At the end of the West Highland Way, and the start of the East Highland Way

Published 28 January 2018

There are some places that can best be described as ‘junctions’. Points where several walking trails meet. In England, Winchester springs to mind. The city where the South Downs Way, Clarendon Way and St Swithun’s Way all collide. In Scotland, the obvious one is Fort William where you choose between the Great Glen Way, the East Highland Way and, the biggie, the West Highland Way. Yeah, okay, the East Highland Way isn’t on the old Ordnance Survey map, but it bloomin’ well should be.

For whatever reason, no one has ever taken the seemingly logical step to connect up the start and end of the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way. But when the East Highland Way was created, there was no more obvious place for it to start than right at the ending point of the West Highland Way. It just made sense. The eastern trail acts pretty much as a (quieter) extension to its western cousin. Why wouldn’t you start there?

And besides, the Fort William end of the West Highland Way has a pretty impressive finishing point. It’s got a bench, and a statue of a walker, and everything.

Given it’s quite new (it was erected in 2010), the walker depicted in the statue is faintly old fashioned. There’s no Gore-Tex, no leggings, no bandannas. But the man depicted in the statue is rubbing their feet. Something that will be familiar to many a long distance walker.

It’s a fine place for a walk to end. Perhaps it’s a little less than encouraging for one that’s about to start though. Walk that way for painful feet may not be the message a walker particularly wants to hear before they set off.