Glencoe, July 2010

Scottish Canicross Routes – Mountain, Forest and Coastal Trails

We’ve deliberately not provided route descriptions, starting points and so on as many of the routes are far afield and we won’t get back regularly to make sure details are still correct. So if you see something that appeals, do your homework before you go and make sure the route is still accessible! By all means drop us a line to ask for more info and we’ll do our best to help. There are lots of spectacular routes that aren’t featured here – we only post up the ones that we have great photos of. So again, if you’re visiting an area and are looking for ideas please don’t hesitate to get in touch – either via our facebook page or use our contact form.

Arrochar Alps

The Cobbler (Ben Arthur) Ben Donich via the rest and be thankful
The Cobbler (Ben Arthur)
The Cobbler – also known as Ben Arthur – is a very dramatic hill with a distinctive silhouette. It has three peaks, two of which – the North and Central peak, can be tackled by walkers, although getting to the true summit of the central peak requires a very good head for heights! It is a very popular hill so you need to pick your time carefully if you want it to yourself! A great walk with no hazards for sensible canicrossers. There are a few sheer drops on the summits but it’s possible to keep well clear of them.
Ben Donich (via the Rest and be Thankful)
Starting at nearly 300m above sea level this is a short climb but fairly steep in places. Ben Donich has a huge summit plateau with great views and fabulous rocky outcrops to explore. There’s a little bit of easy scrambling that our Beagles coped with easily but may be tricky for some dogs – especially larger dogs.

Ayrshire

Loudon Hill Ayrshire Coastal Path Greeto Falls
Loudoun Hill
This gorgeous 11k there-and-back route starts at Darvel and follows the old railway track to local landmark Loudoun Hill. There are grass and earth paths throughout with a couple of short sections along quiet roads. The route takes you through Ayrshire farming country so there are hazards for canicrossers and great care must be taken not to allow your dogs to cause problems. But if your dog is calm enough to behave around all the distractions it’s a fabulous canicross walk or hike.
Ayrshire Coastal Path
The Ayrshire Coastal Path stretches from the southern to northernmost tips of the county of Ayrshire – 147km of glorious coastline. Almost the entire route has fabulous views out to sea – in fact for the most part you’re running along beaches, cliff tops and tracks beside the sea. There are views of Ailsa Craig and Arran along most of the route. A wonderful route to run with dogs in warmer weather as you’re never far from the cooling sea. And of course, you can cherry pick short sections to run – no need to run the whole route at once!
Greeto Falls
This is a short but oh so sweet route up into the hills above Largs. It follows the Gojo Burn through gorgeous hilly farmland to a spectacular waterfall. There is plenty of scope for scrambling around the rough moorland and hills to take in some spectacular views. A straight forward walk up to the burn and then up the hill to the mast is a little under 3 miles round trip. Although you can walk for miles.
Craiglea Trail, Loch Doon Eglinton parkrun Course - 5k Knock Hill
Craiglea Trail, Loch Doon
A three mile hill trail with approximately 1100 feet of ascent and spectacular views over Loch Doon. Explore Doon castle and the shores of Loch Doon at the start of the route. Extend your walk through miles and miles of stunning countryside.
Eglinton parkrun course – 5k
parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in. The first parkrun in Ayrshire – Eglinton parkrun is due to start up on the 16th March 2013. Dogs are allowed to take part in parkrun events – there is however a limit to one dog per runner. You can also do what’s known as ‘freedom runs’ – run the course at any time you like and publish your time to the parkrun website.
Knock Hill
The site of an old hill fort on the summit of Knock hill with spectacular views out over Largs, Cumbrae and Arran. There are various route options – from a 7 or 8 mile circular route starting out at the Largs sea front (which includes quiet roads) to 3 miles or so of walking/running exclusively on trails and open hillside. It’s a little bit muddy and there are quite a few sheep (which normally provokes an indignant response from our Biggles), but the scenery makes it all worthwhile.

Dumfries and Galloway

Mull of Galloway pre-sunrise
Mull of Galloway
This 10k route explores the coastline around the Mull of Galloway. A great deal of the route follows clifftop paths so if you don’t have a head for heights it might be one to miss! It is quite spectacular with a lighthouse, dramatic cliff scenery, great views and colonies of seabirds nesting in the cliffs in the springtime. We found it safe to run with our little Beagles but with a larger dog prone to excitement (or bird chasing) it might be risky.

Fort William

IMG_4496 Coire Adair and the cliffs of Creag Meagaidh
Glen Nevis and the Polldubh waterfall
An 8 mile circular route through Glen Nevis at the foot of the UK’s largest mountain range. The route follows the bank of the River Nevis to Polldubh waterfall before returning to the start point via the forest that runs to the West of the river. The route is fabulous on a fine summer’s day or when covered in snow, and in wet weather the fast moving river and thundering waterfall can be quite spectacular! A fabulous location for a fairly easy but tremendously fun trail run!
Coire Ardair and the cliffs of Creag Meagaidh
A 14k there and back route along a good and mostly gently ascending path to the Lochan a’Choire in Coire Ardair and the magnificent cliffs of Creag Meagaidh. Lovely views throughout. Ideal for an easy canicross run with no difficulties along the way.

Glencoe

IMG_4297 Pap of Glencoe
Stob Mhic Mhartui, Glencoe
Stob Mhic Mhartui is only a little over 700m high, but as the start of the route is at 200m it’s a very short and easy climb rewarded by some of the most spectacular views in Scotland. There are no hazards or difficulties for on-lead dogs.
Pap of Glencoe
The Pap of Glencoe is a small, distinctive mountain beside Glencoe village. It’s a little ‘airy’ at the top so if you haven’t a good head for heights you might feel a bit uncomfortable. It’s steep, rocky (so interesting) and the views are to die for! There’s a clear path to the top, although it is easy to go the wrong way and get into difficulty on the rocky dome (been there, done that!).

Loch Lomond

Ben Dubh - along the horseshoe Ben Lomond
Beinn Dubh & the Glen Striddle Horseshoe
A cracking little half day canicross hike or run. A delightful ascent up Beinn Dubh with views of Loch Lomond, then a substantial section along the broad, grassy ridge connecting the hills above Glen Straddle. The views of the Arrochar Alps are spectacular. The grassy terrain and long, broad ridge make it a spectacular yet easy canicross hill run.
Ben Lomond
A very easy route (although a long slog!) with clear paths throughout and great views of Loch Lomond from the summit. The drawback for many lies in the hill’s popularity – whenever you go you’ll almost certainly have to share it with lots of other people. I think this is mainly due to it being so close to Glasgow. A good first munro and a very nice hill run for more experienced hill runners.

Oban

Ben Lora
Ben Lora
Ben Lora is a modest hill that looms up behind the beach side campsite at North Ledaig. The views out over the islands are simply spectacular and it’s well worth a climb for that reason alone. But the real treat are the quite unexpected views inland over the mountains. This is particularly spectacular at sunrise.

Perthshire

Schiehallion
Schiehallion
The spectacular thing about Shiehallion isn’t the surrounding views, but rather the rocky terrain of the hill itself – a massive boulder field with huge slabs of fractured rock. This is one of the easier munros to climb.

The Isle of Skye

The Storr The Storr
The Storr
The summit of the Storr is the highest point on the Trotternish ridge. It’s great cliffs loom above an area called the Sanctuary – a collection of weirdly shaped rock pinnacles. The summit of the Storr has spectacular panoramic views over the whole island, the Outer Hebedes and the mainland. It’s an easy enough route for the most part. There is a short, easy scramble on the way up to the great cliffs, and on the way down a slightly tricky descent through a gully in the cliffs. The biggest hazard to some canicrossers will be the abundance of sheep!
Coire Lagan
The Cuillin is the main mountain range on Skye, often said to be the home of the only true mountains in Britain. With sheer cliffs, scree slopes and stomach churning drops it’s not really the place for norky little Beagles. However, we did manage a trip right into the heart of the cuillins. Coirre Lagan is a dramatic lochan sitting on a great slab of rock at about 2/3 of the way up at approx 600m. The climb up does require a bit of easy scrambling which is probably only possible if your dogs is small enough to lift up the sheer rock faces.

The Trossachs

Ben A'an
Ben A’an
At around 2.5 miles and just 340m of ascent Ben A’an makes an ideal short hill walk. Despite it’s diminutive size it has the feel of a mountain – in miniature. Situated right in the heart of the Trossachs it has spectacular views from the summit and gorgeous sunsets. There’s a path leading to the top, although it is very steep and rugged in places. For a short evening walk it’s hard to beat.