Give these five walks a go in 2022 and enjoy delicious food and drink stop-offs along the way…
It’s time to blow away the cobwebs with some fresh air after the New Year’s celebrations, and here are five Scottish walks that reward you with a glorious inn or restaurant serving locally sourced food and drink at the end.
The Union Canal – Ratho – Total distance 7 miles
Stretching all the way from Edinburgh to Falkirk, the Union Canal towpath offers a picturesque route for people of all ages. You can walk (or even cycle) from Fountainbridge along the Union Canal, through Edinburgh’s leafy western suburbs out into the beautiful countryside.
Seven miles into the journey sits The Bridge Inn in the pretty village of Ratho located right on the canal banks. The Bridge Inn offers open fires with a wide variety of interesting ales, beers, wines, whiskies and gins as well as an extensive cocktail list created by the knowledgeable bar team.
The menu features seasonal pub food using vegetables grown in the pub’s own walled garden by in-house gardener David, as well as home-bred pork, which is perfect for the delicious pork crackling. The Bridge Inn is opened daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 9am and is currently also offering a takeaway menu.
Pittenweem – Elie – Total distance 6 miles
The Fife Coastal Path runs from Kincardine to Newburgh and is a whopping 186km of walking! If you walk a section in the East Neuk you can break at The Ship Inn.
Blow off your cobwebs and enjoy a six-mile walk along Fife’s Coastal Path from Pitenweem. The walk will take you past the tiny harbour of St Monans and the remains of Newark and Ardross Castles. It also passes Lady’s Tower, which was built in 1760 for Lady Jane Anstruther who used it to shelter when she changed for her daily swim.
Those looking to make an overnight trip can check into The Ship Inn’s seven stylish coastal themed bedrooms lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves.
West Sands Beach, St Andrews – Total distance 4 miles
This blue flag beach was made famous in the film, ‘Chariots of Fire’. The vast sandy beach is one of the finest in Scotland and perfect for stretching your legs during the winter. You can start off at the Bruce Embankment behind The Scores where you’ll have a fine view of the beach. You can walk along the beach and dunes for some way, passing through the Eden Estuary nature reserve before heading back down the track towards the famous Old Course golf course and into the One Under Bar, in the newly re-opened Rusacks St Andrews.
Guests can enjoy pub classics such as haggis fritters with Arran mustard mayo or the One Under beef burger with Monterey jack and pickle followed by old-school desserts like their marmalade steamed pudding with Drambuie custard. Toast to the new year with a dram from their vast collection of single malt whiskies.
St Monans – Lower Largo – Total distance 8.75 miles
The Crusoe is perched on the edge of Lower Largo pier overlooking the beach and is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy an array of pub classics and Scottish seafood. The cosy atmosphere and tasteful renovation have transformed this venue from tired and lacklustre interiors to a contemporary seaside nook to eat and unwind.
The Crusoe has a footprint in the bar which supposedly belongs to Alexander Selkirk, the real-life pirate and desert island adventurer who inspired Daniel Defoe to pen Robinson Crusoe in 1719.
In the present, Chef Ross Traill is enjoying exploring the amazing producers on the doorstep, including taking just 20 steps to pick up the lobster, crab and mackerel from the pier to feature on the menu alongside beautiful game from Teasses Estate. They are also currently offering a takeaway menu for collection.
North Berwick – North Berwick Law – Total distance 6 miles
No need for hiking boots, the North Berwick Law is an easy climb to the top of the hill for stunning views of Edinburgh, the Pentlands and Arthur’s Seat, along East Lothian coastline, and out across the Firth of Forth to Fife in the distance.
The hill was once part of a volcano, with the hard rock resisting erosion from glaciers during the ice age and watching over the pretty seaside town of North Berwick. The summit has a trig point and a set of replica whale jawbones.
The Victorian-era Marine North Berwick is considered a jewel in the crown of Scotland’s Golf Coast. Occupying a prominent position in the much-loved seaside spot, it has hosted generations of golfers and holidaymakers since 1876 who came for the fresh air and water. Now, revamped as part of the Marine & Lawn collection of distinct hotels, the landmark has been restored to its former glory, with a sophisticated grandeur for the 21st century.