Scott's View, The Borders

Take the B6404 road from St Boswells to Kelso, following the signs for Dryburgh Abbey, and then turn onto the B6356 to reach what was said to be Sir Walter Scott's favourite view. A panorama of the River Tweed and the Eildon Hills, the latter a volcanic remnant that was once both home to ancient Romans and Iron Age people, it's a vision that offers an impressive welcome to Scotland. However, Pete Irvine, of Scotland the Best fame, maintains that there is a better view across the road and up the hill, one that takes in the "full panorama from the Cheviots to the Lammermuirs." You could always take in both, of course.

Queen's View, Perthshire

Head along the B8019 westwards from Pitlochry to get to the Queen's View, which offers an impressive vista of Loch Tummel and beyond to Schiehallion. Queen Victoria was a fan, although, despite what she believed, informed sources suggest the viewpoint is, in fact, named not after her, but for Isabella, the first wife of Robert the Bruce. In any case, you don't have to be a royal to enjoy the panorama, and, as it is located on the eastern edge of the Tay Forest park, there are plenty of woodland walks to enjoy once you've had enough of the visual splendour.

Dunnet Head, Caithness

John O'Groats might get all the attention, but Dunnet Head, at the end of the B855, is the most northernmost point of mainland Scotland. As an added bonus, it has its own lighthouse and plenty of opportunities for birdwatchers as its part of a RSPB reserve. Weather permitting, you can look out to Stroma, Hoy and the Orkney mainland on a good day. And the sea cliffs aren't bad either. The nearby Castle of Mey is closed until the end of July as it stands. Worth checking when it opens before you make the journey perhaps.

READ MORE: Secrets of a crumbling castle and the heroines who defended it

Glen Docherty, Wester Ross

From Inverness, head towards Kinlochewe on the A832. About a mile and a half before you reach the latter, on the right-hand side, you can look out over the road ahead as it winds towards the freshwater Loch Maree glittering in the distance. Named after the Irish saint Mael Ruba, who travelled to Scotland in the seventh century, the loch is framed by the Torridon Hills and Slioch, and contains more than 40 islands.

Cairnpapple Hill, Bathgate Hills

Yes, yes, yes, these are our mountains, and these are our glens, etc, etc. All very nice. But the marks we humans make on the landscape are worth our attention too. And so, as well as the Forth Valley, the Ochils and the Pentlands, the view east from Cairnpapple Hill takes in the Forth Bridges and the Grangemouth refinery. Not all pretty, then. But the hill was the site of a Neolithic henge, which means that from here you can effectively view the story of Scotland from ancient times to its post-industrial present. And afterwards you can pop back down into Linlithgow and enjoy its great cafes and its fantastic book shop, Far From the Madding Crowd. NB, Cairnpapple Hill is run by Historic Scotland so check it has been reopened before travelling.


Mugdock Reservoir, Milngavie

Just over seven miles from Glasgow city centre, there are two reservoirs to walk round, each providing grand views of the urban and suburban sprawls below. Take a picnic or stock up at shops in Milngavie village. From there it is a ten-15 minute walk to reservoir. Very popular with dog walkers, so watch out for four legged sandwich bandits. Alternatively, go a little further to Mugdock Country Park, where there is a playground, adventure trail, several cafes and lots of tables and benches to sit at. Again, mind the dogs.

Portnahaven, Islay

Islay is awash with places to have a picnic, but this harbour village is a favourite because it affords shelter if the weather is iffy, and at certain times it is Sauchiehall Street for grey seals in the waters below. Another outstanding picnic spot on Islay is The Big Strand. Seven miles long, you can build up an appetite with a stroll before nestling in a dune and unwrapping the sandwiches. Busy in summer, but even then the stretch is so long it won't take much effort to find room for your own. Access road at Kintra Farm.

Westport Beach, Campbeltown

Described by VisitScotland as one of the most beautiful beaches on the west coast, Westport is a six-mile long haven beloved of surfers, dogs, walkers and anyone else who fancies a blast of pure Atlantic air. Its famous sand dunes make it a Site of Scientific Interest. Pick up picnic supplies en route at Tarbert, or carry on along the A83 and stop in at Campbeltown where there are several supermarkets and smaller food shops. After a walk on the beach relax and watch the surfers. The temperature may never be surfin USA levels but this lot are usually seriously impressive.

READ MORE: Summer Reads 2020: The 30 best beach and holiday books

Botanic Gardens, Glasgow

Recommending this spot is sure to have a few west enders screaming Munch-like into the middle distance. "Even more visitors! More litter!" I know, but you cannot beat a classic, and if you choose the right time a picnic at the Botanics remains one of the great Glasgow pleasures. Shop for lovely grub on nearby Byres Road and don't forget to take a walk round the gardens before or after your picnic. Oh, and take your rubbish away, otherwise we'll send some uber-cocky Botanics squirrels round.

West Sands, St Andrews

Hear that? Those faint echoes of the Chariots of Fire theme? It can only be West Sands, where Hugh Hudson's Oscar-winning tale of sporting triumph was filmed. St Andrews has so much to offer, from the drive there to the shops and restaurants in the town. Lots of nice places to picnic (steer clear of the world famous golf course unless you want a telling off), but the two mile long beach is stunning.


The Golden Road, Harris

From Tarbert head south on the A859 towards Leverburgh and take a small side road signposted The Golden Road which winds through the east coast. The bends are almost 3D and every few seconds the view changes. As you wind your way, at no great speed, you will pass small cottage industries – artists, crafts and traditional Harris Tweed weavers – along with seals and otters relaxing on the seaweed clad rocks. The mixture of sea, loch, Lewisian gneiss, heather and wet green and little rounded hills makes for a striking landscape as the road winds through lochans with water lilies and bog bean in amongst the lunar rocky landscape. It's like nowhere else in Scotland. It's around 45 miles but give yourself half a day, with lots of stops.

A198 Golf Coast road (Musselburgh-North Berwick)

This 17-mile trip in East Lothian is branded Scotland's Golf Coast. Starting at the Musselburgh Links, it takes in fine links courses such as Longniddry, Gullane (which has no fewer than four courses), Muirfield, Archerfield and North Berwick. Don't worry if you don't want to pack the plus-fours and the Pings – this short stretch has something for all the family. Starting at Musselburgh, you take the left fork down the coast and proceed through Prestonpans. You will quickly pass through Cockenzie and Port Seton. Each boasts a picturesque harbour, and the three villages are something of an artists' colony, Port Seton being the birthplace of John Bellany. There's a fine picnic stop at Longniddry Bents, where you can exercise youngsters and empty the dog, before the traffic crawls through Aberlady and Gullane. Take a short detour to see the ruined medieval fortress of Dirleton Castle before ending up at North Berwick. Ice cream from Luca's in Musselburgh is recommended btw.

Tornapress to Applecross, Wester Ross

It's only 11 miles and may not seem very far on the map, yet this drive packs a punch, traversing Bealach na Ba – a winding, single-track road through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula – complete with hairpin bends, jaw-dropping views and plentiful nature sightings. The sign at the bottom says no campervans – please pay heed. Starting from near sea-level at Tornapress next to Loch Kishorn, the road rises to 2054ft (626m) in 5.6 miles (9.1km) of climbing, reaching 20 per cent at its steepest gradient. There is a viewpoint at the top with panoramas across to Skye and beyond on a clear day. You may not want to hang about too long as the reward of a hearty feed awaits at the Applecross Inn (which plans to reopen on July 15) once you descend the other side.

READ MORE: Staycations: The pleasures (and pitfalls) of a 1970s holiday

North East 250

Approx 250 miles, the North East 250 visits the Cairngorms, Strathspey, Moray, Aberdeenshire and Strathdee. Famous for its drier and sunnier climate, the north-east has a fantastic diversity of landscapes, from majestic mountains and wild moorlands to glorious glens, rocky coastlines and pristine beaches, castles, distilleries, golf courses and nature reserves. A suggested starting point is Spittal of Glenshee in the Cairngorms. Travelling clockwise, day one will take you to Aberlour in the heart of whisky country. Day two heads north to meet the coast at Spey Bay before turning east to reach the seaside town of Banff. From there, day three will take you to towards Aberdeen for a suggested overnight at Maryculter. On day four, the NE250 heads west again through Deeside.

Orkney mainland

Give yourself all day and head west out of Kirkwall along the A965 to the junction for the A966. From here head north and follow the road in an anti-clockwise direction around the mainland and stop at the iron age Broch of Gurness near Evie. The Neolithic monuments at Orkney's heart – Skara Brae, Maeshowe, Ring of Brodgar and Standing Stones of Stenness – are in easy reach, although temporarily closed. On the west of the mainland is Yesnaby with its towering sandstone cliffs and majestic sea stack which is a wonderful spot to watch the sunset. Heading south, the turn off is on the right, around a third of a mile before the junction where the B9056 meets the A967. No visit to Orkney would be complete without driving over the Churchill Barriers, a series of four causeways linking the mainland to the islands of Lamb Holm, Glims Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay. Lamb Holm is home to the Italian Chapel, built from two old Nissen huts by prisoners-of-war in 1943. Continue south across Glims Holm and Burray towards the farthest tip of South Ronaldsay and the Tomb of the Eagles, a Neolithic chambered tomb located on a cliff edge.


Ben A'an, Trossachs

A varied yet relatively undemanding walk, of between two and four hours, but Ben A'an is a highly popular fixture with, at the summit, gorgeous views of Loch Katrine, Ben Venue, Ben Lomond and Loch Achray. It's easily accessible if you're travelling by car from Edinburgh or Glasgow; look for the A873 for Aberfoyle and take Duke's Pass, which leads to the Ben A'an car park.

Loch Lomond

Billy Connolly fell in love with Loch Lomond when he was young, and his admiration for the place has never quite left him. "I'd like to die there", he said on TV two years ago ... I wouldn't like to stay away forever. I'd like to be planted there eventually, in Loch Lomond". There is so much to see and do here: enjoy the striking scenery and the picturesque villages, climb Ben Lomond, stroll around the lochside, sail down the loch, and keep an eye out for the wildlife.

Glencoe and Loch Leven

A magnificently stirring part of the Scottish landscape, soaked in myth and history. There are so many low-level walks to be enjoyed – the Lost Valley, the Devil's Staircase, or around Buachaille Etive Beag, for example – but if you're experienced enough to take on a challenging climb, consider the Pap of Glencoe, or Buachaille Etive Mor, or Sgurr Eilde Mor and Binnein Beag.

READ MORE: Island odyssey: Tamsin Calidas lays bare life on a Hebridean croft – from ruin to redemption

Ben Nevis

The highest mountain in the British Isles is an imposing climb, but worth the effort. Climbing by the Mountain Path is, says the walkhighlands website, the standard route – straightforward, if strenuous. Going via the "truly spectacular" Carn Mor Dearg Arete is only for fit and experienced mountain-walkers who don't mind easy scrambling but are not climbers, it adds.

Loch Awe

A fitting name for this beautiful, 25-mile-long stretch of water in Argyll and Bute. Good trout fishing is on offer, but the many nearby attractions also include Barcaldine Castle (built between 1570 and 1601 by "Black Duncan" Campbell of Glenorchy); Bonawe Iron Furnace at Taynuilt; and Castle Stalker, on Loch Linnhe, which was the ancient home of the Stewarts of Appin.


Ord beach, Sleat, Skye

On the west of the Sleat peninsula with views across Loch Eishort to the Cuillin beyond, the sandy and pebble-strewn beach at Ord is a hub for wildlife with otters, seals and eagles – white-tailed and golden – spotted here. There's rarely more than a handful of people around and when the tide goes out there are rockpools for guddling in as the sea air blows away the cobwebs. It's a wonderful nook to watch the sunset or enjoy stargazing on clear nights.

Traigh Mhor, Barra

The topography unfurls revealing rugged cliffs, sand dunes, marram grass, wildflower-sprinkled machair and a patchwork of crofts, until finally you see it: a bright turquoise lagoon and the white sands of the runway. Traigh Mhor on Barra is part of a working airport rather than a place for sunbathing or building sandcastles, home to the only scheduled beach landing in the world. Once the island safely reopens to tourism and visitors, it is a must-tick on any bucket list.

Chanonry Point, Black Isle

This shingled beach on a narrow spit of land jutting out into the Moray Firth will delight nature lovers. Scotland's east coast is home to almost 200 bottlenose dolphins and here at Chanonry Point, between Fortrose and Rosemarkie on the Black Isle, is one of their favoured haunts. Even on a dreich and gloomy day, the heart soars watching the pod produce a thrilling show of acrobatics as they play and fish in the strong currents.

READ MORE: I'll brave the midges this summer – our tourism sector needs us

Loch Morlich, Cairngorms

Scotland's best freshwater beach lies on the shores of Loch Morlich, surrounded by forest and against a backdrop of the Cairngorms. The sandy bay is popular for sailing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing. Or you can just sit back and soak in the breathtakingly beautiful scenery. Loch Morlich is the highest beach in Britain at 984ft (300m) and has an interesting history, the area used as a commando training school during the Second World War.

Belhaven Bay, near Dunbar, East Lothian

Part of the John Muir Country Park, the beach at Belhaven Bay is a majestic stretch of sand. Fringed by sheltered dunes, salt marsh and grasslands, it looks out over the Forth Estuary with stunning views of the Bass Rock. Belhaven Bay is an easy-on-the eye spot for picnics. When the wind is up, it is perfect for activities such as beginner-friendly surfing or kite flying. Those keen to stretch their legs can take an amble along the nearby cliff top trail towards Dunbar harbour.


Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail

You've seen the view from the train, perhaps, and you've almost certainly seen the drone shot they use in Harry Potter, so why not go for the triple whammy and undertake this scenic walk to, around and above the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct? A sedate two and a half mile stretch over relatively gentle terrain, it starts at the National Trust Scotland car park off the A830, and as well as offering views of the viaduct itself walkers can stop off at an excellent viewpoint for Glen Shiel then, after dropping down to Glenfinnan Station, visit the Glenfinnan Monument, erected in 1815 as a tribute to the clansmen who fought and died for the Stuart cause during the 1745 Jacobite rebellion.

Fife Coastal Path

The path runs for well over 100 miles, from Kincardine to Newburgh, but if you only have a day or even an afternoon check out the section which starts at picturesque St Monan's Church and then runs up towards Pittenweem and on to Anstruther where, according to culinary legend, Scotland's best fish and chips are to be had. The Cambo Sands to Leuchars section has the advantage of taking in the beautiful town of St Andrews – you'd be mad not to stop off for an energy-boosting fudge doughnut at Fisher & Donaldson on Church Street, now reopened – though along with the Elie Chain Walk this section also has some of the roughest going, so make sure you're suitably attired in terms of foot- and outerwear.

Tyndrum to Inveroraran

At 96 miles, walking the full length of the famous West Highland Way is only for the hardy and the well-prepared. But if you want to bite of an achievable chunk then this nine-mile stretch is one of the easiest. There are plenty of inclines and descents but the path is good throughout, the elevation doesn't get much over 300 metres and there's a stopping off point at Bridge Of Orchy. The views and landmarks are pretty decent: Beinn Odhar, the majestic pyramid that is Beinn Dorain, the Kinglass Viaduct, Loch Tulla and the Black Mount.

READ MORE: The remarkable secrets of Edinburgh landmark Arthur's Seat

Loch Trool Trail

A circular walk of a little over five miles in the Galloway Forest Park which starts and ends at the Glen Trool Visitor Centre. Taking in parts of the Southern Upland Way, it follows the forested shoreline of the loch. There are great views throughout and amateur historians will want to take a peek at the large granite memorial to the Battle of Trool. It took place in March 1307 and pitted Robert the Bruce and his 300-strong force against the 1500 men of Sir Aymer de Valance. Bruce won the day, driving the English cavalry into the loch.

Arthur's Seat

Better known as the Athens of the North, Edinburgh also has its Roman aspect: like the ancient Italian city it is built on a series of seven hills. Some are easier to climb than others but probably the most taxing – and ultimately worthwhile – is Arthur's Seat. Situated in Holyrood Park it is formed from an extinct volcano, falls away on one side in the spectacular Salisbury Crags and offers terrific views of the Scottish Parliament and the Old Town beyond. It's a three mile walk in total but the last bit is steep and exposed, and can be a bit of a scramble. If it's blowing a hooley, hang on to your hat.

Complied by Teddy Jamieson, Alison Rowat, Garry Scott, Susan Swarbrick, Russell Leadbetter and Barry Didcock