Walk the Mary Queen of Scots Way from Arrochar to St Andrews

25 September 2019
The Mary Queen of Scots Way is a 107-mile (172km) long distance route across Scotland, from Arrochar in Argyll & Bute to St Andrews in Fife.

This long-distance trail runs from coast to coast and links together different places associated with the life of Mary Queen of Scots.

The Way links with the Cowal Way, the West Highland Way, the Rob Roy Way and the Fife Coastal Path and goes through a variety of scenery, starting from a rugged sea loch, crossing Loch Lomond and traversing its National Park to the hills of central Scotland, ending on a sandy beach on the Fife coast.

It passes mountains, lochs and waterfalls; castles, hill forts and aqueducts; and is broken into manageable sections which end at welcoming villages and small towns with friendly pubs and B&Bs. Compared with other Scottish Long Distance Paths, the Mary Queen of Scots Way is harder than the Fife Coast Path, similar in difficulty to the Rob Roy Way and West Highland Way, and easier than the Southern Upland Way.

Plan the walk

The walk and accompanying guidebook is written as a series of ten self-contained stages, each of about 10 miles, except stage 1 which is really just a half stage at 5 miles.  These provide days of reasonable length for day walkers, given the need to travel at the start and end of each day.

Stage 1 Arrochar to Loch Lomond

The Mary Queen of Scots Way begins at the head of Loch Long and goes into Arrochar village, joining the Cowal Way, past Ben Vorlich and on to Inverglas.

Stage 2 Loch Lomond to Aberfoyle

Head along the West Highland Way through ancient woodlands, on to Gleann Gaoithe and ending this section at Loch Dhu. Travelling past two aqueducts past Duchray Bridge and Duchray Castle, past Lochan Spling and Kirkton through to Aberfoyle.

Stage 3 Aberfoyle to Callendar

Out of the town to Craig of Monievreckie and views towards Inchmahome Island, where Mary Queen of Scots stayed, through forest and moorland to Loch Venachar and on through the woods to Callendar.


Stage 4 Callander to Dunblane

Leave Callander for Drumdhu Wood and through to Keltie Water, Brokentree Wood, past Old Kilmadock Cemetery on to Doune Castle, before reaching Dunblane.

Stage 5 Dunblane to Tillicoultry

This section continues along Baxter's Loan over Allan Water, around Cocksburn reservoir to Balquharn and entering Tillicoultry.

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Stage 6 - TIllicoultry to Glendevon

Leave the town by Devon Way past the Dollar Burn, along to Castle Campbell and via Cadgers Way into Glendevon.

Stage 7 - Glendevon to Glenfarg

Continue to Borland Glen, over Coul Burn into Corb Glen through forest with views to Loch Leven, then on to Glenfarg.

Stage 8 Glenfarg to Falkland

Continue up to Arngask Farm to Yellow Hill and then down to Bannarty, on to the ruins of Ballo Castle and down towards Falkland and its splendid palace, a favourite of the Stewart monarchs.

Stage 9 Falkland to Ceres

Leave on the road to Newton of Falkland through woodland to Kingskettle, the Shoreland, Balmacolm and finishing at Ceres.

Stage 10 Ceres to St Andrews

Continue through woodland and farm tracks to Kinnimonth Hill and on to Drumcarrow Craig, with its splendid views. After a glimpse of the North Sea carry on through Denhead, around Craigtoun Country Park and through to your destination at St Andrews.

n.b. The Mary Queen of Scots way is an invention of author Paul Prescott and has no official waymarkings or signs.

Mary Queen of Scots Way guidebook

  • By Paul Prescott
  • Published 15 April 2012
  • UK price £10.99
  • 64pp+5pp map flap
  • 145x210 mm
  • ISBN: 978-1-898481-48-5

This guidebook contains everything a walker needs to plan and enjoy their holiday:

  • detailed description of the route from west to east
  • summary of each section with terrain, grade and refreshments
  • map of the entire route in 6 drop-down panels (1:110,000)
  • section about the tragic life of Mary Queen of Scots
  • practical information about public transport and travel
  • lavishly illustrated, with over 80 colour photographs
  • printed on rainproof paper

Buy the guidebook.

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