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Greater Scottish Coast to Coast

A self-guided walking holiday across the breadth of Scotland from the Mull of Kintyre to the North Sea.

17 to 23 nights
256 miles
Moderate / Demanding to Demanding / Strenuous

From £1600 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

Cross Scotland from coast to coast on a truly epic walking holiday that starts in Kintyre, one of the least explored corners of Scotland, and presses on through Argyll and the Trossachs to Fife. You’ll stray through magnificent scenery along the way, beneath hulking mountain ranges, around deep blue lochs, and over river crossings that culminate in staggering waterfalls. Spot roe deer, grey seals and golden eagles while visiting a variety of castles, stately homes, priories and forestry centres.

Down deep glens and stony gorges, over the slopes of the Lomond Hills, through farmland intermixed with rustling woodland, reach at last the spectacular views from Drumcarrow Craig. Then descend through the West Port Arch to the trail’s conclusion on the salt-swept shore of the North Sea, having crossed an entire country to get there.

© Contours Walking Holidays Greater Scottish Coast to Coast map
Machrihanish to St Andrews
256 miles (410 km)
21st March to 31st October

Holiday highlights

Looking out from Kintyre over Gigha, Jura, Islay and Ireland on a clear day.

Watching the variety of wildlife, including otters, basking sharks and eagles.

Spotting exemplary examples of Scottish engineering, from Victorian aqueducts to Gartchonzie Bridge, a grade B listed structure.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
GSCCW1 From Machrihanish to St Andrews 17 nights, 16 days walking Demanding / Strenuous£1600
GSCCW2 From Machrihanish to St Andrews 19 nights, 18 days walking Demanding£1790
GSCCW3 From Machrihanish to St Andrews 21 nights, 20 days walking Demanding£1975
GSCCW8 From Machrihanish to St Andrews 23 nights, 22 days walking Moderate / Demanding£2165

Greater Scottish Coast to Coast 17 nights, 16 days walking

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Route profile
  • Travel info
  • Weather

Important information

On this trail it will be necessary to catch two ferries.

The first is a ferry from Tarbert to Portavadie. The ferry is operated by CalMac Ferries and there are frequent ferry crossings throughout the day. See here for timetables and prices. The cost of the Ferry is NOT included in your holiday cost, you will need to purchase your own ticket, the cost is minimal.

The second Ferry is between Tarbet and Inversnaid. This ferry is operated by Cruise Loch Lomond. See details here. It will be necessary for you to catch a ferry at 10am from Tarbet (10am is the first ferry of the day) taking your luggage with you to Inversnaid. You will need to drop off your luggage at the Inversnaid Hotel before setting off on your walk to Aberfoyle, we will then arrange to move your luggage to Aberfoyle for you. Kindly bear in mind that this 17 mile day will probably be a late finish day as you would not be able to start your walk until around 10:45 after catching the ferry and dropping off your luggage. There is no suitable stop in-between Inversnaid and Aberfoyle to break up this day. The cost of the Ferry is NOT included in your holiday cost, you will need to purchase your own ticket.  Tickets can be purchased on the day.

Map and compass skills are essential for this trail.  It will also be necessary to climb over a handful of barbed wire fences on this trail. We recommend therefore to pack and carry with you a small foam pad/sit mat to lay over the barbed wire fences to aid you in your climb over them.


Travel to Machrihanish where your first night's accommodation has been booked

Day 1

Machrihanish to Southend. 16.5 miles (26.5km)

Day 2

Southend to Campbeltown. 16 miles (25.5km)

Day 3

Campbeltown to Carradale. 22 miles (35km)

Day 4

Carradale to Tayinloan(L). 16 miles (26km)

Day 5

Tayinloan(L) to Claonaig(T). 19.5 miles (31km)

Day 6

Claonaig(T) to Tarbert. 11 miles (18km)

Day 7

Tarbert to Glendaruel(L). 17.5 miles (28km)

Day 8

Glendaruel(L) to Strachur(L). 15.5 miles (25km)

Day 9

Strachur(L) to Lochgoilhead. 9 miles (14km)

Day 10

Lochgoilhead to Tarbet(L). 11 miles (17.5km)

Day 11

Tarbet(L) to Aberfoyle. 17 miles (27km)

Day 12

Aberfoyle to Doune. 18 miles (29km)

Day 13

Doune to Dollar(L). 17.5 miles (28km)

Day 14

Dollar(L) to Glenfarg. 18 miles (29km)

Day 15

Glenfarg to Kingskettle(T). 15 miles (24km)

Day 16

Kingskettle(T) to St Andrews. 17.5 miles (28km)


Depart from St Andrews after breakfast

Your Itinerary

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.

Overnight stops marked with an (L) have very limited accommodation, and therefore more often than not will also require a transfer, particularly on bank holidays and weekends. We will use non-transfer accommodation wherever possible.

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Dog-friendly tours are subject to a Daily Dog Charge, which will be listed below if applicable. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

A note about transfers
Solo Traveller Supplement
£60.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£40.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£55.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Carradale)
£60.00 per person / per night

What's included?

  • 17 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

Book an extra night to explore the towns and villages along the route, or take a day to rest, relax, and catch up on those postcards.

We recommend an extra night in Tayinloan to make use of the ferry service atop to Gigha. This community-owned island is home to seabirds in their droves, and hosts the Achamore Gardens, too.

Choose Strachur for the chance to relax on the shores of Loch Fyne. Aberfoyle provides a good base from which to explore the Trossachs, with discovery centres in both towns and the Scottish Wool Centre in Aberfoyle.

Interested in game of golf when your walk is complete, Book an extra night in St Andrews, and open up not just the putting greens but a wealth of historic sights, the shops, and the beach at East Sands.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£55.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Carradale)
£60.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 256 miles (410 km)
Duration: 17 nights, 16 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 9 miles (14 km)
Maximum daily distance: 22 miles (35 km)
Code: GSCCW1 Grade: Demanding / Strenuous
Season: 21st March - 31st October
Start of holiday: Machrihanish
End of holiday: St Andrews

Route Profile

Greater Scottish Coast to Coast Route Profile

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air - The most convenient major city and international airports are Glasgow and Glasgow Prestwick.

By Rail - There are no mainline rail stations in the Kintyre area - the nearest rail stations to the start of the trail (Machrihanish) are Glasgow Queen Street and Glasgow Central station (about 145 miles away). The nearest rail station to the end of the trail (St Andrews) is at Leuchars (about 5 miles away).

By Bus - Few bus services run to Machrihanish and from St Andrews.

From London - Trains run from London Euston station to Glasgow Central. From Glasgow Buchanan bus station, the Scottish Citylink Coaches then travel to Campbeltown, where a bus/taxi will then be required to Machrihanish.

Return To The Start - The easiest way to return to the start of the trail, is to take a bus/taxi from St Andrews to Dundee rail station. From there catch the train to Glasgow Queen Street, where coaches run to Campbeltown. Finally from Campbeltown a bus/taxi will be required to Machrihanish.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.
"Approaching Cloanaig Bay" by Sandra Steel (2018) "Approaching Cloanaig Bay" by Sandra Steel (2018)
"Lochan Fraoich" by Sandra Steel (2018) "Lochan Fraoich" by Sandra Steel (2018)
"Approaching Cloanaig Bay" by Sandra Steel (2018) "Approaching Cloanaig Bay" by Sandra Steel (2018)
"Approaching Cloanaig Bay" by Sandra Steel (2018) "Approaching Cloanaig Bay" by Sandra Steel (2018)

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