Unlike England or Wales, 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 so it is wise to check out access rights and where you and your dog can walk safely. Outdoor Access Scotland (oudooraccess-scotland.com) has free downloadable leaflets specifically aimed at dog owners.
The National Trust for Scotland cares for over 76,000 hectares of breathtaking countryside. Keen to attract dog walkers, it has created a number of trails. Download free walking trail pdfs from its website www.nts.org.uk
South West Scotland boasts wild mountains, forests, and dog friendly historic castles, and has a long and spectacular coastline that's well worth exploring. The Rhins of Galloway is a narrow 25 mile long peninsula running from Corsewall Lighthouse at the top to the Mull of Galloway at the southern tip. The Mull of Galloway Trail runs from Stranraer to the Mull of Galloway. Scotland’s longest trail, the Southern Upland Way, starts in Portpatrick, a picturesque harbour village on the Irish Coast. It follows the clifftops southwards from Portpatrick to Kallantringan Beach before heading inland to the east coast.
Immediately east of the Rhins, the Machars of Galloway is another picturesque peninsula in South West Scotland, where dogs are welcome.
Inland, there are plenty of opportunities to take dog walks, whether it be in the hills or the forests of the area.
Why not visit Culzean, one of Scotland’s best-loved castles and one of the National Trust’s finest properties. The dog friendly castle is surrounded by a 242 hectare estate with woodland, landscaped gardens and cliff-top walks with stunning views. It’s on the route of the Ayrshire Coastal Path.
Check out the Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s most southerly point (sometimes referred to as Scotland’s Lands End) with its views of four counties. There’s a dog friendly visitors’ centre and a cafe on the cliff edge. Nearby Port Logan was the location for the BBC TV drama series ‘2000 Acres of Sky’ and sits on the southern edge of a wide sandy beach.
Turnberry Castle, which dates from the 13th century or earlier, is thought to have been the birthplace of Robert the Bruce. Eglinton Country Park, in the ground of the old Eglinton Castle estate, has dog friendly woodland trails, parks and gardens. It is listed as a ‘Friendly Venue’ by the Dog’s Trust and has made a particular effort to make dogs welcome.
Dog friendly Galloway Forest Park, managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, offers spectacular views and a diversity of dramatic scenery. Situated in Dumfries & Galloway, it is Britain’s largest forest park and includes seashore and mountain tops - an ideal location for memorable days out with your dog.