In Scotland we are lucky enough to be blessed with some pretty magnificent stretches of coastline. Now that summer is (allegedly) here, what better time to get out and explore it? Here is our pick of the best coastal walks across the country.

1. Fife Coastal Path

The Fife Coastal Path runs for more than 117 miles from Kincardine to Newburgh. But probably the most scenic stretch is that which curves round the East Neuk, a corner of picturesque fishing towns that make up the most northerly part of the Firth of Forth. Each village is as pretty as the last, and you can tackle as many or as few of them as you wish on the route from Leven up to St Andrews. Elie offers a sublime beach, Anstruther has (arguably) the best fish and chip shop in the country, and Crail has a postcard perfect harbour where you can sit and watch the world go by.

2. Achmelvich Beach and Alltan'abradhan, Sutherland

The beautiful Sutherland beach of Achmelvich appears both Aegean and Nordic at once: with turquoise water and pristine sand that is juxtaposed by jagged rocks and rugged hills. To get there, take the lovely coastal walk via Alltan’abradhan. Start in the Achmelvich Beach car park and follow the footpath over the grassy coastal hills, stopping at the old grain mill on your way. Continue on to the glorious beach and make sure to take as much time as you need to soak up the pretty special views. If you want to extend your walk further -and discover the smallest castle in Europe- then head off the beach and up the rock to the tiny ‘hermits’ castle which was built by a young architect in the 1960s.

3. St Abbs to Eyemouth, Scottish Borders

Well-signposted so you won’t get lost, this pleasant walk takes in stretches of harbour, clifftop and beaches as it weaves its way down the east coast. The fishing village of St Abbs -which was recently used for filming part of Marvel Avengers: Endgame - provides a picturesque starting point for the route. You then take the coastal path along Coldingham Bay and up over the cliffs, where you might be lucky enough to spot some roe deer. When you reach Eyemouth there are plenty of nice cafés to visit, none more so than Giacopazzi’s for an ice cream or the Rialto for a cake.

4. Cruden Bay to Bullers of Buchan, Aberdeenshire

The Bullers of Buchan is one of Aberdeenshire’s most spectacular spots: a collection of craggy cliffs centred around a collapsed sea cave that now forms a spectacular rock archway. The best way to see it is by walking from the village of Cruden Bay, where you will pass the ruins of Slains Castle on your way. The 16th century castle was said to have helped inspire the story of Dracula, after its Irish author Bram Stoker visited the area before he wrote his 1897 novel. After you pass the castle, keep heading along the clifftop coastal path until a large detached rock (locally known as Dunbuy) comes into view. From here, the scenery only gets better, with a series of arches, sea caves and blow holes before you reach the Bullers of Buchan itself. You might also spot puffins nesting, if you are lucky.

5. Carradale Explorer, Kintyre

Immortalised in song by Paul McCartney, the Mull of Kintyre offers real remoteness and isolation despite being only a few hours from Glasgow. The village of Carradale is a great spot for a coastal walk as you are unlikely to meet many, if any, other people along your way. If you begin at the Carradale harbour and then cut across its golf course you will be rewarded with some spectacular views of Arran- as long as you watch out for any stray golf balls flying about. Be sure to leave enough time to savour the tranquillity of Carradale Bay before you head back, keeping an eye out for the various birds of prey species that are known to live in the area.

6. Portpatrick to Killantringan Lighthouse, Dumfries and Galloway

Portpatrick is possibly one of Scotland’s most underrated coastal towns. Thanks to its proximity to Ireland (a mere 21 miles across the sea) it was traditionally an important harbour site, but its modest beauty has perhaps been overlooked by tourists since then. If you want to see it for yourself, then head to its lovely amphitheatre-style seafront before following the rugged Southern Upland Way towards the Killantringan Lighthouse.

7. The Coffin Roads, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides

Walking across the south of Harris really does make you feel like you are in another world. The barren, rocky landscapes and undisturbed beaches can give the impression that you are perhaps the only one to have ever stumbled on the area. But this route is in fact steeped in the heritage of the local people, allegedly being used by coffin-bearers as they transported their dead to the more fertile burial soil on the island’s western side. It does have a certain poignancy, even for modern visitors, with the eerie emptiness of the landscape and the fact that you are unlikely to meet anyone at all along the path. Start at the Bays Café (where you can fuel yourself for the walk ahead) and then follow the footpath to Luskentyre, which continues along to a section of tricky terrain. Be careful underfoot and make sure you follow the yellow posts until the Luskentyre Sands come into view. From there, you can savour the peacefulness and the pristine white sands before heading back the way you came.

8. Chanonry Point, Fortrose, Black Isle

Animal lovers: this one’s for you. Chanonry Point is widely considered to be one of the best places in the UK to spot bottlenose dolphins, who can often be found leaping in and out of the Moray Firth. If you want to make a day of it, start in the centre of Fortrose and then head towards the town’s caravan park, keeping adjacent to the golf course until you reach the pristine Chanonry Point lighthouse. If you can manage to tear yourself away from the wildlife, try going back via the opposite side of the peninsula to visit the equally lovely village of Rosemarkie.

Scotland's favourite gentle strolls: Part Two

9. Old Man of Hoy, Orkney

Admittedly, this isn’t the easiest walk to access. After getting to Orkney you then have to get a ferry to the separate island of Hoy, then make your way to Rackwick Bay (the last point of civilisation- so make sure and take advantage of the toilet facilities in the bothy). From Rackwick, there is a clear and well-signposted path that leads you along the unique Orkney coastline until the Old Man of Hoy comes into view. This 449-foot sea stack, said to resemble a human figure, almost seems to defy gravity as its base is thinner than its middle due to erosion from the waves. Take some time to sit back and admire it, as well as any brave adventurers who might be climbing up it. If you feel up to it you can then continue along the coast to the sandstone cliffs at St John’s Head, which is the highest vertical cliff in the UK.

10. Ayr to Dunure, Ayrshire

Fairy-tale castles with turrets and towers are all well and good. But there is something about a castle ruin -particularly with the crashing sea as a backdrop- that stirs up a real sense of emotion. This walk, beginning in Ayr, takes in two such castles, Greenan Castle on the way along and then Dunure Castle at the finish. The tides and weather conditions can make the route tricky and if you time the tide wrong you may have to climb up some rocks to get to higher ground. But for experienced walkers it offers plenty of reward: with tiny harbours, rugged beaches, clifftop viewpoints and, of course, the two great castles.