West Highland Way

“Wonderful scenery that improves with every step as you enter the Highlands of Scotland”

(96 miles, 5/8 days)

The West Highland Way was the first official Long Distance footpath in Scotland. The route takes you from the granite obelisk in Milngavie on the northern outskirts of Glasgow, up the shores of Loch Lomond (not easy in places) before it crosses in to the more rugged lands of the Highlands. Here the walk emerges in to some glorious scenery as it passes the higher lands between Tyndrum and on to Rannoch Moor. 2 more passes on each side of Kinlochleven brings you to the finish at the capital of the Highlands, Fort William.

Kingshouse, Glencoe

Kingshouse, Glencoe

The West Highland Way is very clearly marked and the route makes use of old railway tracks and drovers road so the route is never overly difficult. However for those who are not used to the particular challenges of Scottish Highland walking then the 2nd half of the route becomes very demanding. The walk is usually taken from south to north as ‘it gets better’ at every step.

Much of the pleasure of Long Distance Paths is not sticking rigidly to the route. In the case of the West Highland Way this is certainly true with so many splendid mountains nearby. Ben Lomond, Beinn Dothaidh, the Corbett above the Kingshouse and the Munros of the Mamores are all worthwhile detours in half decent weather. In the rain sticking to the route makes more sense.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond

Suitable for: This is one of the shorter long distance paths and the first few days are on easy, lowland terrain so for those wanting a first Long Distance Walk there is no better than the West Highland Way.

Maps

The walk is mostly done south to north which is the best way.

Milngavie to Balmaha 20 miles

Mainly low level walking through a mix of rural and suburbs

Balmaha to Inversnaid 14 miles

Meeting Loch Lomond there is varied walking along the lochside 

Inversnaid to Tyndrum 19 miles

Initially lochside path opens in to the valley surrounded by high mountains

Tyndrum to Kingshouse 19 miles

Wide views across Rannoch Moor and in to Glencoe

Kingshouse to Kinlochleven 9 miles

Steep climb up the Devil’s Staircase out of Glencoe then dropping to Loch Leven.

Kinlochleven to Fort William 16 miles

Cross the Mamores before entering Glen Nevis and a final walk to Fort William

West Highland Way map

O/S Maps Required (from south to north):1.25,000. 347, 364, 377, 384, 392

Places to Stay

The West Highland Way is well organized and popular but the reports I have read all suggest that finding a B & B is fine in the first half of the walk but from Tyndrum pre-booking the hotel or bunkhouse at the Kingshouse is advisable. Kinlochleven should be ok but it all depends if you are a worrier or not! Booking ahead relieves the tension of finding somewhere, however it also puts the pressure on performing to schedule. If your back can take it a tent is the more stress free.

Useful Links

http://www.west-highland-way.co.uk/home.asp

Rannoch Moor

Rannoch Moor

Personal Journey

Coming soon…

Day-by-day

Day 1.
Coming soon…