The West Highland Way

Walk the West Highland Way

At more than 95 miles, or over 150 km, the West Highland Way is Scotland’s leading long-distance hiking route. It starts in Milngavie, some six miles from Glasgow, and takes in the shores of Loch Lomond, passes through Mugdock Country Park and skirts Ben Lomond.

It also visits Glen Falloch, Strathfillan and Rannoch Moor before arriving at the head of Glencoe. The route then goes up the Devil’s Staircase before dropping to Loch Leven, before finally ending in Fort William, via Larigmor and Glen Nevis.

glencoe_three_sisters

View to Bidean nam Bian (Pinnacle of the Mountains), Glencoe

The West Highland Way offers a superb experience for hikers, taking in some of the UK’s most spectacular scenery. With guiding and baggage transfer services available, you don’t necessarily have to be a superb map reader or carry all your stuff with you.

You’ll get more from the experience if you train before you go. You can do this by going hill walking regularly and doing some some good cardiovascular exercise for a few months before you travel. Your gym will help you devise an individual training programme.

If you haven’t previously done any long distance walking, the West Highland Way could come as something of a shock, especially as you will need to spend at least five days on it.

Clearly you’ll need to plan everything well in advance, particularly what to take with you. Two things you shouldn’t stint on in terms of quality are your boots and rucksack. But if you use a baggage service, you can just have a daysack with you for daytime essentials, such as water, snacks, waterproof outer clothing and maps. Also, don’t forget to bring a strong midge repellent with you – especially when the little pests are at their most active in midsummer.

Another tip is to make use of the West Highland Way’s official office, based in Balloch, where you can get last-minute weather and route updates.

You’ll also need to plan your accommodation. While camping may be one option, be sure that’s really what you want to do. You’ll have to take extra equipment if you do this and it may not be as easy to use one of the luggage carrying services. Camping also isn’t allowed on the whole route at all times of year.

How about a welcoming, cosy B&B or guesthouse at the end of an exhilarating but long day’s walk instead?

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