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Stirling is a glorious region to explore on foot, where the towns and farmland of the Lowlands abut against the dramatic splendour of the Highlands. Walks in Stirling place you in this landscape of transition, where the Highland Boundary Fault subtly marks the rugged beginnings of a mountainous land filled with almost limitless opportunities for adventure.
Discover the beautiful forests and sparkling waters of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, where craggy hills are reflected in glassy lochs and deer roam between the trees. Get back to nature as you ramble in scenic glens to the soundtrack of rushing falls and the wind across the hillside.Mountainous hikes in Stirling can be simply awe-inspiring.Experience the heady freedom found on ridges that lead to some of the highest summits in all of Scotland. Or, if a stiff climb up a Munro sounds a bit much, there’s a host of famously picturesque smaller hills just waiting for your hiking boots.
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Stirling Castle has been said to be the strategic gateway to the Highlands, such is its position as the final lowland outpost when heading north. This classic hilltop citadel is perhaps a good place to start your walks in Stirling, with great views north to the mountains.
Running diagonally from the south west to the north east of the region, the Highland Boundary Fault marks the geological beginnings of the Scottish Highlands: a vast and incredibly beautiful land of brooding mountains and picturesque lochs. It also marks the beginning of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, where the best hiking trails in Stirling are found.
The south of the national park boasts gorgeous lochs, the wooded glens of the Trossachs and delightfully accessible hills with magnificent views. As you venture north it gets progressively wilder. The hills become mountains.
You can conquer some fantastic Munros, Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet (914 m), during your hikes in Stirling. In its northern reaches, there’s no less than twenty, including the immensely popular Ben Lomond, which rewards a strenuous ascent with unbeatable views of Loch Lomond from its 3,196-foot (974 m) summit. The most southerly Munro, its proximity to Glasgow means it sees a great deal of footfall, so set out early to avoid the crowds.
The weather is likely to be changeable on any given day, particularly in the mountains. In the summer you’ll need both your sun-cream and your waterproofs. Deer stalking season runs from the start of July until late October. During this time, stick to hiking trails and heed any advice given by signs or the stalkers themselves.
Midges and ticks can be a nuisance in the warmer months. After a day’s hiking, always check any exposed flesh for ticks and remove carefully. Wild camping is a marvellous way to experience the majesty of this region. Whilst legal throughout Scotland, there are areas of the national park where a permit is required, so check the official website in advance.
Autumn is gorgeous amongst the secretive forested glens, where streams rush past the pines of the old Caledonian Forest. Winter brings snow to the hills and the Munros are likely to be beyond hikers not armed with mountaineering skills and equipment. If in doubt, stay low.
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