Hiking around Scotland in 14 Craft Beers

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Get ready to embark on a journey through the scenic beauty of Scotland, as we take you on a tour of 14 breathtaking hikes paired with some of the finest craft beers the country has to offer. From the Highlands to the Lowlands, we’ll explore quaint towns, historical landmarks, and mesmerising landscapes, all while enjoying the unique flavours of Scotland’s craft beer scene. So, lace up your walking boots, dig out your map and compass, grab your favourite hiking companion, and join us on this unforgettable adventure!

Cairngorm Mountain Trail & Cairngorm Wildcat (Cairngorm Brewery, Aviemore)

Cairngorm Brewery
Hike: The Cairngorm Mountain Trail
Distance: 8 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate

Our journey begins in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, where we’ll follow the Cairngorm Mountain Trail. This 8-mile moderate hike offers stunning views of ancient Caledonian forests, sparkling lochs, and towering peaks. Keep an eye out for the rare and majestic capercaillie, a bird native to the area.

Tasting Notes: Hoppy, Refreshing, Balanced

After your hike, head to the Cairngorm Brewery in Aviemore to sample their Wildcat pale ale. With hoppy, refreshing, and balanced flavours, this delightful brew is the perfect way to recharge after a day on the trail. While in Aviemore, be sure to visit the Strathspey Steam Railway for a nostalgic trip through the Scottish countryside.

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Glen Fyne & Fyne Ales Jarl (Fyne Ales, Cairndow)

Fyne Ales
Hike: Glen Fyne
Distance: 7 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate

Next up, we head west to the enchanting Glen Fyne for a moderate 7-mile hike. As you walk along the riverside, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and perhaps even spot a red deer or two.

Tasting Notes: Light, Citrusy, Crisp

Once you’ve worked up a thirst, make your way to Fyne Ales in Cairndow to sample their Jarl blonde ale. Its light, citrusy, and crisp flavours will transport you to the sun-soaked shores of the Western Isles. Don’t miss the chance to explore the nearby Inveraray Castle, a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture.

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The Old Man of Storr & Skye Red (Isle of Skye Brewing Co., Uig)

Isle of Skye Brewing Co.
Hike: The Old Man of Storr
Distance: 2.8 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate

Our adventure continues on the mystical Isle of Skye, where the iconic Old Man of Storr awaits. This 2.8-mile moderate hike takes you through a landscape steeped in legend, with its towering rock formations and expansive coastal views.

Tasting Notes: Malty, Hoppy, Smooth

After descending from the Storr, head to the Isle of Skye Brewing Co. in Uig to try their Skye Red ale. Its malty, hoppy, and smooth character perfectly complements the rugged beauty of the island. While on Skye, visit the enchanting Fairy Pools, a series of crystal-clear pools and waterfalls nestled in the shadow of the Black Cuillin mountains.

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Inverness Castle to Culloden Battlefield & Black Isle Yellowhammer (Black Isle Brewery, Inverness)

Black Isle Brewery
Hike: Inverness Castle to Culloden Battlefield
Distance: 9 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate

Journey back in time with a historical 9-mile hike from Inverness Castle to the Culloden Battlefield. As you walk, you’ll retrace the footsteps of the Jacobite forces, culminating in a visit to the site of the Battle of Culloden, a turning point in Scottish history.

Tasting Notes: Fruity, Hoppy, Aromatic

After soaking up the area’s rich past, head to the Black Isle Brewery in Inverness to sample their Yellowhammer IPA. Its fruity, hoppy, and aromatic profile is the perfect pick-me-up after a day of exploration. While in Inverness, take a stroll along the River Ness and visit the Ness Islands, a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.

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Forvie National Nature Reserve & BrewDog Punk IPA (BrewDog, Ellon)

BrewDog
Hike: Forvie National Nature Reserve
Distance: 5.5 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy

Our next stop takes us to the stunning coastline of the Forvie National Nature Reserve. This 5.5-mile easy hike offers a diverse landscape of sand dunes, heathland, and estuary, providing a haven for seabirds and seals alike.

Tasting Notes: Bold, Hoppy, Tropical

After your coastal adventure, visit BrewDog in Ellon to enjoy their flagship Punk IPA. With its bold, hoppy, and tropical flavours, this beer will leave you feeling energized and ready for more exploration. While in Ellon, be sure to visit the historic ruins of Ellon Castle and its picturesque gardens.

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Ben Nevis & Smooth Transition Rye IPA (Wild Barn Brewery, Fort William)

Wild Barn Brewery
Hike: Ben Nevis
Distance: 10.5 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Challenging

For the more adventurous hikers, the challenge of conquering Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK, awaits. This 10.5-mile challenging hike (much tougher than Wales’ Snowdon, if you need a comparison) rewards you with unrivaled panoramic views and a true sense of accomplishment.

Tasting Notes: Refreshing, Malty, Golden

Celebrate your achievement with a Smooth Transition, a refreshing, malty golden rye IPA from Wild Barn Brewery in Fort William. While in the area, don’t miss a chance to explore the beautiful Glen Nevis or take a ride on the scenic Jacobite Steam Train. Or, if you’re feeling even more adventurous, consider tackling the long-distance West Highland Way hike.

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The Cobbler & Loch Lomond Silkie Stout (Loch Lomond Brewery, Alexandria)

Loch Lomond Brewery
Hike: The Cobbler (Ben Arthur)
Distance: 7 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate

Our journey continues with a hike to The Cobbler, also known as Ben Arthur. This 7-mile moderate hike offers breathtaking views of Loch Long and the Arrochar Alps. The summit is famous for its distinctive rocky peak, offering a thrilling scramble for those seeking a bit of adventure.

Tasting Notes: Rich, Smooth, Chocolatey

After conquering The Cobbler, enjoy a Loch Lomond Silkie Stout, a rich and smooth stout with chocolatey notes, from Loch Lomond Brewery in Alexandria. Be sure to explore the picturesque shores of Loch Lomond and the charming village of Luss while you’re in the area.

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Eildon Hills & Tempest Brave New World (Tempest Brewing Co., Tweedbank)

Tempest Brewing Co.
Hike: Eildon Hills
Distance: 4.5 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate

The Eildon Hills, steeped in history and legend, offer a 4.5-mile moderate hike with beautiful views of the Scottish Borders. The area is rich in archaeological sites, including the remains of an Iron Age hill fort and a Roman signal station.

Tasting Notes: Bold, Hoppy, Resinous

After your hike, sample the Tempest Brave New World IPA, with its bold, hoppy, and resinous flavours, at the Tempest Brewing Co. in Tweedbank. While in the area, visit the nearby Melrose Abbey, a magnificent Gothic ruin, and the tranquil harmony Gardens.

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Dunnottar Castle Coastal Walk & 6° North Hopocrisy (6° North, Stonehaven)

6° North
Hike: Dunnottar Castle Coastal Walk
Distance: 2 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy

Next, we head to the stunning Dunnottar Castle Coastal Walk, a 2-mile easy hike that offers breathtaking views of the imposing medieval fortress perched atop a rocky cliff. The castle’s dramatic location and rich history make this a must-see attraction.

Tasting Notes: Light, Hoppy, Floral

After exploring the castle grounds, visit 6° North in Stonehaven to try their Hopocrisy pale ale, with its light, hoppy, and floral notes. While in Stonehaven, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the beautiful Stonehaven Bay and the charming harbour, where you can sample some of the best fish and chips in Scotland.

Arthur’s Seat & Stewart Edinburgh Gold (Stewart Brewing, Edinburgh)

Stewart Brewing
Hike: Arthur’s Seat
Distance: 3 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate

No trip to Scotland would be complete without a visit to its capital, Edinburgh. The city’s iconic Arthur’s Seat offers a 3-mile moderate hike with stunning panoramic views. As you climb, you’ll be surrounded by the rich history and vibrant culture of this extraordinary city.

Tasting Notes: Refreshing, Malty, Caramel

Once you’ve descended, head to Stewart Brewing to sample their Edinburgh Gold, a refreshing, malty ale with caramel undertones. While in Edinburgh, be sure to explore the historic Royal Mile, visit the majestic Edinburgh Castle, and experience the city’s vibrant arts and food scenes.

The Old Man of Hoy & Orkney Skull Splitter (The Orkney Brewery, Quoyloo)

The Orkney Brewery
Hike: The Old Man of Hoy
Distance: 5.6 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate

Our next adventure takes us to the remote Orkney Islands, where we’ll hike to the iconic Old Man of Hoy sea stack. This 5.6-mile moderate hike offers dramatic coastal views and an unparalleled sense of tranquillity.

Tasting Notes: Rich, Strong, Complex

After your hike, enjoy the rich, strong, and complex flavours of Orkney Skull Splitter, a legendary ale from The Orkney Brewery in Quoyloo. While on the islands, visit the ancient Neolithic site of Skara Brae and the striking Ring of Brodgar stone circle.

Tinto Hill & Broughton Hopopotamus (Broughton Ales, Biggar)

Broughton Ales
Hike: Tinto Hill
Distance: 4.5 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate

Head to Tinto Hill for a 4.5-mile moderate hike offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside. This distinctive hill, topped with a large cairn, is a popular destination for walkers and history enthusiasts alike.

Tasting Notes: Hoppy, Citrusy, Refreshing

After your climb, visit Broughton Ales to sample their Hopopotamus IPA, a hoppy, citrusy, and refreshing brew. In Biggar, explore the local museums, including the Biggar Gasworks Museum and the Biggar Puppet Theatre.

Leith to Cramond Island & Pilot Mochaccino Stout (Pilot Brewery, Leith)

Pilot Brewery
Hike: Leith to Cramond Island
Distance: 7 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy

Our coastal adventures continue with a 7-mile easy hike from the bustling port of Leith to the picturesque Cramond Island. The island, accessible during low tide via a causeway, is steeped in history, with remnants of World War II fortifications still visible.

Tasting Notes: Rich, Creamy, Coffee

After your hike, indulge in a rich and creamy Pilot Mochaccino Stout from Pilot Brewery in Leith. While in the area, explore the vibrant waterfront, visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, and enjoy some of the best seafood in the city.

The Pentland Hills & Campervan Leith Juice (Campervan Brewery, Edinburgh)

Campervan Brewery
Hike: The Pentland Hills
Distance: Various trails, up to 15 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy to Challenging

We end our journey with a visit to the Pentland Hills, offering a range of hikes with varying difficulty and distances, up to 15 miles. These rolling hills provide stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the distant city of Edinburgh.

Tasting Notes: Fruity, Hoppy, Zesty

After your hike, enjoy a fruity, hoppy, and zesty Campervan Leith Juice pale ale at the Campervan Brewery in Edinburgh. This refreshing brew is the perfect way to celebrate the end of our Scottish hiking and craft beer adventure.

Conclusion

From the rugged Highlands to the mystical islands, our journey has taken us through some of the most breathtaking landscapes Scotland has to offer. Along the way, we’ve discovered the unique and diverse flavours of the country’s craft beer scene, sampling a range of brews that capture the spirit and passion of their creators.

So, whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll with a rewarding beer at the end, we hope this guide has inspired you to lace up your boots and embark on your own Scottish adventure. Go prepared (don’t make these rookie hiking mistakes) and have an amazing adventure. Cheers to exploring the beauty of Scotland, one craft beer and hike at a time!

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