I am looking for recommendations for remote and scenic areas to explore in Scotland. I am planning a 5 day long trip with with wild camping in June and would like to explore some of the untouched parts of Scotland. I would prefer the area to be fairly mountainous and as wild as possible. I have already done similar hikes in the Cairngorms and Cuillins so am looking somewhere else. Any advice is appreciated.
The Fisherfield area is known as the 'Great Wilderness'. I don't know if it is the most remote part of mainland Scotland but probably the most remote big mountains. You could go over An Teallach from Dundonnell and stay in (or around if it's closed) the Shenavall bothy and then go from there.
Nowhere is untouched. But if you want remote AND scenic then go northwest.
We published this piece on Fisherfield today: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/destinations/the_big_routes_fisherfield_six-13567
For my money, this area is hard to beat. With five days you could add in Torridon/Coulin too, or the Fannaichs.
Further north, the area around Beinn Dearg and Seana Bhraigh is pretty massive, and much of that feels very remote.
Equally wild-feeling is the huge bit between Glen Affric and Strath Carron. Lots of big peaks, some very out-there corners, and you could easily devise a five-day circuit or something linear that takes in both glens and high ground (or with a plan A / plan B depending on weather)
Another obvious suggestion would be Knoydart and the Rough Bounds, though in summer you can probably expect that to be among the busiest of the so-called 'last wildernesses' of Scotland. Hard-to-access, scenic and very rough. Justifiably popular.
Just south of that, the Ardgour area is very like Knoydart in character, but less trodden.
Was looking to do something similar last year up around Glen Affric using the Affric Kintail way, the local lockdowns and weather scuppered that so it still remains just a plotted GPX route for me.
Trouble is, if I tell you about them they won't be empty and remote any more.
Look at a map of Scotland and look for the bits without roads. Find out about those bits and go and explore the one that interests you most. You'll get more out of the experience than you'd get by following someone else's advice.
Long ago we did Corrour Station to Spean Bridge via Lairig Leacach Bothy NN 283 736.
The good thing was it was a low level walk - no need to carry full rucksacks over any Munros.
Pitch tent, do a Munro or two, a leisurely move of campsite to the start of the next walk in the evening and repeat the next day.
Lairig Leacach Bothy - uncertain if/when it will be open due to Covid restrictions
starting by achiltibuie and head east. Cross one road and head north towards conival/ quinag. Then head west towards achmelvich/ lochinver . used that as a DofE route- saw more eagles than people.
lots of possibilities for using the valleys if the weather is very poor or over the tops if fine
Problem with well known remote places are they can be busy during good weather. I spent a night in Sourlies once that was absolutely mobbed. Tents outside all over and no room on the floor of the bothy due to folks sleeping.
The NW coast of Jura or "PAIRC" on Lewis spring to mind.
> Problem with well known remote places are they can be busy during good weather.
Yes, if you want to get away from people, ignore the usual obvious recommendations, lay some maps out on the floor and either use some cunning to plan something a bit different in those areas or go to one of the areas which never gets mentioned. People can still be mostly avoided with a bit of imagination.
The coast line and mountains in the NW are stunning. Assynt is a personal favorite.
+1 for the Fisherfield
Also +1 for Glen Affric/Strathconnon. Starting anywhere in Glen Shiel and heading N to NE you have Glen Affric and all the mountains round Loch Mullardoch and Loch Monar and all the way up to Strathconnon. It's also about as remote as Scotland gets. You will still find a path in most every large glen but most of them are pretty basic with a minimum of the sort of engineered stuff you get in more popular places like the Cairngorms.
For my money Ardgour is a bit small for the truely wild feel and it's completely bisected by Loch Shiel so unless you are either carrying an inflatable with you or totally nuts, you either restrict yourself to one half or walk a _long_ way out to the main road and back in again to get round it.
You also have the Monadhliath - right next door to the Cairngorms but not at all popular in my (admittedly limited) experience. The mountains are not as spectacular because it's a more rounded landscape of lower angled slopes but you could easily take a week to walk from one end to the other and feel pretty isolated the whole way.
That's if you ignore the hugh new windfarm thats just been built.
Climb Ben More Assynt, then head north. Keep east of Loch Glencoul, cross the A838 at the northwestern end of Loch More and head for Arkle and Foinavon.
In addition to the superlative scenery and splendid isolation, you may also enjoy the company of a number of midges beyond the powers of arithmetic to calculate. Be prepared.
The wilderness thing is a weird one because its as much in your head as it is in the place. Sometimes recommendations won't correspond to that feeling, other places catch you by surprise. After a few visits to some of these places, the 'outback' thrill goes altogether and in the long run you feel the place on more equal terms.
A favourite has always been the big emptiness centred on Mullardoch/Loch Monar. As much for the huge sweeping skylines. Shame the glens are flooded, would be better with some people in them. Same with Pairc.
Tarf is also a whole lot of open space, often oppressive imo in a way that other parts of the Highlands aren't.
> That's if you ignore the hugh new windfarm thats just been built.
True. I guess it varies from person to person as to how much this will be a problem for people. Personally I think wind turbines are so much a part of the uninhabited landscape of the UK now that I don't really notice them so much any more unless I'm standing under or pretty near one.
There is a price to pay for renewable energy as there is for everything in the world and that is part of it I guess.
> For my money Ardgour is a bit small for the truely wild feel and it's completely bisected by Loch Shiel so unless you are either carrying an inflatable with you or totally nuts, you either restrict yourself to one half or walk a _long_ way out to the main road and back in again to get round it.
If you wander up one of the Glens from Loch Linnhe then over the hills and out another one, you're unlikely to meet anyone much.
> Assynt/ Coigach.
It is quite hard to devise routes in this area which avoid road crossings without being rather contrived. I've run D of E groups in the area for years and the best I can come up with is always a bit unsatisfactory. The area behind Ben Mor Assynt and Glen Coul and so on is much wilder.
> Tarf is also a whole lot of open space, often oppressive imo in a way that other parts of the Highlands aren't.
That's interesting. Years ago, when the ex and I were Munro bagging, we'd often backpack for a few days and knock off a few hills. Sometimes we'd have a reasonably central camp and head out to get them from it. Other times we'd lug kit over the tops - hard work! We did the latter approach in Tarf, starting off from Glen Tilt and descending north off Dearg into the Tarf headwaters to camp. We loved the remote feel of the place - no craggy bits just miles of rolling moorland. Next day we grabbed a couple more hills then camped in the upper Tilt. It was a midge Armageddon and put paid to Beinn a' Ghlo!
We did a four day route over munros near Loch Mullardoch and Loch Monar, mid summer and we saw no one else for the whole four days. That felt pretty untouched and remote (and was also amazing!)
Back in the late 1980s when I was doing my DoE Gold expedition, we took a route from Blair Atholl to Aviemore that headed up Glen Bruar to Glen Tarf, then Glen Tilt, Glen Geldie, Glen Dee towards Corrour, Glen Luibeg and Glen Derry to the Fords of Avon and finally up over the top of Cairngorm to finish. Glen Tarf definitely felt like wild country - pathless, boggy and a long, long way from anywhere, much moreso than the central Cairngorms.
Another vote for the area of Inverlael and Freevater SE of Ullapool. Superb mountains of Seana Braigh, Ben Dearg, Conival. Straths Mulzie, Beag and Sguaib between, form a wonderful area with a very remote feel to it. Be prepared for river crossings which could be in spate - and camp high to avoid midges.
I did a walk in the 80s from Glen Affric to Kinlochewe, taking in a few Munroes. It was indeed very remote, and we saw few other people. But I felt that the mountains that we saw at the end, i.e. Torridon and Slioch, looked more inspiring than those we had climbed.