West Highland Way

The West Highland Way takes the walkers along many ancient roads, including drovers’ roads, military roads and old coaching roads. Traditionally the trail is walked from south to north.  A lot of experienced West Highland Way walkers feel it increases the sense of adventure, leaving the city of Glasgow behind and heading towards the beautiful highlands of Scotland walking this way also helps keep the sun from one’s eyes.

Generally the journey will take from seven to eights days.  However more experienced walkers can manage it in five.  The route can be completed in less time, although most people prefer taking it slowly in order to enjoy the countryside along the West Highland Way.  See route/planning for suggested walks.

The 96 mile (154 km) trail starts just 7 miles north of Glasgow at the obelisk in the center of Milngavie, see Van Position for map.  From there, are a variety of forestry trails, an abandoned railway, the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and scenic Conic Hill, on the way to Balmaha on Loch Lomond.  Following the eastern shores of the loch to Inverarnan, walkers cross the Highland Boundary Fault.

The valley of Strathfillan precedes the solitary Rannoch Moor before descending into Glen Coe.  This is where the big climb begins with the Devil’s Staircase, the highest point of the Way at 550 meters.  From the summit the path gradually descends to sea level at Kinlochleven. The last stretch of the West Highland Way takes you over the Lairigmor.  From there, it continues further into Fort William to the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles standing at 1,344 metres (4,409 ft) above sea level.

Many people choose to have an extra night in Fort William so they can climb Ben Nevis after walking the West Highland Way.  This walk is a fantastic opportunity to experience the beauty of the Scottish Highlands but it is also a strenuous trek and should only be attempted by walkers with a good level of fitness and stamina.

Route Options

The most popular option is the 7 day walk:

Day 1: Milngavie to Drymen 12 Miles
Day 2: Drymen to Rowardennan 14 Miles
Day 3: Rowardennan to Inverarnan 13 Miles
Day 4: Inverarnan to Tyndrum 12 Miles
Day 5: Tyndrum to Kingshouse 18 Miles
Day 6: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven  9  Miles
Day 7: Kinlochleven to Fort William 14 Miles

You can also add this option to make an 8 day walk:

Day 5: Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy/ Inveroran 7/ 9    Miles
Day 6: Bridge of Orchy/ Inveroran to Kingshouse 12/10 Miles
Day 7: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven  9       Miles
Day 8: Kinlochleven to Fort William 14      Miles

An option for the more experienced walker is the 5 day walk:

Day 1: Milngavie to Balmaha 19 Miles
Day 2: Balmaha to Inverarnan 19 Miles
Day 3: Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy 19 Miles
Day 4: Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven 20 Miles
Day 5: Kinlochleven to Fort William 14 Miles

The above routes are only suggestions and you can take as little to as long as you want to enjoy the West Highland Way.

Walking Packages

If you would like a full-service holiday experience, check out the following companies who offer walking packages for the WHW.

Easyways www.easyways.com Tel: +44 (0)1324 714132
Contours www.contours.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)1629 821900
Gemini www.geminiwalks.com Tel: +44 (0)1324 410260
Sherpa www.sherpa-walking-holidays.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)2085 694101
Transcotland www.transcotland.com Tel: +44 (0)1887 820848
North-West Frontiers www.nwfrontiers.com Tel: + 44 (0)1977 421474
Mickledore www.mickledore.co.uk
Tel: + 44 (0)17687 72335