Mary Queen of Scots Way
COAST-TO-COAST WALKING ROUTE ACROSS CENTRAL SCOTLAND
RETURN TO THE GOOD SOUP GUIDE INDEX PAGE
A SPECIAL PAGE FROM THE GOOD SOUP GUIDE ON THE MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS WAY
'Tonight, after dinner, I have been advised of my sentence: I am to be executed like a criminal at eight in the morning. I have not had time to give you a full account of everything that has happened, but if you will listen to my doctor and my other unfortunate servants, you will learn the truth, and how, thanks be to God, I scorn death and vow that I meet it innocent of any crime, even if I were their subject. The Catholic faith and the assertion of my God-given right to the English throne are the two issues on which I am condemned, and yet I am not allowed to say that it is for the Catholic religion that I die, but for fear of interference with theirs.'
Mountainous scenery near Arrochar
Arrochar to St Andrews
THE ROUTE
The Mary Queen of Scots Way starts at Arrochar on Loch Long, and heads east to end in St Andrews in Fife. It is a walk that encapsulates everything that is most beautiful about Scotland, from its mountains and lochs to forests and fields. It is 107 miles long, and passes through or near to some places in Scotland associated with Mary, Queen of Scots. The walk was created to combine a great coast-to-coast walking route with some of the history tied up with Scotland's tragic queen.
At the time of writing (2012), it is not waymarked, so you will need to check out the Mary Queen of Scots Way website for exact details of the route. What I give you here is merely the briefest of flavours of where it goes and what to see when you get there.
If I may quote from the Mary Queen of Scots Way guidebook: 'It starts at a rugged sea loch, crosses Loch Lomond by ferry and ends on a sandy beach on the Fife coast. On the way, it passes castles, hill forts and aqueducts, and goes through welcoming villages and small towns with friendly pubs and B&Bs.' And that sounds better than good to me.
The Mercat Cross in Doune
In travelling from Arrochar to St Andrews the one major non-walkable obstacle is Loch Lomond, and to cross it one needs to catch a small ferry. If you plan to get across Loch Lomond then you should check out the advert on the right for Cruise Loch Lomond. It is essential that you phone to book, as at the time of writing (2012) there was only one ferry each day between Inveruglas and Inversnaid and only three ferries each day between Tarbet and Inversnaid, the former only calling at Inveruglas on request. In 2012 both services only operated between 31st March and 31st October. The Inversnaid Hotel also occasionally runs a ferry, and you should call them on 01877 386223. As I say, it is crucial that you plan ahead. This is a wild and remote area of Scotland.
The Mary Queen of Scots Way passes through some of Scotland's rugged and very remote countryside. It is not a hike you should undertake if you have no experience of walking in the great outdoors. It is a walk that requires maps and a compass, a whistle, big boots, a rucksack with dangly bits, and all that kind of thing. I cannot stress the importance of having maps and a compass and of knowing what to do with them. You cannot rely on your GPS electronic device to work at all times. A paper Ordnance Survey map always works. No batteries required. I also need to stress the importance of keeping your wits about you when on a wide forest track. Forests and their tracks are constantly changing, and it is way too easy to become hopelessly lost in a huge area of trees.
The Mary Queen of Scots Way passes through the following places: Arrochar, Inveruglas, (ferry over Loch Lomond - there is an alternative route from Arrochar to Tarbet, where a different ferry runs to Inversnaid), Inversnaid, Aberfoyle, Callander, Doune, Dunblane, Menstrie, Alva, Tillicoultry, Dollar, Glendevon, Glenfarg, Falkland, Kingskettle, Coaltown of Burnturk, Ceres, St Andrews.


CHECK OUT THE GOOD SOUP GUIDE FOR DETAILS OF WHERE TO GET SOUP AND ALE IN SOME PLACES THAT THE MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS WAY PASSES THROUGH.
MOUNTAINOUS SCENERY NEAR ARROCHAR
Old houses and hills in Dollar
The West Port, St Andrews
The charm of Falkland - on the Mary Queen of Scots Way
WEST PORT, ST ANDREWS
DOUNE MERCAT CROSS
OLD HOUSES AND HILLS IN DOLLAR
THE CHARM OF FALKLAND
Advertisements
Edinburgh Castle
Where to see other things to do with
Mary, Queen of Scots, in Scotland
EDINBURGH - Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Mary gave birth to James (later to be James VI of Scotland and I of England) at Edinburgh Castle. In the chapel of the Palace of Holyroodhouse Mary was married to Lord Darnley. It was also in this palace that David Rizzio, her Secretary, was stabbed to death.

GLASGOW - Provand's Lordship - the oldest house in Glasgow. It is thought that Mary may have written the 'Casket Letters' here when Lord Darnley was ill in his house nearby.

JEDBURGH - Mary Queen of Scots' Visitor Centre. This visitor centre occupies the house in which Mary stayed for four weeks in 1566. It is an excellent old house, and has a most sobering painted copy of her death-mask.

LINLITHGOW - Linlithgow Palace, Annet House Museum and Garden, Four Marys public house. Mary Queen of Scots was born in Linlithgow Palace. The Annet House Museum has a modern statue of her in the garden. The Four Marys public house may have an item or two relating to Mary.

STIRLING - Stirling Castle. It was here that Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland in 1543.
Mary, Queen of Scots, visited many towns, castles and places all over Scotland during her short troubled life. For a most comprehensive look at everything to do with Scotland's Queen I highly recommend that you check out the website
www.marie-stuart.co.uk.
Linlithgow Palace
Mary Queen of Scots' Visitor Centre, Jedburgh
EDINBURGH CASTLE
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS' VISITOR CENTRE, JEDBURGH
LINLITHGOW PALACE - BIRTHPLACE OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS
Statue of Mary Queen of Scots in the garden of Annet House Museum in Linlithgow
The above is an excerpt from the last letter ever written by Mary, Queen of Scotland, written at two in the morning on the day of her execution on the 8th February 1587 at Fotheringhay Castle. In the morning, upon the newly-erected stage, she forgave the executioner, was stripped to her underclothes, blindfolded, and positioned her head upon the wooden block.
'Into thy hands O Lord I commend my spirit.'
The first axe blow missed her neck and cut into the back of her head. She was heard to whisper, 'Sweet Jesus,' before second and third blows did the job.
As the children's skipping rhyme goes: 'Mary Queen of Scots got her head chopped off.'