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Best base for hiking without a car?

Best base for hiking without a car?


Postby When Adventure Knox » Sun Mar 06, 2022 12:28 pm

Hello everyone

Hoping you may be able to give some advice.

I'm considering visiting Scotland for a week at the end of the summer, coming up from London on the sleeper train. I want to spend my days doing day hikes, but worry about how difficult this may be without a car to get to trailheads.

Can anyone recommend a good area to base myself in with a range of walking routes that either lead from there, or that has good public transport links to make life a bit easier please?

Thank you if you can help.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby AyrshireAlps » Sun Mar 06, 2022 2:13 pm

Crianlarich is hard to beat, so much great walking from there, can get the bus or train to Tyndrum and bridge of orchy for more masses of hills.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby al78 » Sun Mar 06, 2022 2:58 pm

Aviemore. Good public transport links to the Cairngorm ski centre and along Strathspey to places where you can access the Monadhliath mountains, or even further along the railway line to Dalwhinnie and the Drummochter hills.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby CharlesT » Sun Mar 06, 2022 4:17 pm

AyrshireAlps wrote:Crianlarich is hard to beat, so much great walking from there, can get the bus or train to Tyndrum and bridge of orchy for more masses of hills.

I'd second Crianlarich. Lots of good hills and walks close by and buses to Tyndrum and other spots on the A85. I've stayed in the Best Western hotel there several times and found it pleasant enough and good value, and the rooms have baths! Decor was a bit tired when I was last there but that's a while back.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby WalkWithWallace » Sun Mar 06, 2022 5:15 pm

Aviemore and get in about the Cairngorm Mountains.

Or Dalwhinnie train station and walk through to Fort William. :D
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby Sunset tripper » Sun Mar 06, 2022 5:54 pm

Fort William or Aviemore.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby nigheandonn » Sun Mar 06, 2022 6:20 pm

Depending on what kind of walking you want, maybe Pitlochry - train to Blair Atholl or Dalwhinnie for serious Munro bagging, some nice wanders (and Ben Vrackie) on your doorstep, tiny hills at Dunkeld, and the bus towards Kinloch Rannoch for a change.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby Concon1976 » Sun Mar 06, 2022 7:42 pm

I would also suggest Crianlarich. Some great hills in that area and train/bus links to Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy which give you access to so many more Munro’s and Corbetts!
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby jmarkb » Sun Mar 06, 2022 8:16 pm

Crianlarich is a good base for the hills, but somewhat limited in terms of facilities compared to the other options.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby davekeiller » Sun Mar 06, 2022 9:53 pm

Crianlarich or Tyndrum are great options for walking off the train straight onto the hill. You're on the West Highland Line so can head to Bridge of Orchy, Corrour or Cruachan as day trips.
Facilities are a bit limited, however.

Aviemore has better facilities, but is further from the hills so you'd need to get the bus.
Dalwhinnie has good access to hills, although you may want access to a bike to shorten the walk in (it may be possible to arrange this locally, otherwise it requires lots of planning with trains). Ditto Blair Atholl.
Corrour station is also a good option. Either stay in the hotel at the station or at Loch Ossian Youth Hostel.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby prog99 » Sun Mar 06, 2022 11:47 pm

When Adventure Knox wrote:Hello everyone

Hoping you may be able to give some advice.

I'm considering visiting Scotland for a week at the end of the summer, coming up from London on the sleeper train. I want to spend my days doing day hikes, but worry about how difficult this may be without a car to get to trailheads.

Can anyone recommend a good area to base myself in with a range of walking routes that either lead from there, or that has good public transport links to make life a bit easier please?

Thank you if you can help.

Definitely Crianlarich. The hostel is good as a base but be prepared to eat in one of the hotels (or bring food) as the local shop is fine but has limited opening hours.

Plenty of hills direct from the hostel, then with the train loads of possibilities.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Mar 06, 2022 11:59 pm

This might be a bit left field... but if you could bring a mountain bike with you, this would massively open up the opportunities - eg you could base yourself at Glencoe, and then there would be endless great hills within striking distance.

Just a thought...
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby prog99 » Mon Mar 07, 2022 12:15 am

Alteknacker wrote:This might be a bit left field... but if you could bring a mountain bike with you, this would massively open up the opportunities - eg you could base yourself at Glencoe, and then there would be endless great hills within striking distance.

Just a thought...

In that case then (as glencoe isn't near a train station) fort william would be a good choice with lots of amenities.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby al78 » Mon Mar 07, 2022 12:18 am

The problem with using Dalwhinnie as a base is that you have to work out food logistics. There is no place to get an evening meal in the village I am aware of, and I don't think there are many places in the village to buy things like sandwiches or similar to take on the hill. In fact I don't think there is much of anything in the village beyond the distillery, it has always looked like a tiny settlement in the desolate moorland whenever I've been there.
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Re: Best base for hiking without a car?

Postby prog99 » Mon Mar 07, 2022 8:35 am

al78 wrote:The problem with using Dalwhinnie as a base is that you have to work out food logistics. There is no place to get an evening meal in the village I am aware of, and I don't think there are many places in the village to buy things like sandwiches or similar to take on the hill. In fact I don't think there is much of anything in the village beyond the distillery, it has always looked like a tiny settlement in the desolate moorland whenever I've been there.

There’s at least two places to eat out now in the evening. For other meals just bring the necessary with you, the new hostel there has excellent facilities.
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