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west highland way

The Natural Adventure Company

Self Guided Walking Holidays and Cycling Holidays

West Highland Way

Details

Picture
west highland way
Rating
Average rating:   5,  2 reviews
Country
Scotland
Activity type
Self Guided Walking
Duration
10 days & 9 nights
Difficulty
Moderate
Accomodation
Comfortable
Availability
April - September

Itinerary

Day 1: Milngavie
Day 2: Drymen
Day 3: Rowardennan
Day 4: Inverarnan
Day 5: Tyndrum
Day 6: Inveroran
Day 7: Kings House
Day 8: Kinlochleven
Day 9: Fort William
Day 10: Departure

Overview for West Highland Way

The West Highland Way is Scotland’s most popular long distance walking route. It stretches 96 miles (154 km) from Milngavie to Fort William, taking in a huge variety of scenery, from countryside fields and forests to loch shores and from open moorlands to rugged mountains.

Our standard West Highland Way itinerary takes 10 days (9 nights) to complete the whole trail with an average of 12 miles (19 km) of walking per day. On request, we can design a custom shorter version of the itinerary, either more demanding or more leisurely. Extra nights are also possible to book in most places along the route.

The route is very well signposted, with well-maintained paths and tracks throughout. Accommodation, services and refreshments are also conveniently located from start to finish, providing opportunities for a comfortable and relaxing end to a tough day’s walking.

Itinerary for West Highland Way

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Day 1: Arrive Milngavie

Today you arrive in the town of Milganvie. Milganvie is easily reachable from Glasgow by public transport (20-30 minutes).

Day 2: Walk Milganvie to Drymen

The walk starts at the obelisk in the Milngavie town centre and follows the Allander Water through patches of woodland, before heading into Mugdock Country Park and Craigallian Loch. The route towards Drymen follows a quaint, hedge lined country lane, before leaving the West Highland Way down into the village of Drymen. 

Walking for the day: 13 miles (21 km), approx. 6 hours, highest point: 140 m

Day 3: Drymen to Rowardennan

Back on the West Highland Way, the route soon enters the Garadhban Forest, where there are two options for walkers; the first being an easier walk into Milton of Buchanan, where the road is followed into Balmaha, sitting on the banks of the loch.  The second option is a more strenuous, but ultimately much more rewarding route, as the climb up Conic Hill gives rise to fabulous views over Loch Lomond. Then walk along the east side of Loch Lomond, flirting with the water’s edge along much of the way. This is a lovely, low level and relaxed stage as it meanders through pebble beaches.

Walking for the day: 15 miles (24 km), approx. 7 hours, highest point: 315 m

Day 4: Rowardennan to Inverarnan

From Rowardennan, the path heads into thick woodland. There are two options here; the easier being the wide forest track which follows the contours up and down the hill; or the more time consuming, narrow path which skirts over rocks and exposed tree roots along the banks of the loch. The rocky and uneven path continues along the loch, hugging the water’s edge amidst the fabulous and ancient oak forest.  The loch becomes noticeably narrower as the path approaches Inverarnan.

Walking for the day: 13.5 miles (22 km), approx. 6-7 hours, highest point: 131 m

Day 5: Inverarnan to Tyndrum

Soon after leaving Inverarnan, the path runs alongside the picturesque, fast flowing River Falloch before a long stretch on an old military road. The route here closely follows the west highland railway and eventually passes underneath the tracks as the path nears a coniferous forest. The route continues through the forest, with the path winding and undulating through the contours. The path then crosses through the road and the River Fillin. The views of the surrounding mountains are wonderful. A well maintained path follows the River Cononish before reaching Tyndrum.

Walking for the day: 12 miles (19 km), approx. 5-6 hours, highest point: 335 m

Day 6: Tyndrum to Inveroran

From Tyndrum, the route closely follows the railway and the road, although continues to maintain its own unique qualities.  By this stage, you are firmly in the Scottish Highlands and the view will be spectacular from here, all the way to Fort William.  The path uses an old military road throughout this stage (and continues right across Rannoch Moor).  This is also the most exposed section of the route so far with little protection from the elements. The path climbs out of Bridge of Orchy through a coniferous forest, eventually providing lovely views across to Loch Tulla.

Walking for the day: 9 miles (14.5 km), approx. 4-5 hours, highest point: 330 m

Day 7: Inveroran to Kings House

The path starts from the Inveroran Hotel, before the long stretch across the edge of the wild and eerily remote Rannoch Moor, passes the Glencoe Ski Centre and into the fabulous mountain range of Glencoe and the isolated Kings House Hotel (reopened after a major refurbishment).

Walking for the day: 10 miles (16 km), approx. 5-6 hours, highest point: 450 m

Day 8: Kings House to Kinlochleven

This stage of the West Highland Way includes the infamous Devil’s Staircase, the steepest climb of the route, reaching the highest point of the entire mile journey (made easier by the zig zag path up the hill). The views from the top are spectacular. The track away from the staircase towards Kinlochleven signals an escape from the Glencoe Mountains and offers a long descent along excellent tracks all the way into the town.

Walking for the day: 9 miles (14.5 km), approx. 4.5-5.5 hours, highest point: 550 m

Day 9: Kinlochleven to Fort William

The climb out of Kinlochleven is a steep ascent through a beautiful little forest.  The view from the top provides fabulous view down to Loch Leven and the village.  The old military road then passes through a wide valley on the edge of Mamore mountain range, known as Lairigmor, before turning towards Glen Nevis through forested areas. The path gradually descends as the way approaches Fort William, with a final stretch along the road into Fort William centre.

Walking for the day: 15 miles (25 km), approx. 6-7 hours, highest point: 330 m

Day 10: Departure

Departure by bus or train to Glasgow (3-4 hours) or Edinburgh. Additional nights at the end of the walk can be arranged to explore the highlands at your leisure, including a climb up Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.

Hotels for West Highland Way

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Nice hotels and B&Bs, all offering comfortable en-suite double or twin rooms. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample hotels:

Note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel from the ones pictured above is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Each hotel and B&B has been hand-picked to ensure you enjoy the most welcoming, comfortable and value-for-money experience on this West Highland Way route. A warm welcome awaits all walkers and hikers, with hotel owners keen to hear stories of the day’s adventures. Evening meals and packed lunches for the onward journey are available throughout, however, please note that they are NOT included in the holiday package. Breakfasts are included each day.

Travel for West Highland Way

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  •  To Glasgow – There are excellent air, train and bus services, allowing easy access from anywhere in the UK and overseas.
  •  To Milngavie – Public transport, by train, bus or taxi, from Glasgow city centre
  •  From Fort William – The main routes out of Fort William are by bus and train to Glasgow. The journey, whether by rail or coach, is an absolutely glorious trip with stunning scenery throughout.


Another great website useful specifically for public transport planning within Scotland is Traveline Scotland.

Private Transfers

Connecting transfers by public transport (train or bus) are recommended for this trip, as they are much cheaper compared to private car transfers.

Luggage Transfers

Each walker will be allowed one bag, of up to 20 kg in weight, which will be transferred between accommodations.

Scotland: Country Info

Some funny but useful travel advice about Scotland is available here 🙂

Trip Info for West Highland Way

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

Although daily elevation gains are not very big, but you should be prepared to walk on average 12 miles (19 km) or 5-7 hours per day. Some days will be more challenging than others and the terrain will be varied with some rough and rugged footpaths (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

The route is well signposted throughout, however, walkers must be vigilant at all times as there are paths and junctions along the way which deviate from the main route. As well as the Guidebook, your package includes detailed map of the full route. We highly recommend that at least one member of your party is a competent map and compass reader. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available to commence every day from 01 April till 30 September.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for West Highland Way

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  • Pre-booked accommodation as per the itinerary on 9 nights in B&B’s, small hotels and guesthouses
  • Full breakfast each morning
  • Door-to-door luggage transfers on all walking days
  • Daily Itineraries, Maps & Guidebooks (one set per booking)
  • Info on transport and local services
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office / representative

Options and Extras

  • Single-room supplement (this applies to members of a group who require single-room accommodation)
  • Solo traveller supplement (includes single room accommodation)
  • Extra nights along the route or in Glasgow

Please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options, extras and supplements for your desired dates.

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers to Milngavie / from Fort William
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Entry fees (payable on site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the programme above as “Included”

Gallery for West Highland Way

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Reviews for West Highland Way

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West Highland Way
Average rating:  
 2 reviews
by Yvette on West Highland Way

We are back from a superb walk: the West Highland Way.  We absolutely loved it!  When we started I thought it may be too crowded but actually it was great to walk with other people and meet them again at the bar in the evening.   And everything was very well organised, so thank you.

by Jane on West Highland Way

My daughter and I had a most wonderful time on the West Highland Way, thanks to your great planning and organization!  I am so glad that we chose this route, as it was challenging in places (Devil’s staircase in the pouring rain!) but what an adventure to be in remote and awesomely beautiful places!  The accommodations were superb, with the friendliest people! We liked alternating between B and B’s and small hotels.  Thanks again for everything!


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