Scotland does not have set footpaths because of a Scottish law which grants right of access across most land, regardless of who owns it. Some areas may have designated paths, others don’t. It is therefore wise to check out access rights and ensure that footpaths are suitably dog friendly. Outdoor Access Scotland (oudooraccess-scotland.com) has free downloadable leaflets aimed at dog owners.
The mountainous Scottish Highlands are situated to the north and west of the major geographical feature which divides Scotland, the Highland Boundary Fault. The city of Inverness is the region’s capital. It has quirky cafes where dogs are welcome visit sheltered dog friendly riverside paths around Ness islands.
The entire area is proud of its inherited culture and some rural villages have become craft-orientated and are popular tourist destinations. The famous Loch Ness is a must-visit dogfriendly location, and there are various ancient monuments for you to admire. Because of the differences of climate within the Highlands, there are some unique wildlife habitats that you and your dog can explore.
Learn about the famous battle of Culloden at the National Trust of Scotland run site, and nearby Clava Cairns, three chambered burial grounds are of interest to dog owners who are history buffs. Dogs are we
Brodie Castle, near Foress, is a striking 16h century castle, once home to the Brodie Clan. You can explore the beautiful estate with dog friendly woodland walks and a large pond where you can spend time spotting birdlife.
On the Black Isle, Fairy Glen, Rosemarkie, was once known for well-dressing ceremonies where local children would decorate springs with flowers in the hope that fairies would keep the water clean. Take your dog for a stroll along woodland paths and take a see the waterfalls and marvel at the Money Tree, which features hundreds of old coins hammered into its bark as offerings for the fairies.
Nairn Beach, on the coast of the Moray Firth, just east of Inverness, has one of the driest and sunniest climates in the country. There are low sand dunes and a promenade with open grassy areas and views across the Moray Firth to the Black Isle. There’s a range of dog friendly coastal walks to choose from, and with lucky, you may even spot dolphins!
Award-winning Balmedie Beach near Aberdeen is an expansive beach with sand dunes your dog is sure to enjoy exploring.
The Forestry Commission has created a number of dog friendly trails around Aberdeen and the surrounding area, including Bennachie near Oyne, Inverurie, which has four different forests.
With dogs in mind, The National Trust for Scotland has a selection of easy and moderate walking routes in the Highlands.