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West Highland Way in 8 Days  The Natural Adventure Company 23

West Highland Way in 8 Days

Overview

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. The tour will take only 8 days (7 nights) to complete. 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.

Full list of our West Highland Way itineraries is available here.

Click to view map

*This map is only for general reference; detailed route maps will be provided in your pre-departure package.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Milngavie

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

Day 2: Milngavie to Drymen | 21 km

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
  • Accommodation: Braeside B&B or similar

Day 3: Drymen to Rowardennan | 24 km

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
  • Accommodation: Rowardennan Hotel*** or similar

Day 4: Rowardennan to Inverarnan | 22 km

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
  • Accommodation: The Drovers Inn & Lodge or similar

Day 5: Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse/Glencoe | 19.3 km

Short morning transfer to Bridge of Orchy. The path climbs out through a coniferous forest, eventually providing lovely views across to Loch Tulla. The path then passes the Inveroran Hotel, before the long stretch across the edge of the wild and eerily remote Rannoch Moor, passed the Glencoe Ski Centre and into the fabulous mountain range of Glencoe and the isolated Kings House Hotel.

  • Walking for the day: 12 miles (19.3 km), approx. 5-6 hours, highest point: 450 m
  • Accommodation: Tom Eachainn B&B or similar

Day 6: Kingshouse/Glencoe to Kinlochleven | 14.5 km

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
  • Accommodation: Tigh Na Cheo Guesthouse or similar

Day 7: Kinlochleven to Fort William | 25 km

The climb out of Kinlochleven is a steep ascent through a beautiful little forest.  The view from the top provides a 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
  • Accommodation: Guisachan House B&B or similar

Day 8: Departure

Return home or individual stay extension.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in 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.

Show the default hotels for this trip

Hotel Premier Inn***, Braeside B&B, Rowardennan Hotel***, The Drovers Inn & Lodge, Tom Eachainn B&B, Tigh Na Cheo Guesthouse, Guisachan House B&B

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at the guesthouse you are staying at or at the village pubs and restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

Although daily elevation gains are not very big, 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). 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 a 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. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

Up-to-date travel advice on the United Kingdom is available here (for Canadian citizens) and here (for US citizens). Some funny but useful travel advice about Scotland is available here. 😊

Click to view travel options and route planner

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Glasgow.

By train or bus
  • Glasgow: There are excellent air, train and bus services, allowing easy access anywhere in the UK and overseas.
  • Milngavie: Public transport, by train, bus or taxi, from Glasgow city centre
  • 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
  • A great website useful specifically for public transport planning within Scotland is Traveline Scotland.

Inclusions

Included

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

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement for members of a group
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the route or in Glasgow are available upon request

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