The Stevenson Way is:
A unique wilderness walk across the heart of Scotland
Over 230 miles ( 370 km) in length
Based on the book Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson
Centred around real historical events
A great way to explore Scotland
Kidnapped describes the tale of a young lad David Balfour, who was kidnapped by his uncle and put on a boat bound for the Carolinas. On the way there he is shipwrecked on the island of Mull, on the far west coast of Scotland, and is involved in many adventures as he travels over 230 miles back to Edinburgh. This web site is based on that journey from Mull to Edinburgh and seeks to provide information to assist you in doing the same. Although Kidnapped is fiction, it is based on the real-life murder of The Red Fox (Colin Campbell) in 1752 and David's travelling companion is also another real character: Allan Breck Stewart (whom RLS calls Alan Breck). See the Background for further details.
The Stevenson Way starts on the west cost of Mull, on the island of Erraid. The route goes through Morvern and then across Loch Linnhe to Ballachulish near the site of the murder of Colin Campbell. Then it is on to rugged Glencoe with its majestic mountains. From Glencoe the Way leads into the great vast wilderness of Rannoch Moor and to the slopes of remote Ben Alder by Loch Ericht. The Way turns south now, heading to Loch Rannoch and on through to the mountains above Bridge of Orchy, near today's West Highland Way, and on to near Crianlarich. It is up and over the mountains now to Loch Voil and Balquhidder, where Rob Roy McGregor lies buried. From here the Way leads on past Callander and Dunblane to Stirling and then along the north of the River Forth to Limekilns, and finally across the Forth to Edinburgh. Overview maps of the route are available here, and each part of the route has a map of the appropriate section of The Way tab.
The Stevenson Way is not way-marked like the West Highland Way and is very much a wilderness walk. You must be:
an experienced hill-walker
able to use a map & compass
properly equipped for the terrain and the weather
conversant with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code e.g. deer stalking and wild camping
The route itself covers a wide variety of terrain and while Robert Louis Stevenson gives some excellent detail e.g. the island of Erraid, much of the book is deliberately vague. This gives great scope for a variety of routes! The route in the book is approximately 230 miles (370 km) so this would be the minimum distance. The most difficult section of the route is across Rannoch Moor and conversely the easiest part is from Callander onwards. There are no way markers at all for the Stevenson Way - you use a map and compass. A map and further details, including the Ordnance Survey maps that are required can be found on The Way.
The Stevenson Way will have the following classifications:
Gold - following the route as close to the book as possible
Silver - using easier, less mountainous routes
Bronze - very relaxed approach, anticipating the use of a car for most of the Way
If you would like any advice then please use the Contact form or the Forum. Guided walking is available - please ask for details.
If you are planning to go on the Stevenson Way then we'd be very grateful if you would let us know.
Two books that might be useful are:
Kidnapped - by RLS, published by Penguin Classics ISBN 978-0-141-44179-5. In addition to the main text of the book, this edition has the original map, lots of notes, background to RLS, etc.
Walking With Murder On the Kidnapped Trail - by Ian Nimmo, published by Birlinn ISBN 1-84158-409-6. Ian Nimmo has walked the Way twice - in 1960 and then 40 years later. Lots of good background and a very useful guide to the route.
'Kidnapped' statue, Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh
Alexander Stoddart's 'Kidnapped' statue, depicting the novel's characters David Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart at their final parting on Corstorphine Hill - surely a contender for being the most magnificent statue in all Edinburgh. While the location is wholly appropriate, it seems a shame that it does not occupy a more prominent position, to be enjoyed more frequently by city residents and visitors alike. It was unveiled by Sir Sean Connery in 2004.
© Copyright kim traynor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Our organisation is part of the European Network In the Footsteps of R.L. Stevenson.
The objective of the European Stevenson network is to promote the life and works of Robert Louis Stevenson and in parallel, the territories visited and explored by the author.
Walking in Scotland can be a difficult and dangerous. Walkers should be aware of this and accept responsibility for their decisions and their actions. You are advised to check all aspects of the route yourself, to check weather forecasts, and to ensure that you and anyone under your charge are properly equipped and fully competent to undertake the activities you have planned. We cannot accept any responsibility for you or anyone under your charge on the route or for any actions based on the information on this website.
This web site and concept are © Ian Logan unless otherwise mentioned.