a day in the Torridon hills, there’s nothing better than a dip in the loch and a visit to the Beinn Bar for a relaxing drink next to the fire. Or for something very special, a stay at The Torridon. Explore this magical area while driving the North Coast 500 or our new Cairngorms National Park & the North West Highlands walking holiday.


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Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond – Melanie Grandidge

Length: 7.5 miles / 12 km
Duration: 4.5 – 6 hours
Ascent: 990m (3248 ft)

No trip to Scotland would be complete without a visit to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. And what could be better than conquering a Munro (a Scottish hill over 3,000 feet) whilst you’re there?

Rising over the eastern shores of the loch, Ben Lomond is one of the most popular hill walks in Scotland and it’s easy to see why! I’ll always remember the amazing views I witnessed from the summit.

As I climbed this mountain, I was increasingly amazed by the stunning panoramic views. I was fortunate to have a gorgeous sunny day where the loch sparkled in the sun. The surrounding mountains looked magnificent, with their ridges and valleys highlighted by the sunlight and shadows from the fluffy clouds. Due to its popularity, this hike often has a wonderful community spirit. I chatted with several people, some who climb this Munro regularly and some who were complete beginners. Everyone was sharing words of encouragement, advice and jokes, making it feel very welcoming to solo hikers.

With a well-marked footpath from Rowardennan, Ben Lomond is an ideal addition to a walking holiday on the West Highland Way which runs alongside the mountain. I’d recommend adding an additional day in Rowardennan to allow you to conquer Ben Lomond.


Ben Vorlich, Loch Earn – Kate Brown

Length: 6 miles / 9 km
Duration: 4 – 5 hours
Ascent: 877m (2877 ft)

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday in spring than to climb a Munro with friends and loved ones. While I have had many wonderful days up hills, few were as perfect as this one. On a sunny Easter weekend, we set off to bag Ben Vorlich and were completely blown away by the beautiful scenery in which we found ourselves.

Starting from the south side of Loch Earn, this trail climbs up a good path which eventually becomes more eroded, developing into a wide ridge. After a few false summits, we made the final steep climb to the top (985m / 3,232 ft). No clouds were in sight and the sun was shining on the many happy walkers who had gathered at the trig point.

On a clear day, as we had, this Munro serves as an excellent viewpoint for most of central Scotland and I could have spent hours sitting at the summit. For the more adventurous, there is the option to include its more challenging neighbour, Stùc a’ Chròin. I think Ben Vorlich is a wonderful Munro for beginners too as it is straightforward and offers incredibly rewarding views.


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Cateran Trail (Kirkmichael to Spittal of Glenshee) – Nairne McBeath

Length: 13 miles / 8 km
Duration: 4 – 5 hours
Ascent: 484m (1588 ft)

This stretch of the Cateran Trail unveils a breathtaking landscape as it meanders through the glen before climbing over a high moorland pass. As you descend towards Spittal of Glenshee, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the majestic surrounding landscape.

After leaving Kirkmichael, I found myself on a remote forestry track where the only soundtrack was the distant serenade of rutting deer. Let me tell you, it’s quite a jaw-dropping experience.

Halfway through the walk, we stumbled upon a cosy timber hut called the ‘Upper Lunch Hut.’ It was the perfect spot to kick back and have some lunch. We even left our names in the visitor’s book and geeked out reading about Queen Victoria’s visit way back in 1865. Such a cool little detour!

After huffing and puffing our way up to the An Lairig gate, we started our descent into Spittal of Glenshee. We got to soak in the epic mountain views the whole way down into the village. It’s a real treat for the eyes and a perfect end to the day.

This quick jaunt in the heart of Scotland is totally worth your while, and I’d highly recommend it. And if you’ve got some extra time to spare, why not go all in and tackle the entire 64-mile Cateran Trail?


Fife Coastal Path (Lower Largo to St Andrews) – Lois Brown

Distance: 31 miles / 50 km
Time: 2 – 3 days

If you’re looking for a relaxed scenic coastal path, running through quaint fishing villages and only a stone’s throw away from Scotland’s capital, then look no further than the Fife Coastal Path. This is a favourite of mine, not only because of the ease of access from Edinburgh but also because of the charm the East Neuk has to offer.

It is Scotland’s longest continuous coastal path, and so over the years, I have returned to tackle each part and redo my favourites. The path runs from North Queensferry to Newport-on-Tay, but my favourite section runs between Lower Largo and St Andrews. Along this trail, I’ve seen sandstone caves, castle ruins, impressive cliffs, expansive beaches, and gorgeous bays. I’d recommend you brave the Elie chain walk or take a dip in one of the tidal pools.

The walk itself is moderate and allows for plenty of stops in the quirky towns to grab a coffee or indulge in some seafood. Wildlife to look out for includes dolphins, whales, and a myriad of birds, as well as plenty of livestock fenced behind the path. Bring binoculars and perhaps some swimming gear, and you’re bound to have an enjoyable experience.


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Goatfell, Isle of Arran – Rebecca Meacham

Length: 6.5 miles / 10.5 km
Duration: 4.5 – 6 hours
Ascent: 874m (2867 ft)

The magnificent Goatfell stands at 874 meters above sea level, offering a challenging yet rewarding experience for keen hillwalkers like myself. From the summit’s elevated vantage point, you’ll be treated to sweeping panoramic views of the neighbouring mountains and across the glistening Firth of Clyde.

Starting from the coastal town of Brodick, the route passes through forest and moorland, before becoming significantly steeper and rockier as it ascends towards the peak. If you are lucky enough with the weather, your effort is generously rewarded with fantastic views over the Isle of Arran.

For the return journey, there are a few options, with the easiest being to retrace your steps back to Brodick. Alternatively, you could continue along the ridge to North Goatfell and then descend east to the village of Corrie, from which you can take the local bus or a taxi back to Brodick. However, if, like me, you are feeling particularly adventurous, you may wish to continue along the rugged ridges to take in a couple more of Arran’s mountain summits.

This challenging walk makes for an excellent addition to any Scottish island-hopping road trip or Arran Coastal Way adventure!


Meall Buidhe, Glen Lyon – Hamish Cameron

Distance: 5.5 miles / 8.5 km
Time: 2 – 4 hours
Ascent: 551m (1807 ft)

Glen Lyon has the reputation of being Scotland’s longest, loneliest and loveliest glen and I believe it is often overlooked as a destination in Highland Perthshire. In my opinion, the best way to access the glen is via the Ben Lawers Pass which, on a clear day, offers spectacular views and an enjoyable drive.

This Munro certainly lacks the appeal of its more illustrious neighbours, but it offers a relatively straightforward walk for an incredible panoramic view. Once the summit cairn is reached, the whole expanse of Rannoch Moor is seen below and the views of the distant Glen Coe make this a very worthwhile walk. On a clear day, you can see plenty of Munro summits from this vantage point.

Meall Bhuidhe can be combined with Stucdh an Lochann to make for a longer day and, if you have the time, I’d highly recommend extending your time in these remote-feeling hills.

For post-walk refreshments, make your way to the Glen Lyon Tea Room which offers a great selection of snacks and local coffee. The Fortingall Yew, allegedly the oldest tree in Europe, is well worth a visit for any fans of history on your way out of this scenic glen.


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Postman’s Path, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides – Charis Elphinstone

Distance: 7 miles / 11.5 km
Time: 3 – 4 hours
Ascent: 456m (1496 ft)

As I contour around the northeastern coast of the Outer Hebrides, the trail undulates above the shore, passing babbling burns, crossing croaking footbridges, and skirting waterfalls like silver tear tracks on the wrinkled face that is Harris’s wise landscape.

This one-way trail is a mindful treat. The changing view of Loch Trolamoraig which shrinks quietly as you zigzag up the mountain pass; the drama of the inky giant, Loch Seaforth, that all but slices the Isle of Harris in two; the musical tinkering of a crabbing boat that nudges around the shores, dwarfed by the sheer cliffs that rise behind it.

After the walk, Harris’s harbour hub town of Tarbert awaits to greet you. I highly recommend a refuel at Loomshed Deli and Coffee Shop and, for the evening, I don’t think I’ve ever had a scrummier meal than at North Harbour Bistro.


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Skye Trail (Sligachan to Elgol) – Zoe Kirkbride

Length: 12.5 miles / 20 km
Duration: 6 – 8 hrs
Ascent: 510m (1673 ft)

The Skye Trail is an unofficial long-distance walking trail offering 80 miles (128 km) of rugged terrain and awe-inspiring Scottish scenery. My favourite section is between Sligachan and Elgol, which is usually the fifth day of the walk.

When I walked the Skye Trail in April, what I enjoyed most about this section was the ever-changing scenery. Starting at Sligachan at the northern end of the Cuillin Mountains, the trail first winds gently along the valley floor past looming mountains and peaceful lochs. The weather almost felt as if it was in tune with the scenery – gloomy and haunting in the valley, and as soon as we emerged into Camasunary Bay, the sun came out and the sea was lit up a dazzling shade of blue.

Continuing along the coast, the path becomes a little treacherous with a steep drop to one side. However, it is worth it for the view back across the water towards the Cuillins, their jagged peaks painting the horizon, with Camasunary Bothy a distant white speck at the foot of the hills.

The Skye Trail is a truly rewarding experience, and this section is without a doubt my favourite walk I’ve done. This is an experience I will never forget.


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West Highland Way (Northern Section) – Erin Meek

Length: 58 miles / 93 km
Duration: 5 days

For those looking to experience the magic of Scotland’s West Highland Way, walking the northern section is a fantastic alternative to completing the full 96 mile (154 km) route. Highlights of the trail such as atmospheric Rannoch Moor, the Devil’s Staircase, and Ben Nevis, all feature along this section.

Over five spectacular days, I made my way north from the tranquil shores of Loch Lomond into the wilderness of Glencoe and onward to the lively Highland town of Fort William. Walking in April meant that the seasons were transitioning and, despite setting off beneath snow-capped peaks, I was treated to crisp spring mornings and sunshine throughout my trip.

The variety of landscapes blew me away; I traversed moorland along ancient military roads, wound through woodland trails between Caledonian pines, and hiked up rocky paths to breathtaking views of deep glens and soaring mountaintops.

It was the camaraderie experienced along the trail, however, that stayed with me. Sharing the sense of adventure with fellow walkers at the end of a long day is what makes the West Highland Way truly special. I will always remember the team of us (that started as strangers) toasting our success in the late evening sun on the shores of Loch Linnhe!



Buttermere and Haystacks, Lake District – Lottie Smart 

Length: 8 miles / 13 km
Duration: 4 – 5.5 hours
Ascent: 626m (2053 ft)

It’s difficult to choose a favourite walk in the British Isles, but mine has to be the Buttermere and Haystacks circular. It combines a gentle lakeside stroll with a rocky scramble and showcases the best of the Lake District.

Your journey begins by walking south along the eastern shore of Lake Buttermere. It’s my favourite scenic spot in the Lake District, with tranquil reflective waters and pine trees fringing its shores.

From the lake, it’s a steep climb up Haystacks. You will be rewarded with amazing views of Buttermere and Crummock Water. The plateau around the Haystacks summit is home to some secluded tarns which feel wonderfully remote. You will walk past Innominate Tarn, which was Wainwright’s favourite spot in the Lake District and where he had his ashes scattered.

After descending Haystacks and wandering the western side of the Buttermere, don’t forget to visit Croft House Farm Cafe for a celebratory homemade ice cream.


South West Coast Path (Lyme Regis to Poole) – Scott Smyth

Length: 75 miles / 120 km
Duration: 6 – 8 days

This sensational section of the South West Coast Path must be one of the most exhilarating coastal walks anywhere in the world. Although the entire trail stretches for an epic 630 miles, this week-long chunk takes in some of the route’s finest scenery – plus the renowned geological features of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.

Setting off from the genteel resort town of Lyme Regis, we immediately began climbing steep and craggy headlands (and regretted underestimating this as ‘just a coastal walk’!). Strenuous and undulating walking is par for the course here, but it’s more than compensated by the awe-inspiring landscape which dates back 185 million years.

Over six unforgettable days, we huffed and puffed past the highest cliffs on the south coast of England at Golden Cap, iconic rock formations at Durdle Door and Old Harry Rocks, and countless quaint villages. The icing on the cake was hearty food and celebratory ales in a cosy English pub at the end of each day.


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Thames Path (Western Section) – Dawn Spence

Length: 54 miles / 87 km
Duration: 4 – 6 days

The Kemble to Oxford section of the Thames Path is a picturesque and historically rich journey along the River Thames. Beginning in Kemble, a charming Cotswold village in Gloucestershire, the trail meanders through the heart of The Cotswolds National Landscape before arriving in world-famous Oxford.

I was treated to serene views of the river, lush meadows, and quaint rural landscapes. The path took me through a series of delightful towns and villages, each with its unique character and points of interest.

You will find charming inns and beautiful riverside coffee spots along the path, making it easy to refuel and enjoy the scenic views. This is a trail which is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. I would highly recommend this route if you are looking for a relaxed walking experience where you can enjoy beautiful countryside at a peaceful, unhurried pace.


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Yorkshire 3 Peaks – Daisy Andrews

Length: 24 miles / 38.5 km
Duration: 10 – 12 hours
Total ascent: 1585m (5200 ft)

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks are the stunning backdrop that accompany travellers through Cumbria towards the Yorkshire Dales, and sit temptingly close to the Carlisle-Settle heritage railway line. After many such journeys spent admiring their unique silhouettes from the comfort of the train, I decided it was time to take on the challenge.

I chose my weekend well – a blue-sky heatwave in July. It may have taken 12 hours in the beating sun, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat! Each peak is distinct in its geology and beauty: the steep-sided Ingleborough, expansive Wherneside, and iconic Pen-y-ghent. They all posed a different challenge to our stamina, and the sense of accomplishment when taking in the views at the top of each peak only increased as we worked our way around the circular route.

Top tip: The vast majority of Yorkshire 3 Peaks walkers tackle the route anti-clockwise, beginning with Pen-y-ghent. If you take the opposite direction, beginning with Ingleborough, you’re likely to get the first and last peaks to yourself!


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Causeway Coast Way – Jack Mckenna

Length: 32 miles / 51 km
Duration: 2 – 3 days

Growing up just under an hour away from the world-famous north coast of Ireland, the dramatic Causeway Coast Way is a walk I have been lucky enough to cover countless times. This remains an absolute favourite of mine no matter how far I wander, and one I return to over and over again.

With cliffs, castles, sandy beaches, harbours and whiskey distilleries, the Causeway Coast Way is sure to deliver whether you walk for 3 days or 3 hours. Although I must admit, sticking to a short section could be difficult. Between the UNESCO World Heritage Site Giant’s Causeway or the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, it’s always too tempting to see what might lay around that next approaching headland.

One thing is certain. If you just keep the sea to one side, you really can’t go wrong exploring this spectacular corner of Northern Ireland.


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Wicklow Way (Knockree to Oldbridge) – Sine Nielsen

Length: 13 miles / 21 km
Duration: 6 – 8 hours
Ascent: 710m (2329 ft)

This exhilarating day on the Wicklow Way takes in some of the most iconic highlights of the trail – the awe-inspiring Powerscourt Waterfall, impressive Djouce Mountain, and Lough Tay, often called ‘The Guinness Lake’. It quickly became a firm favourite of mine and one I think you should put at the top of your bucket list.

This is Ireland at its finest, with expansive vistas, rugged mountains, heather-covered moors, and pristine glacial lakes. As the path climbs higher, taking you deeper into the heart of this enchanting wilderness, the bustling streets of Dublin are but a distant memory. It was a complete surprise to me that this incredibly dramatic landscape is only a stone’s throw away from the Irish capital.

I was fortunate enough to finish my walk dining alfresco in blazing sunshine in a traditional inn in the village of Roundwood. Throughout the day, the sunshine and sounds of nature accompanied me, making my experience even more magical, but feeling the warm hospitality of the Irish countryside was the perfect ending to an unforgettable day in County Wicklow.



Cnicht, Eryri (Snowdonia) – Laura Kirkhouse

Length: 6.5 miles / 10 km
Duration: 5 hours
Ascent: 689m (2260 ft)

Known as the ‘Welsh Matterhorn’ for its distinctively pointy and pyramidal pinnacle, Cnicht is a mountaintop I would strongly recommend adding to your list of must-do hikes. Cnicht can be found in the mountainous Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park, which is home to much of the UK’s best climbing.

The climb is relatively straightforward with a clear ridge that you follow for the majority of the walk. From the summit, you are spoiled by unadulterated 360-degree panoramic views across the sprawling landscape.

Despite climbing this for the first time on my birthday, and amidst a rare British heatwave, I promise this mountain did not just become one of my favourites because I got to enjoy cake at the top of it!


Yr Wyddfa, Eryri (Snowdonia) – Josephine Dair

Length: 7 miles / 11 km
Duration: 6 hours
Ascent: 895 metres (2936 ft)

Yr Wyddfa (pronounced Oor With Va), or Snowdon, stands at 1,085 metres and is Wales’ highest peak. Found in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park, the mountain attracts over 600,000 visitors each year and it’s easy to see why! The summit offers some of the most extensive views in the British Isles, and – on a clear day – Ireland, Scotland, England and the Isle of Man are all visible. I was lucky enough to climb Yr Wyddfa on one such day and the panoramic views were sublime!

If, like me, you enjoy a varied trail with mixed terrain, stunning views, historic ruins, free-flowing water and natural beauty, I would recommend taking the Pyg Track to climb Yr Wyddfa. It is one of the tougher paths up to the summit, but trust me it’s worth it.

If you would like to appreciate the beauty of the national park in a more leisurely fashion, you can take the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the top! The train is a unique and remarkable feat of engineering that has been carrying passengers to the summit since 1896.


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Channel Islands

Guernsey Coastal Path (Jerbourg to Portelet Beach) – Katia Fernandez Mayo

Length: 12.5 miles / 20 km
Duration: 6 – 8 hours
Ascent: 460m (1509 ft)

This southern section of the Guernsey Coastal Path includes the best cliff-top walking along the trail. Starting in Jerbourg, the trail winds up and down the cliffside, offering stunning views of the bright turquoise coastline, rugged rocky beaches and jaggy pinnacles. There is constant ascent and descent, but the paths are clear and well-signposted.

Moulin Huet is one of the most picturesque spots along this section. No wonder it was such an inspiration for 19th-century artist Renoir, who created 15 paintings of the bay during a visit to the island. Flowers abound and shallow rock pools offer a respite on a hot day.

The trail continues along Petit Bot Bay, another lovely spot with a traditional Guernsey kiosk offering refreshments. This is followed by a remote section up in the cliffs, as the trail skirts around Le Pointe de Pleinmont which presents a contrast, dotted with WWII towers and martellos, reminding walkers of this important chapter in the island’s history.

My day ended walking through wooded paths, before emerging onto the pretty Portelet Beach and harbour. The kiosk here is not to be missed either, as it serves delicious Guernsey ice cream – the perfect treat after a long day walking in the sun!


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Ready for an Incredible Walking Experience?

This list doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the multitude of wonderful walks we’ve covered and discovered across the UK, Ireland, and the Channel Islands.

So don’t let the inspiration stop here. If you’re feeling inspired to get out walking – whether on or off the beaten track, Absolute Escapes offers award-winning walking holidays which are 100% tailor-made to your preferences.

Whether you are a foodie, a history fan, a walker or a nature-lover, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll begin the journey to creating an unforgettable itinerary that’s built around you.

Warm wishes,

The Absolute Escapes team

P.S. As well as walking holidays, we also offer self-drive holidays which are tailor-made to suit your preferences and individual requirements. Our packages include hand-picked accommodation, a personalised information pack, and 24-hour support from our dedicated team.

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