Book data

Mary Queen of Scots Way
Paul Prescott  
15 April 2012
UK price £10.99
64pp, 145 x 220mm, 206g

Mary Queen of Scots Way


Paul Prescott

"A guide that inspires confidence in the reader” - Undiscovered Scotland

The Mary Queen of Scots Way stretches across central Scotland from coast to coast, linking many places associated with Mary Queen of Scots. It runs for 107 miles (172 km) from Arrochar on Loch Long in the west to St Andrews on the Fife coast, and links with four of Scotland’s Great Trails: the Loch Lomond & Cowal Way, the West Highland Way, the Rob Roy Way and the Fife Coastal Path. This route, however, has no official status: there is no dedicated MQS waymarking, although the guidebook gives detailed directions and parts of it are easy to follow. Some sections are unsuitable for novice walkers unless accompanied by somebody with map and compass skills.

The Way goes through richly varied scenery, starting from a rugged sea loch, crossing Loch Lomond and traversing its National Park to the hills of central Scotland, ending on a sandy beach on the Fife coast. It passes mountains, lochs and waterfalls; castles, hill forts and aqueducts; and is broken into manageable sections which end at welcoming villages and small towns with friendly pubs and B&Bs.

The Mary Queen of Scots Way goes beside and through the Arrochar Alps and hills of Loch Lomond, past the Menteith hills, along the length of the Ochils to the Lomonds of Fife. The Way goes above 1000 ft (300 m) several times, reaching its highest point at Cadger’s Yett, north of Glendevon, some 1425 ft (435m) above sea level.


This guidebook contains everything you need to plan and enjoy the Mary Queen of Scots Way:

  • detailed description of the route from west to east
  • summary of each section with terrain, grade and refreshments
  • map of the entire route in 6 drop-down panels (1:110,000)
  • section about the tragic life of Mary Queen of Scots
  • practical information about public transport and travel
  • lavishly illustrated, with over 80 colour photographs
  • rucksack-friendly and printed on rainproof paper.
Look inside

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Excerpt from Part 1 (planning)
2.1 Mary Queen of Scots
3.7 Glendevon to Glenfarg
  • Across open moorland west of Genfarg

    © Rob Smallman

  • Doune Castle, Mary Queen of Scots Way

    © Jacquetta Megarry

  • Clatto Reservoir, west of Ceres

    © Jacquetta Megarry

  • Dollar Glen on the Mary Queen of Scots Way

    © Jacquetta Megarry

  • Red kite, Argaty Red Kite Project, near Doune © Argaty Red Kites

  • Passing behind Yad waterfall, Mary Queen of Scots Way

    © Jacquetta Megarry

Across open moorland west of Genfarg

© Rob Smallman


From a review by Sean Makin

Paul Prescott, the author who also devised the route, takes walkers on a very scenic tour of a part of the country that many walkers will never have seen.

The route passes through many places with a connection to one of the best known members of historic Scottish royalty – Mary Queen of Scots. The author includes a well written overview of the life and death of Mary Queen of Scots which helps readers unaware of her tragic story to understand her connection to the walk.

The guide book is designed for the walker and is printed onto water resistant paper which is spiral bound in a fashion that allows walkers to keep it open easily at the stage they are walking. There are plenty of full colour photographs from the route throughout …

A few of the sections route are also overlaid onto a photograph to allow the walker to orientate themselves with the landscape which is something I have only seen in a handful of guide books and is nice way in aiding navigation and should be used more. There are also little interesting snippets scattered throughout the guide which are enjoyable to read and again connect walkers with the route’s namesake.

The Mary Queen of Scots Way is a excellent long distance walks across Scotland and the author has created a walking route that I am sure many will enjoy for years to come.

Read in full online at Walk Fife

From an online review at Walk Fife

From an online review by Richard Morgan

One thing I love about these books: if you get to a tricky spot, the author knows you might have a problem so on a picture taken from the path, they have superimposed the route so you can hold it up and visualise your route. Genius!

The full review appeared on Richard's blog

From a review by John McHale of Grough

The Mary Queen of Scots Way is a 172km (107-mile) route across Scotland produced by munro-bagger Paul Prescott.

The walk, from Arrochar in the West to St Andrews on the Fife coast, passes through places with a link to Scotland’s last queen, who met a grisly end in 1587.

Paul Prescott, who has summited more than 200 Munros, has been researching and compiling the route since 2006. The guide … has a detailed route description with photographs and overlays, a map of the route at 1:110,000 scale in six drop-down panels, and is printed on water-resistant paper.

Read the full text on Grough

From a review by Helen Webster

The route is intriguing and should appeal to walkers wanting a fairly low level, accessible, multi-day walk with the satisfaction of crossing the country as well as being able to stay in interesting places, many of which have castles or other historical sites to explore …

Printed on robust water-resistant paper and spiral bound, the guidebook has a good selection of photographs and enough background information on wildlife and history as well as good practical pointers on transport, accommodation, taking dogs etc, to whet your appetite for the route and enable you to plan a trip properly.

Read in full online at Walkhighlands

From Walkhighlands review

From an online review on Undiscovered Scotland

Although this is a new walk, the instructions show every sign of having been carefully checked by actual users. When combined with excellent photography, in some cases with an overlay of the route to be followed, the result is a guide that inspires confidence in the reader.

The book shares all the features we have come to know and appreciate from other Rucksack Readers: including waterproof paper, a robust spiral binding, and a fold out route map. Add in an introduction which covers planning issues such as accommodation and terrain and you really do end up with everything you need in order to begin to dream of crossing Scotland by a new route that we suspect will become very popular over time.

The book also includes a biographical section about Mary Queen of Scots, and … the route of the walk visits a number of places associated with her during her time in Scotland.

Read the full review here.

From Undiscovered Scotland's review

Bonus content

GPX route file

Many changes have happened since publication in 2011, including minor upgrades such as gates replacing stiles. Below we list only the main ones:

3.2 Loch Lomond to Aberfoyle

page 21 bullet 4: replace with “Just before Cailness outbuildings, take the recent path uphill to join a track just outside the cottage main gate.  Follow this good track for the next 8 km.”

3.3 Aberfoyle to Callander

page 26, bullet 1: The bench at the viewpoint has been removed, but the views are still very fine.

page 26, bullet 2: Shortly after rejoining the Rob Roy Way, it is possible to leave the forest road to its left and join a good path that runs alongside.

3.4 Callander to Dunblane

page 29, bullets 6/7: After 400m beside the wood, the road bends sharply left and immediately right.  On this bend enter the felled wood ahead toward a burn.

Ahead is a bank that descends to the Annet Burn and a bridge.  The slope is short but steep: if it is too slippery, go slightly right for an easier descent.

page 30, bullets 1/2: Once over the bridge, follow the obvious path to your right which leads along the bank of the burn. Skirt them carefully, then continue uphill on the path to reach the stile.

After 300 m enter a wood and continue beside the burn which leads to a road where you turn right.  Pass the rear entrances to a large estate on your left and reach the A84 road at Burn of Cambus.

3.5 Dunblane to Tillicoultry

page 35, bullets 5 & 6: On the lower part of the descent path from Dumyat, a new and better trod path has been beaten by walkers. Ignore our instruction to “bear left at a fork” and continue instead on the more obvious path. This reaches an iron fence and follows it down to the large track where the low stile is almost directly opposite.

page 36, bullet 7: The tall gorse has been cut and burned.

3.7 Glendevon to Glenfarg

page 43, bullet 3: The Forestry Commission carried out further harvesting in Littlerig Forest (to the east of the B934) during 2015.

page 43, bullet 7: Some blocks of trees along the way were harvested in 2013.

3.9 Falkland to Ceres

page 54: The Waterless Road northwards from Little Muirhead can be heavy going after ploughing.  However it is a Right of Way and is passable by keeping close to the field edge if necessary.

3.10 Ceres to St Andrews

page 57: All the paths along the Way from Craigtoun Country Park to the outskirts of St Andrews have been improved, providing a better surface throughout.

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