Accessible Walks in Scotland
Being outdoors is a great way to keep healthy, get some exercise and improve our mental well-being and emotional health. Being surrounded by clean air, wildlife and the stunning natural beauty of the environment can be a great way to recharge your batteries! Whether that’s a get-together with family and friends or a quiet time to just enjoy the tranquility on your own.
There are many accessible walks and trails in Scotland.
Accessible guide to National Trust for Scotland properties (PDF)
Although many are historic buildings there are a lot of walks in countryside areas and also grounds of other properties. You can contact the National Trust for Scotland before setting out on a trail to make sure it’s suitable.
Schiehallion (one of Scotland’s most popular mountains) has been named as the first Munro that is considered wheelchair friendly. Schiehallion, which stands at 3,547 feet, was approved as being wheelchair accessible by the FieldFare Trust, who suggested that the path to the summit of East Schiehallion from the Braes of Foss car park would be suitable for those in wheelchairs for the first third of the journey, with the second two thirds of the journey being up to the individual to assess whether they can manage to make the ascent successfully.
Glenmore accessible walk – near Aviemore, Highland
Creag Meagaidh – All Abilities walk – Aberarder, Highland
Glenlivet Estate accessible trail – Highland
Pentland Hills accessible walk – Edinburgh
Accessible Attractions in the Scottish Borders – Scottish Borders
In Britain we have 15 National Parks and in Scotland we are really fortunate to have the impressive Cairngorms National Park which is the largest National Park in the UK, and the stunning Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. The National Parks website has a great page Access for All where you can find out more information on trails designed to accommodate all abilities, mobility vehicle hire, accessible toilets and parking for disabled people.
Cairngorms National Park
There are lots of places in the Park with easy access, and a small number of organisations which provide accessible outdoor activities and facilities such as Adventure Unlimited who specialise in activities for people with disabilities. There is also a dedicated webpage Cairngorms – Access for All which lists lots of useful information on accessible paths in the park, where to stay and community transport. We’ve listed some information on accessible walks below, but there are plenty more on their website to check out. Atholl Estate at Blair Atholl is home to the grand white-walled Blair Castle with plenty wheelchair friendly paths passing through the beautiful castle grounds. Craigellachie National Nature Reserve by Aviemore offers a wealth of wildlife watching opportunities from the easy access Lochan trail. Glenlivet Estate, Tomintoul provides some easy access trails and visitor centres to help you discover the rich history and landscape of this special place. Glen Tanar National Nature Reserve near Aboyne has lots to offer from visitor facilities to easy access trails through native woodlands, and a ranger service to support your visit. You might also find it useful to check out Euan’s Guide, a disabled access review website. There are some reviews of accessible adventures in the Cairngorms National Park.
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
There are many paths in the National Park that provide particularly good opportunities for disabled people or those looking for easy gradients and smooth surfaces in a variety of scenic locations. Check out the All Abilities section of their website for more information. We’ve listed a few local places and things to do below. Aberfoyle – village is suited to visitors with limited mobility as the area is generally of a level nature. The village has cafes and restaurants with disabled facilities. Balloch Village (including Balloch Castle Country Park Scooter Routes). View the Balloch Castle Country Park scooter routes. Callander – town is suited to visitors with limited mobility and has many cafes/restaurants and hotels which have disabled facilities. Coulam wheelie boat can be accessed by pier/ramp. Wheelchair is lowered by hydraulic lift and equipped with an easy starting pull start engine. The Fisheries also has a landing craft type front loader and electric start engine. If you need any further information on accessibility of any of the national parks you can also get in touch with the National Parks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walking groups and support organisations
If you are unable to get to one of the national parks or just want to get out and about closer to home, there are some great local walks and activities in and around nearby cities and towns in the UK. We’ve listed some organisations that can provide information, advice or support.
Paths for All is a Scottish charity that champion everyday walking as the way to a happier, healthier Scotland. You can search their online directory for a walking group in your local area. Their Health Walks are short, safe, social, local, low level, with a trained leader to show you the way. You can also find out about wheelchair friendly walks and Dementia friendly walks which are available in some areas.
The Disabled Ramblers exists to help disabled people to get out into the countryside. They ramble in all weathers and over a variety of terrain. Rambles are graded according to difficulty. A few are suitable for shopping buggies and power chairs whilst most need large scooters capable of travelling over rough ground. Their website includes links to local disability rambler associations, and many local rambling groups have a number of scooters for use if you don’t have your own.
The Ramblers also have a helpful guide for people with limited mobility and wheelchair users.
Information last updated on 5 June 2020. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.
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Access & Accessibility, Holidays & Leisure:Frequently Asked Questions
Through our helpline we receive enquiries spanning a wide range of different topics. Here is a selection of those most asked:
Can I use my Blue Badge in Europe?
The Blue Badge scheme is for drivers or passengers with severe mobility problems. The scheme provides a range of on-street parking concessions enabling Blue Badge holders to park closer to where they need to go. The scheme operates throughout the UK and is managed by local authorities who deal with applications and issue badge. The Blue Badge is recognised across Europe, so you benefit from the same parking rights as anyone else with a disability in whichever country you’re in.
Parking concessions for holders of a disabled parking card differ from country to country, so it’s important to check the rules in the country you’re visiting
For further information check out the worldwide guide to parking abroad by The International Automobile Federation.
How can I search for accessible places to visit in Scotland?
Whether you are planning a meal out, a weekend trip or day out to one of Scotland’s parks, there are websites and ‘apps’ that you can use in your search for an accessible venue or activity.
Euan’s Guide is a disabled access review website and app that aims to ‘remove the fear of the unknown’ and inspire people to try new places.
Age Scotland have developed a mini-guide on accessible days out in Britain. Check out the Great British accessible attractions mini-guide.
OpenBritain is your website that provides information on accessible tourism in the UK and includes day trips and tourist attractions.
Disabled Go provide access information on venues across the UK and Ireland.
For more information on accessible places to visit in Scotland search our Scottish Disability Directory and select the ‘Holidays/Respite’ category.
How can I get a RADAR key?
The National Key Scheme (NKS), often referred to as RADAR keys, offer disabled people independent access to locked public accessible toilets around the country. You can buy from Disability Rights UK either over the phone or through their website. Additionally, most local authorities have one-stop-shops or local charities that you can get them from. You will need to provide proof of your disability when buying one.
For a list of locations where you can buy a RADAR key local to you, see our list of RADAR key retailers.
Call the Disability Information Scotland helpline on: 0300 323 9961
I am going on holiday, how do I hire a mobility scooter or wheel chair when I am there?
If you are staying within the UK you can search for a Shop Mobility local to where you are going. Another option would be to search for local mobility equipment providers.
The Mobility Equipment Hire Direct is a one stop shop to hire a wide range of mobility equipment in a variety of destinations from anywhere in the world using your chosen currency and in your chosen language.
Helpline: 0300 323 9961
For further information on hiring equipment away from home check out our Accessible Holidays Information Guide
Access & Accessibility, Holidays & Leisure:Search for Local Organisations
Our quick search tool can connect you to over 3000 service providers, suppliers and organisations supporting people across Scotland. To find support near you, simply enter your search term and select your local authority.