The daring duo behind WalkHighlands have personally mapped most of Scotland on foot, creating a treasure trove of wonderful walking routes, free to access on their website 

To say you’ve walked “more miles across Scotland than nearly anyone else” is certainly a bold claim. But in the case of Paul and Helen Webster, founders of the hugely popular Walkhighlands website, it is very likely true. In their bid to provide a comprehensive library of walking routes across every inch of the country, the couple have personally embarked on more than 2,100 different walks – ranging from 14-hour epic Munro bags to 30-minute gentle strolls.

Originally hailing from Devon, Helen met Paul, originally from Grimsby, while on a walking holiday (naturally) on Mull. The couple shared a love for the outdoors, so then moved to Skye, enticed by Scotland’s famous ‘right to roam’ legislation.

“We started the website as SkyeWalk,” Paul explains, “as we were aware that too many visitors were going to the same five or six places, which were becoming really busy. We knew there were loads of other places on the island just as beautiful – maybe more so – but they weren’t drawing any attention because people didn’t have the information to find them.”

“I think some people expect signposts or very obvious places to walk,” adds Helen, “but because you have the luxury in Scotland to walk almost anywhere, it can actually be off-putting to visitors. It was quite magical to be able to show people these routes they never knew existed and tell them about all the wildlife they could see. We were lucky we started the website in 2006, about the time people wanted to move from physical guidebooks to looking online.”


The couple then moved to the Cairngorms, renamed the site Walkhighlands, and began compiling their mammoth database of walks. “It’s been eye-opening,” says Helen. “Our background was originally hillwalking, and we were quite focused in terms of wanting to do all the Munros. But now we want to find walks for everyone, for families.”
“It probably sounds a bit crazy for two people to try to do a database for a whole country,” Paul laughs, “but it’s been brilliant. We’ve gone out and discovered every part of Scotland.”

From the outer corners of Orkney to the city centre of Glasgow, Paul and Helen have not only walked more than 2,000 routes listed on the site, but have also written the route descriptions and, in Paul’s case, taken the step-by-step photographs. Incidentally, Paul won the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the year in 2018.

While other walking websites are based on user-generated content, the couple wanted to make sure they had done every walk themselves – offering a standardised approach to the description, estimated time taken and the difficulty involved.


“We are very conscious that because we have a large following now, if we promote somewhere, we might end up increasing the number of people that go there quite dramatically,” says Helen. “So we always personally check out the access options, car parking etc. and we take that responsibility seriously.”

They certainly do have a large following. Walkhighlands receives more than half a million visitors every month, with an uptick in interest post-lockdown as more people explored Scotland on foot. This would make the site a lucrative asset to investors, but Paul and Helen are determined to keep running it themselves and ensure it remains accessible for all. “We want to provide everything for free. That’s our ethos,” stresses Paul. “If we brought in a subscription model we might still be really popular but it would be with people who are already keen walkers. We wanted to offer a gateway into walking that’s available to anyone – and that feels even more important now with the cost-of-living crisis.”

Paul and Helen make an income from the site through advertising and voluntary donations from users. They recently introduced an app, which is also free to download, and have decided that when they retire from running Walkhighlands they will gift the site to a walking association rather than sell it for a profit.
In the meantime, the pair are continually revisiting their routes to check for any changes or updates to the paths – adding even more weight to that claim of being Scotland’s best travelled walkers.



Favourite walks

Paul’s favourite
“Mine would be around Loch Affric in the Highlands. A lot of people say it’s the most beautiful glen in Scotland, and I would have to agree. It has big old ancient pines, a beautiful loch, remote location, and a backdrop of the highest peaks in the northwest Highlands. It feels like the very best of Scotland.”

Helen’s favourite
“If I had to pick one, it would be a place on the north end of Skye called Rubha Hunish. You go down a rocky staircase and it takes you to this total secret little hidden world where it’s just you and the crashing waves. In the summer you are pretty much guaranteed to see minke whales, otters, puffins – it’s just a magical place.”