THE problem with today’s society is there is too much destination, not enough dithering. Everybody’s in such a rush to get somewhere, they invariably forget the joy of being lost in the anywhere.
The aimless ambler – the wanderer with no worries – has become an almost extinct species.
Yet before the age of car, bus, train and plane there existed a creature known as the saunterer; someone who would stroll through a city for the joy of the journey alone.
In French, and later English literature, this type was labelled a flaneur, which is not somebody who especially enjoys flans. (That’s a flan fan.) No, a flaneur is a voyeur of the city or town. 
One who revels in its many ways and byways. A person who studies fellow pedestrians whilst strolling; who glances at buildings and notes their cultural clout.
The flaneur is not completely vanquished and vanished. There are still city walks to lose oneself in. Here are our favourite pathways of perfection…

Bloody Aberdeen Trail
Aberdeen isn’t merely the Granite City. At times it has been the Gruesome City; a place where vengeful and violent acts took place.
To recall the darker side of the town, allow your fearless feet to unfalteringly follow the Bloody Aberdeen Trail, promoted by Visit Scotland and Aberdeen City Council.
This walk doesn’t only include sites where infamous murders took place.
You will stumble upon locations where innocent women, labelled witches, were burned to death. Sites of war, bodysnatching and beheadings. 
Start your stroll at Aberdeen Harbour, where a Viking raid took place in the mid-12th century. 
At Shore Brae you pass a place of execution, where convicted criminals faced a watery end, being put to death by drowning. 
On Broad Street there’s more punishment… of the whip-crack kind. Here you’ll find the whipping stone, where criminals were publicly whipped by the town’s hangman, who was responsible for, “executions, banishment, scurging and tormenting.” (Now that’s some portfolio of skills to put on a CV.)
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Go west
Glasgow’s west end could be described as the home of the flaneur. You’ll certainly spot many bohemian idlers in this neck of the woods. So why not become one yourself?
All you’ll need is a foppishly floppy hat, cloak and insouciant attitude to life. Start your ambling at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, swagger through Partick, up past Hillhead Underground towards Oran Mor. Pop into Oran Mor for liquid refreshment, at which point your swagger becomes a stagger.
Recover your equilibrium in the nearby Botanic Gardens, slumped on the grass, gazing vacantly at the pretty flowers.

The Footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson
Like the central characters in his novel, Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson was a travelling man, ending his days in far away Samoa. Though his thoughts regularly returned to his childhood Edinburgh home, inspiration for much of his writing. This walk in the capital city will give you a greater understanding of RLS’s fertile imagination. Start at 17 Heriot Row, Stevenson’s early home, where as a sickly youth he was told outlandish tales by his nurse. 
Onwards to The Mound, which straddles the dramatically different Old and New Towns. This vision of Edinburgh’s split personality may have inspired Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
More dark endeavours can be discovered at the Lawn Market and Brodie’s Close, connected to local criminal Deacon Brodie, another possible inspiration for the hideous Hyde.
For more details, check out the Edinburgh World Heritage website.

Canal Dreams 
The Charlotte Dundas Heritage Trail is a stroll along the canal side close to Falkirk and Grangemouth, starting at the Kelpies Basin. There are seats along the way if you get a little tired, and great views. Panels next to the pathway allow you to learn the history of the Charlotte Dundas, the world’s first practical steamboat. There are also notifications about the flora and fauna, helping you appreciate the countryside surrounding the industrial waterways.

Delightfully doom-laden
Ever had a yearning to wear black mascara, black clothes and have a little black cloud of your very own, always hovering three inches above your head? Then you are probably suffering from Gothic-itus, a malady that renders you most morose. 
We don’t recommend that you fight this angsty ague. Instead, stoke those fires by packing a bag with copies of Wuthering Heights and the collected works of Edgar Allan Poe, plus a monochrome photograph of Robert Smith, singer with The Cure.
Head sullenly towards the Glasgow Necropolis, the picturesque Victorian cemetery east of Glasgow Cathedral, and one of the most spectacularly spooky graveyards in the country. 
Now mope your way round the monuments to the dead. Enjoy the spectacular view of the city. Emit a world weary sigh.  Hey, maybe you’ll get lucky and it will rain soon – aren’t the doldrums delicious?

Footy footsteps
Do your best to bring an end to Glasgow sectarianism by proving you have no problem with either Celtic or Rangers, and take a stroll from one stadium to the other.
Start in the east end of the city, next to Celtic Park, then make your way, via the Barras, towards Argyle Street. 
Cross the Clyde and head towards the Science Centre. (A temple of rationality, so very different from your average football stadium.) Now head south to Ibrox, home of those non-stripey jersey chaps.
P.S. We were going to call this walk the Mo Johnston, as it provides a link between Celtic and Rangers. Then we thought better of it.  The stroll is about healing old wounds, after all, not stirring up ancient grumps.

Sauntering with sound
Let your ears do the walking by joining the Music Mile Tour, a tuneful guided traipse round Glasgow, which provides both exercise and an education into the musical history of the city. The tour guides are knowledgeable and passionate about their subject, and you’ll visit famous local venues and hear tales about the early days of such bands as Oasis, Blur and the Manic Street Preachers. 
Private tours run through the Autumn and Winter, with scheduled tours starting up in April of next year.
For more information visit

Brought to book
Inverness Old Town is a memorable place for an urban ramble. Visit the Victorian Market, just off the High Street, which dates back to 1890. The entranceway still has the original clock. 
On your journey round town make sure to clamber up the tallest tower in Inverness Castle for a pigeon’s-eye view. Pigeons may have a spectacular view of the world, but they seldom read the great works of literature. 
So you won’t find many of them studying the volumes in Leakey’s Bookshop, the largest second-hand bookstore in Inverness… and Scotland. Pop in for a bookish browse during your walk. 
But don’t stay long. Remember, you’re meant to be perambulating, not perusing.

Park Life
Countryside strolling is not what this article is celebrating. Though we don’t mind adding a few splashes of verdant majesty to blend in with the urban splendour. So this walk starts off in Linn Park in Glasgow’s south side. That’s the verdant majesty section of the walk, ie grass, grass, trees and grass. 
Make your way through the park to Snuff Mill Bridge, which dates back to 1624 and is next to Lindsay House, one of the city’s oldest tenements. 
From here you can return to Glasgow proper and stroll down Holmlea Road towards Battlefield Rest, where your battered feet can rest.

City centre hike
A walk in the countryside often involves a lot of clambering over hills. But why bother escaping to the great outdoors when it’s just as easy (or hard) to puff and pant your way up the steep inclines of Glasgow city centre. 
Go from Argyle Street up Buchanan Street, then across Sauchiehall Street. Now higher – higher! – towards the cloud-coated loftiness that is Garnethill. 
Here you’ll spot the city’s oldest synagogue and nearby St Aloysius’ Church. 
Then back into the bowels of Sauchiehall and Buchanan Street, to complete the circuit where you began.
Though beware! Don’t sneak into any of the enticing stores while you’re scaling Buchanan Street. Reaching the peak of Garnethill is mighty challenging. 
But with several shopping bags dangling from your arms, it’s near impossible.

Heck of a lot of Heather
PERTH has the energy and oomph of a city, yet also manages to trade in tranquillity, with cobblestone streets and classic architecture. 
Any walk round town should take in Fergusson Gallery, a striking building which was previously a cast-iron water tower before being drained of H20 and stuffed with art. 
Make your way to the River Tay to enjoy the River Tay Public Art Trail, a footpath connecting twenty sculptures, all inspired by Perth’s unique history.
If you have some energy left, tackle the Norie Miller Riverside Walk in Norie Miller Park, where you’ll spot 950 species of Scottish heather. Was the famous 80s Hollywood flick, Heathers, inspired by this impressive selection, you may wonder. Probably not, as the movie happens to be about murder most foul. 
And in Norie Miller Park, that’s a no-no.

Whale of a time
THE Dundee Heritage Walk focuses on landmarks in Dundee’s pre-jute history, from the fifteenth century to the 1670s, taking you round the city centre and shore. You’ll visit the Nethergate, where the city’s aristocrats once lived, and the Cowgate, a place where whalers worked in whale boiling yards. (Which sounds rather painful, if you happen to be a whale.)
You’ll also pass through The Meadows, once a place of fairgrounds and market gardens. Who said the Middle Ages wasn’t fun?
For more details on the walk visit,

Mum’s the word
Glasgow Necropolis is one of the most impressive graveyards in the country. Well, the southside’s Cathcart Cemetery gives it a run for its money. 
Similar to the Necropolis, you will be confronted by ornate tombstones that are awesome in scale. Though one of the most memorable graves is a humble little monument commemorating Margaret Laurel, the mother of comedy legend Stan.
You’ll also find the grave of Mark Sheridan, author of the catchy ditty, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside. Ironically, Cathcart Cemetery is nowhere near the seaside, though there is a Sainsbury’s close by, where Ocean Pies are for sale.
Cathcart Cemetery is picturesque in all weathers, and surprisingly not a lonely place to stroll, as you’ll usually have a few local dog walkers to keep you company.

Dean Village Delights
THE trouble with Edinburgh is that it’s so darned gorgeous. There’s no escape from all that beauty. Is it any wonder that many tourists flee after a while, just to get a rest from the spectacle? 
The trick is to find those parts of town that are as pretty as the rest, though slightly less well known, and therefor refreshing.
Dean Village, only five minutes from Princes Street, is such a place, and great for a stroll. Saturated in history, it was a successful grain milling location for more than 800 years.
The Water of Leith flows through the village. You will also stumble upon a variety of mill stones and stone plaques decorated with baked bread and pies.
Nearby Dean Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art are good for a browse.

The Uniquely Uni-ish Walk
YOU don’t have to be an intellectual to attempt this ramble, though it does take in several academic institutions. Start in the West End, at Glasgow Uni. Have a look round the quadrangles and attempt to blend in with the native student population by looking like you have no intention of studying. 
Make your way through Kelvingrove Park towards Sauchiehall Street, then up Garnethill to witness the scaffolding, dust and incessant drilling noise that was once Glasgow School of Art.
Escape the drills by pacing towards the GFT cinema on Rose Street, a temple of learning for those who wish to discover French flicks and indy fare. Stroll onwards to Glasgow Caledonian University, where the students will impress you with a perfect impersonation of their west end contemporaries. That’s right. They have no intention of studying, either.
Our final academic institution is Strathclyde Uni, where you will witness scholars eagerly making their way towards the lecture hall. Just kidding. 
They’re scampering towards their student flats. The next episode of Pointless is about to begin.

Sharp detour
THE Scottish Samurai Trail in Aberdeen doesn’t sound so much like a relaxing stroll as a panicked sprint, as you attempt to flee some crazed fellow brandishing a sharp, pointy implement. Though it’s actually a walk allowing you to learn about the Scottish merchant, Thomas Blake Glover, who was integral in the industrialisation of Japan. The walk includes the Aberdeen Maritime Museum, which has a display on Thomas Glover, and also the Gym School in Old Aberdeen, where he was educated.
For more information, or 

Medieval Glasgow
THE tendency is to think of Glasgow’s roots being in the Industrial Revolution. Of course, it’s more ancient than that. To learn more about the city’s Medieval lineage, from 1150 to 1550, take this fascinating stroll which circuits the area round the Trongate and Glasgow Cathedral.
Nowadays it’s abustle with fast food joints, pubs and chippies. But with an informative map available from Glasgow City Council’s website, linking past glories to the present, you can imagine yourself back in that long ago era, referred to by historians as the ‘Pre-Chippy Age’.
Map from, Walking/Heritage Trails 

Striding through Stirling
WITH its ancient buildings and cobbled streets, Stirling is an attractive amble. Take the Back Walk, the 18th century winding walkway, that will lead you round the old city walls up to Stirling Castle, always worth a visit. Nearby is Argyll’s Lodging, a museum with period furnishings. 
And don’t turn down a visit to the Church of the Holy Rude. (No sniggering at the back, now.) Stirling’s second oldest building, its stained glass windows and arches will awaken your spiritual side… so that’s a Rude awakening.

Peekaboo, Peploe
LIKE Glasgow, Edinburgh has an illustrious west end waiting to be discovered. The ‘Understanding the West End’ heritage trail takes you past the haunts of significant figures such as Dr Joseph Bell, the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and Samuel Peploe, the artist and leading light of the Scottish colourists. 
Stops along the way include the Melville Monument and Charlotte Square, a masterpiece of urban planning.
For more details, check out the Edinburgh World Heritage website.

NO list of memorable city walks would be complete without a casual canter along the Clyde. Start at the Saltmarket, just before Albert Bridge. 
Turn left onto Glasgow Green and follow the riverside path. Cross the suspension bridge to the south of the river, then track back towards the city centre, walking past the Sheriff Court. (Or sprinting past, if the law’s after you.) 
Cross the river again. (To avoid getting your clothes wet, use the nearby bridge.) Finish with coffee (or tea) in St Enoch Centre.