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There are various restrictions currently in place across Scotland to help prevent spread of COVID-19. Full advice can be found on the Scottish Government official website.

Guidance relating to visiting places on Scotland Off the Beaten Track includes...

ensuring you are at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your householdmaintaining hand and cough hygiene, and reducing contact with hard or high contact surfacescarrying out outdoor activities with no more than 4 other households per day, and no more than 15 people at a time, while socially distancing
Many staffed sites are currently closed, have changed their opening times or have a modified visitor offering. Different restrictions apply in other countries, including other parts of the UK, so please follow the official advice where you are.

Please help us all stay safe while exploring Scotland. If your holidays or days out have been disrupted, we hope the thousands of attractions we feature online are useful for pla…

Raven's Rock

Highland | Altass | Gorge | ★★

Raven's Rock serves as a stark reminder of the power and pace of weather, water and nature. The short but scenic gorge here carved out by the Allt Mòr used to be the site for one of the region's most dramatic short walks, with a series of bridges, staircases and boardwalks ingeniously threading their way along the rocky walls. This was all wiped out by a series of landslides in the early 2010s, truncating the official circular route into two very short, out-and-back trails with a total distance of well under a mile. These allow the briefest glimpse into the destroyed area and also feature a few wooden sculptures, but little else. It's still a nice site for a picnic if you're passing - the gorge lies conveniently close to a main east-west road across Sutherland - and you may catch a sighting of a red squirrel.

Location & info

📌 Raven's Rock Gorge★★
Car park is by minor road just north of Altass, G.R.: NC 498009 ///divides.eliminate.…

Falls of Shin

Highland | Invershin | Nature site & waterfall | ★★★

When travelling through the Highlands we're quite often left with the impression that tourist infrastructure hasn't quite kept up with the recent boom in visitor numbers. This is certainly not the case at the Falls of Shin, where a shiny new car park, cafe, playground and interpretation area opened in 2017 to complement a powerful waterfall. After browsing the information panels (shaped like an enormous salmon when viewed from above), you'll of course want to follow the short path down to the viewing platform for the falls. These are large in volume but small in vertical - more a set of rapids, with flow controlled by a dam at Lairg, a few miles upstream. The main draw instead relates to fish: between May and October, the Falls of Shin are one of the most accessible locations from which to watch salmon leaping as they return to their breeding grounds to spawn. Sightings are most likely in late summer, and particularl…

Walk: Carbisdale circular - the rise & fall of Castle Spite

Highland | Invershin | Half day walk | ★★★

Once upon a time, Carbisdale Castle was built for the Duchess of Sutherland, overlooking the Kyle of Sutherland opposite Invershin. Unpopular with the rest of the Sutherland family, her share of her spouse's (the 3rd Duke's) will was contested by the duke's son following his death. After the family finally agreed to the duchess being awarded a financial settlement along with a new castle built anywhere outwith Sutherland, surely this ugly chapter had drawn to a close? Not so - the duchess had her new residence constructed at Carbisdale, Ross-shire in 1907... directly overlooking the Sutherland border, which is just a few hundred metres away. Castle Spite - as it colloquially became known - was carefully designed to enrage her estranged in-laws: the castle's main tower only has three clock faces on its four walls, with the side facing Sutherland left blank so as not to give even the time of day to Sutherland. After World War II…

Walk: Views to amaze on Knockfarrel Ridge

Highland | Strathpeffer | Half day walk | ★★★

Knock Farril is Strathpeffer's local hill, cutting the town off from the adjacent Black Isle region. This circuit explores most of the ridge, with an almost imperceptible ascent via the delightful Touchstone Maze: a complicated stone labyrinth aligned with solstices, festivals and Scotland's geology all in mind. The east end of the ridge is crowned with a vitrified hill fort and superlative views of the Cromarty Firth, but the west end is the true summit. Views are obscured by trees from the latter, but find the correct descent path and vegetation thins briefly to allow a vista up Strathconon towards the Northwest Highlands. The return route is in abrupt contrast to the straightforward preceding terrain, with a steep and narrow path threading through dense forestry back to the start.

📌 Walk: Views to amaze on Knockfarrel Ridge ★★★
Start / finish at Blackmuir Wood car park, off A834 half a mile southwest of Strathpeffer village cent…

Walk: Abriachan adventure

Highland | Loch Ness | Half day walk | ★★★

The scattered rural community of Abriachan occupies a minor hanging valley above the west bank of Loch Ness, and it's home to something pretty amazing. The Abriachan Forest Trust - a local community enterprise - has developed a very extensive network of trails, outdoor activities and structures including treehouses, Bronze Age hut and hillside shieling; we were very impressed indeed, and we're sure it will charm children and adults alike. Paths also climb to the top of the local hill - Carn na Leitire - for panoramic views across the Great Glen region. The series of reconstructed buildings ends after a steep detour to a reconstructed "illicit" whisky still, before the excitement level is dialled down a notch (or ten) for the rather monotonous return along forest tracks.

📌 Walk: Abriachan adventure ★★★
Start / finish at Abriachan Trust main car park, minor road half a mile west of Abriachan, G.R.: NH 540353 ///caves.flinches.…