The West Highland Way is an iconic long-distance trail that explores some of Scotland’s most enchanting landscapes.
The 96 miles (154 kilometers) of the trail takes you beside tranquil lochs and crystal-clear rivers, into ancient woodland, through serene glens, up awe-inspiring mountains and deep into remote moorland. It is a land rich with wildlife, including golden eagles, peregrine falcons, wild goats, and huge red deer.
The trail, which was opened in 1980, was Scotland's first official long distance route and is now designated by Scottish Natural Heritage as one of Scotland's Great Trails. For good reason, too. With an ever-changing landscape, you encounter areas of immense peace, solitude and beauty, as well as vibrant villages and towns that always offer a friendly Highland welcome.
Most people opt to walk the route from south to north, as this Collection does. The standard itinerary is eight days, but more experienced walkers can cover it in four to six days. However, this is not a route to rush; it is a journey you should take time over; appreciating the landscape every step of the way.
As the route passes through some extremely remote countryside, preparation is absolutely essential. Whilst shops are available at most of the stops, there are some sections when you will not pass any shop for a long time.
As well as ensuring you have adequate clothing and footwear for the conditions, make sure you have a map, compass, first aid kit, enough food and water for each stage, a torch with spare bulb and batteries, a whistle to summon assistance, a pen-knife or multi-tool, and a watch with an alarm.
At every stage of the route shown here, there is at least one form of accommodation and usually a few options. However, there are many designated camping spots along the way, as well as bothies.
Wild camping is also allowed along the West Highland Way. The type of camping permitted is lightweight, done in small numbers and only for two or three nights in any one place.
On the subject of wild camping, the official West Highland Way website states: “Avoid causing problems for local people and land managers by not camping in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals and by keeping well away from buildings, roads or historic structures. Leave no trace by taking away all your litter, removing all traces of your tent pitch and of any open fire and not causing pollution. Please also note that within the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park camping byelaws operate between March and September.”
If you plan to arrive by public transport, Milngavie is well served by regular train services from Glasgow and it’s simple enough to take the train back from Fort William to Milngavie or Glasgow.
If you want to arrive by car, there is free parking outside Milngavie railway station with CCTV coverage or you can park outside the police station. You should inform the police of your intentions and give them your registration number and emergency contact number. Some hotels in Milngavie and Fort William may allow you to leave your vehicle for a period, usually for a fee.
The West Highland Way begins from the town of Milngavie. Before you set off on the 96-mile (154-kilometer) route, it is worth topping-up on any supplies you might need.
The first day is relatively flat and easy-going—aside for the detour shown here to the summit of Dumgoyne—giving you a nice warm-up for the rest of the week.
Along this stretch, …
Day two affords an utterly spellbinding hike into the hills and along the shores of Loch Lomond.
From Drymen, you make a steady ascent northwest before a steep push to the summit of Conic Hill, where your climbing efforts are richly rewarded with breathtaking views over Loch Lomond, backed by the rugged highland landscape.
Below Conic Hill you can see …
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This section of the West Highland Way affords the first taste of wild beauty that the route is renowned for.
Taking you along the remote northern shores of Loch Lomond—where the water is 620 feet (189 meters) deep in places—this section of the trail is home to birds of prey, including the golden eagle and the osprey, as well as …
After sauntering along the tranquil shores of Loch Lomond previously, day four begins to explore a new landscape of rugged mountains and serene glens.
From Inverarnan, you make a gradual ascent past the beautiful Falls of Falloch; a cascading waterfall on the River Falloch with a plunge pool—if you are feeling brave—that is surrounded by lush woodland and steep rocks. …
Day five is a heavenly hike through a mountainous region of the Highlands; rewarding you with awe-inspiring views of some Scottish giants.
Before you leave Tyndrum, though, make sure you stock up on any supplies you might need as the next shop is at Kinlochleven—28 miles (45 kilometers) further up the trail and three days of hiking away.
The section …
The trail rises gently from Inveroran to Rannoch Moor, a wild and wonderful part of the West Highland Way.
Hailed as one of the last great wildernesses of Europe, Rannoch Moor is a picturesque place to find yourself, especially in good conditions. Bleak, yet beautiful; you will experience an unrivaled sense of isolation here.
However, do take care if the …
The penultimate day of the West Highland Way takes you deep into mountainous glens and up to the highest point along the trail.
From Kingshouse you ascend gently with glorious views of Glen Coe and Buachaille Etive Mor before ascending the zig-zag path of the Devil’s Staircase.
Reaching a height of 1,084 feet (550 meters) tall, the Devil’s Staircase is …
The final stage of the West Highland Way begins with a very steep climb out of Kinlochleven which is guaranteed to blow away the cobwebs and get the blood pumping for Fort William.
The challenging section ascends 700 feet (213 meters) in one mile (one-and-a-half kilometers), before easing off and rewarding you to view back over Kinlochleven with the River …
Hiking Collection by Bryony Carter :Hike_This_Way