Planning a West Highland Way walk

Last updated 5 July 2017

The walking boots take a rest

When it comes to stunning scenery, the West Highlands offers some of the best in Britain. Dramatic mountain ranges, idyllic lochs and stunning panoramic views are aplenty. It’s of no surprise then that one of the busiest long distance trails in Britain passes right through it.

Some 30,000 people from across the world descend on Scotland every year to walk the West Highland Way, which takes walkers on a scenic tour through this stunning landscape; its popularity helped by the fact that the whole trail can be walked in a week.

So what are you waiting for? Get those hiking boots ready and get planning your trip!

Inside This Guide

  1. What is the walk like?
  2. Route Map
  3. Planning an itinerary
  4. Extending Your Walk
  5. Finding and booking accommodation
  6. Getting to/from the West Highland Way
  7. Guide books and maps
  8. And finally, and any questions

Planning your own walk? If you find this guide helpful in planning your walk, please consider giving us £3 for a pint of beer to say thank you!

What is the walk like?

Dramatic walking on the West Highland Way

The West Highland Way is 96 mile walk through some of the finest scenery Britain has to offer. It follows a mixture of drovers tracks, and old military and coaching roads, and heads along lochs, through forests and up hills.

The trail is usually in good condition and not particularly difficult, although there are some big hills and steep climbs. What climbs there are, regularly are rewarded with some stunning views. Don’t forget your camera as you’ll come back with a memory card full of amazing shots.

At the southern end of the trail is Milngavie, a commuter town near Glasgow, but don’t let that put you off as you’re quickly out of the town and into the countryside. At the northern end, the West Highland Way terminates with Ben Nevis nearby, in the bustling but relatively remote Highland town of Fort William.

Its popularity does mean that you will see a lot of people on the trail during the summer months, and from across the globe. If you want a walk that has peace and tranquillity, this is not the one. However with all those visitors come great facilities with plenty of B&Bs, hostels and more.

If you’d like to know more, you can browse an online map of the route.

Route map

You can see the route of the West Highland Way using the map above. Using the controls you can scroll around, zoom in and explore the route. Note that this map is a guide only, and should not be used for navigation.

Planning an itinerary

The Bridge of Orchy

As with any walk, a key decision is which direction you walk in. Most West Highland Way walkers travel south to north, keeping the sun out of the eyes. This has another benefit too. Those going north to south will inevitably end up having to greet a lot of fellow walkers going in the opposite direction! The southern end is also easier to reach by public transport, and the journey back from Fort William by train is stunning way to celebrate your walk.

The West Highland Way is often split into seven or eight days, although it is possible to walk faster. Both seven and eight day itineraries are given below. Each of the locations have accommodation, pub and shop unless otherwise noted and take roughly a day to cover. Locations with a railway station are marked with a *.

7 Day Itinerary

Day From To Distance Notes
Miles Km
1 Milngavie * Drymen 12 19½
2 Drymen Rowardennan 13½ 21¾ [1]
3 Rowardennan Inverarnan 13½ 21¾
4 Inverarnan Tyndrum * 13 21
5 Tyndrum * King’s House 18½ 29¾ [2]
6 King’s House Kinlochleven 9 14½
7 Kinlochleven Fort William * 15 24¼

Notes:

  1. No shop
  2. No nearby facilities. See Alternative accommodation near King’s House for more information

8 Day Itinerary

Day From To Distance Notes
Miles Km
1 Milngavie * Drymen 12 19½
2 Drymen Rowardennan 13½ 21¾ [1]
3 Rowardennan Inverarnan 13½ 21¾
4 Inverarnan Tyndrum * 13 21
5 Tyndrum * Bridge of Orchy or Inveroran 6½ or 8½ 10½ or 13¾ [1]
6 Bridge of Orchy or Inveroran King’s House 11½ or 9½ 18½ or 15¼ [2]
7 King’s House Kinlochleven 9 14½
8 Kinlochleven Fort William * 15 24¼
  1. No shop
  2. No nearby facilities. See Alternative accommodation near King’s House for more information

When to walk

Its location and the high ground means that the West Highland Way is best walked between April and October. Before that you can expect snow and very difficult conditions. Late spring is an especially good time to walk if you want to avoid the dreaded midges who reside in the area.

Breaking the walk up for several trips

Unless you live in or relatively close to the West Highlands, the trail is a difficult one to split up. Not because there aren’t ways to do it, but because train travel takes so long to get anywhere.

That said, there are train stations at Crianlarich, Bridge of Orchy and Tyndrum which are on or close to the trail. At the top of Loch Lomond, two miles before Inverarnan, a ferry runs to the opposite side of the loch near Ardlui station. All the stations are on the West Highland Line which runs between Glasgow and Fort William (and then up to Mallaig.)

Extending Your Walk

Rob Roy's Cave!

If one week of walking isn’t enough for you, the West Highland Way connects at Fort William with both the Great Glen Way to Inverness, and the East Highland Way to Aviemore.

Also at Fort William is Ben Nevis, the UK’s largest mountain which will take a day to climb. The paths up Ben Nevis are good, and it’s not a massively difficult climb; just a long one. Be prepared for snow at the top, even in the summer, and to get up there and find the summit covered in cloud!

Finding and booking accommodation

Rowardennan SYHA

The popularity of the West Highland Way means that there’s generally plenty of places to stay. That said, it can be busy so it’s worth booking if you want to be sure of a bed. The official website contains details of accommodation providers on or near the route, although not in the most user friendly format. It also lists companies who will book everything for you.

It’s not an exhaustive list, but reasonably comprehensive. You may find alternative sources by searching the old internet.

Alternative accommodation near King’s House

The stage ending at the King’s House Hotel is the most challenging for finding accommodation. Whilst the hotel has 22 bedrooms and a campsite, if they are booked up then there is nowhere else nearby, and you will need to use public transport. Scottish Citylink coaches stop at the nearby Glencoe Ski Centre. There’s no bus stop – just keep your eyes open for the coach, and stick your arm out. Coaches run every two hours, seven days a week. Alternatively, if you pop to the King’s House hotel, you can contact a local taxi.

The coaches head south to Tyndrum, or north to Glencoe. Glencoe is the closest and is a stunning twenty minute ride down this amazingly beautiful part of the world.

There’s several hotels and B&Bs in Glencoe village, and neighbouring Ballachulish (also on the coach route.)

There is also accommodation at the SYHA Glencoe, Glencoe Independent Hostel and the fantastic Clachaig Inn which has a famous climbers bar. These are not in the village, and require some walking when you get off the coach as they are on a road that runs parallel to the main A82.

For the Clachaig, you need to alight the bus at the road that turns off at Achnambeithach (at the western end of Achtiochtan.) It’s a well known pub, signposted from the road, and the chances are that the driver will know where you mean. The pub is a half mile walk from the junction with the A82.

For the two hostels you have a choice – you can either alight as per the Clachaig – the hostels are a mile further up the road. Alternatively you can walk from Glencoe village – this is a mile and a half from the village. The Clachaig is the nearest pub to both hostels (although the SYHA is licensed and does some meals.)

The following morning you simply need to retrace your steps back to King’s House on the coach (or taxi.)

Hostels and bunkhouses

The West Highland Way is pretty well served if you’re looking for cheaper accommodation. There are hostels and bunkhouses at the following locations on or near the trail. Note that some of the independent ones can be small.

Camping

There are many campsites on the West Highland Way, and several of hotels and pubs also allow camping, such as the remote Kings House Hotel. You can find a list of campsites on the official West Highland Way website.

You can wild camp on most of the route as long as you follow the Scottish Outdoors Access Code. There’s plenty of water sources. Note however that on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, there are by-laws which are active between March and October. These ban wild camping along most of the eastern side.

Getting to/from the West Highland Way

Waiting for the coach at Glencoe Ski Centre

As the West Highland Way goes through a rather remote part of Scotland, transport links are limited. However there are train services at each end of the route, and also intercity coaches.

At the southern end, Milngavie has frequent rail services to Glasgow, which is less than 25 minutes away. Monday to Saturday, there are four trains an hour, two of which extend to Edinburgh. Note that the Edinburgh services depart from Glasgow Central, whilst other services depart from Glasgow Queen Street. The two stations are a ten minute walk apart. There are also bus services, from Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station.

Services at Fort William are less frequent, with just three or four trains running to and from Glasgow, with a journey time of just short of four hours. It may be a long journey, however this is a fantastic journey through some stunning countryside, much of it near the West Highland Way.

Indeed the West Highland Line is perhaps best viewed with a whisky in your hand from the lounge car of the evening service that runs from Fort William – the Caledonian Sleeper. Six days a week the sleeper connects Fort William with Crewe, Preston and London, and is a fantastic way to travel. There are sleeper berths, and a seated carriage. The service also runs as a local stopping service, allowing passengers to travel to/from Glasgow and Edinburgh without a reservation, in addition to the normal daytime trains.

Along the trail there are also stations at Crianlarich, Bridge of Orchy and Tyndrum which are on or close to the trail. At the top of Loch Lomond, two miles before Inverarnan, a ferry runs to the opposite side of the loch near Ardlui station. All are on the West Highland Line as well.

Scottish CityLink also run coaches from Glasgow, connecting Fort William, Kingshouse, Crianlarich, Bridge of Orchy and Tyndrum. These are more frequent, running every 1-2 hours.

Guide books and maps

West Highland Way maps and guide books

Thanks to its popularity, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to guide books for the West Highland Way. We can’t feature them all here, so we’ll highlight the following based on our experiences. Note that in 2011 the walk was extended with a new ending in the centre of Fort William. Some older books and maps will show the original ending of the trail at the Bridge of Nevis – near a roundabout on the edge of town.

The West Highland Way: The Official Guide has been in print in various versions since the year the route opened in 1980. The most recent edition was published in 2013 so is well up to date. The book comes with a strip map of the whole route, using Harvey’s 1:40,000 scape mapping.

Also highly recommended is Aurum Press’s West Highland Way by Anthony Burton. We’re big fans of Aurum’s guide books here at Rambling Man because they’re generally well written and easy to follow. And they have a huge benefit over the competition because they include Ordnance Survey mapping at the 1:25,000 scale (the same scale as the OS Explorer maps.) This is a huge boon as you get the best scale of maps on the market, and all in a handy book format.

Very useful for planning your trip will be the Trailblazer’s Buy from Amazon guide. These books contain extensive, and regularly re-published, guides to accommodation and facilities on, and near, the trail. They do also come with walking instructions, and hand drawn maps which some people rate very highly, although our own personal preference is to always have a proper map with you.

If you’d prefer a map, then the Harveys publish a West Highland Way strip map, at their bespoke 1:40,000 scale mapping.

Alternatively if you are one of those people who likes to carry a stack of OS maps around with you, to walk the West Highland Way you’ll need the maps noted below. Note that in 2015 the Ordnance Survey renumbered some of their maps. Where there has been a change, the old map numbers are shown in brackets.

And finally, and any questions

Sitting by Loch Lomond

The West Highland Way is one of the most popular walking routes in the UK, and not surprising either. It’s combination of classic, dramatic scenery sees thousands of people flock to this corner of Scotland every year.

Because of that, you’ll probably never be really alone, despite being in one of the more remoter parts of the country. But despite that, the rewards are plentiful. Just make sure you take some midge repellent – those pesky critters get everywhere!

If you’ve any questions or comments about the West Highland Way, pop them in the box below.

Found this guide helpful? Why not say thanks by sending us £3 for a beer!

Your Comments

amanda pearson

13 May 2015 at 11:11 am

Hi, I am interested in doing this way this September and would like to get a rough idea of how much I would need. I would be camping throughout the way and would be looking to do it on a low budget. Could you please advise?

Thanks
Amanda

Sabir

8 July 2015 at 5:19 pm

Hi,
I think if you go wild camping on most days ( I would stop on campsite at least twice along the whole route, to get shower etc) you will need about 100£ tickets are not included

Mike

9 September 2015 at 12:16 pm

How much?
I’ve just walked it this year.
Campsites and a couple of wild camps over a leisurely 9 days.
Kept weight down buy eating where we could, lunch and evenings. This pushed the price up a lot.
Average campsite about £7 or £8. Splashed out on the Ben Nevis Inn at £31 a night as I did the Ben after the last day.
Then of course there was the celebratory last meal.
I got through £300.
Hope this helps.

Brent Edwards

1 December 2015 at 2:59 pm

Very nice blog post. From the US here…considering a long distance trek in 2016 somewhere on your side of the Atlantic.

Agnes Lockhart

6 January 2016 at 12:16 am

I planning on doing this this year, company costing around £345£395 for 5 walking days and 6 nights this includes luggage transported to each station, breakfast and accommodation

Davie

6 January 2016 at 6:20 pm

What date Agnes? We off there to start 16th July over 7 days

Moira

19 January 2016 at 6:39 pm

My sister and I are going in April this year from Fort William to Milngavie over 6 days and 5 nights. I did it last year from Milngavie to Fort William and using B & B, hotels and one hostel I only spent just over £300 and that was with our bags getting taken forward each day.
Don’t know why camping would cost just the same!

Ross

19 January 2016 at 10:03 pm

I am planning to walk the WHW this Easter and wanted to ask what the weather is typically like in late March. Too cold/wet for camping?

Andrew Bowden

20 January 2016 at 9:50 am

Hi Ross – it all depends on the weather. At that time of year there is always a strong chance that there will be snow, especially in the higher ground. It may be nice, but you may need to wrap up warm. And be prepared to encounter snow just in case.

Bernadette Lynass

4 February 2016 at 4:25 pm

Hi, I’m thinking about walking the WHW this year to raise funds for clubfoot treatment in developing countries as my daughter has been treated recently. I would like to do this with my 14 and 18 year old sons who are very active and fit. I am reasonably fit but not used to any long distance walking, will we manage do you think? What training would we need? Any any tips if we plan to camp?
Thanks!!

Andrew Bowden

5 February 2016 at 9:25 am

I’d aim to walk 10-12 miles a day if you’re in good fitness, although if you plan to camp, I’d do less, at least at first. The weight of carrying camping gear makes walking slow. Also be aware that there are restrictions on wild camping in the Loch Lomond National Park. I’d certainly do some test walks with camping gear – maybe make a weekend of it!

Bill

8 February 2016 at 3:13 pm

At age 68 I should probably know better however I am hoping to complete the WHW in August 2016 culminating with climbing Ben Nevis. I have two questions:

1. Are Trail shoes rather than hiking boots adequate for the walk?

2. Does anyone know of any company to organise my walk?

Eline Kannegaard

29 February 2016 at 12:47 pm

Hi, great blog post!
My boyfriend and I are thinking about walking the WHW from first of July. I’m worried about the midges. Are they very bad? I mean… is there a million of them? Because I’m a bit allergic, so would it be totally stupid to walk in July?

Thanks!
/Eline

Andrew Bowden

29 February 2016 at 8:38 pm

Hello Eline – I have been to places with a worse midge problem than the West Highland Way, however it can be bad, especially in July. I would suggest May or June would be better – July and August are liable to be very bad.

Chris

2 March 2016 at 10:37 am

We are walking the WHW and camping leaving 16 March. Will be prepared for possible snow but can anyone advise on a reliable list of locations en route where we can resupply food etc.

Chris & Ali

Amie MacMillan

4 March 2016 at 12:10 am

We’re walking the WHW over eight days in mid May and are beyond excited. We’re using GingerRoutes to transport our big bag so that we can hike with day packs. Their rates are very reasonable.

We were married in Ballachulish last May, and we walked bits of the Way on our honeymoon. We’re excited to be taking on the whole thing for our anniversary tour!

Rhonda Philip

16 March 2016 at 10:32 pm

Hi, good to read the posts. My friend and I are doing WHW starting on Good Friday. We did this 14 years ago in 5 days staying in bunk houses, wigwams etc. Going to do it over 7 days this time, adding a touch of luxury staying b&b’s, inns and a hotel! can’t wait. All the best everyone walking The Way.

Wren

6 April 2016 at 12:57 pm

Hi,
Very nice post, realy useful.
I ll be walking the WHW in mid may with my camping gear. I noticed that there are not a lot of drinkable water (tap water) in some places. I wonder if the water of the burns are drinkable, once treated (Micropur) ? Any advice ?
Thank you so much.

Sarah Wild

6 April 2016 at 4:01 pm

I’m looking at doing this in late May (on my own) and, having tested a couple of places to check availability, have been a little worried that accommodation may be hard to find. One had no beds at all, and one of the hostels seems to be charging £70 for one person in a bunk bed on a weeknight! I’d book accommodation all in advance, as I understand it’s risky not too, but the worry is starting to book and then finding that nothing is available further along the Way or is prohibitively expensive. I don’t want to camp, but am more than happy to stay in hostel bunkrooms.

Last spring, I walked the Camino de Santiago (Frances) and beds were v cheap and easy to find. I never worried about having nowhere to sleep. Is this a danger on the WHW? Prices seem to be in the £30s and £40s for bunks which seems expensive, even in Scotland.

Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

Many thanks

Sarah

Oxhands

7 April 2016 at 11:31 pm

Can someone tell me the reliable places for resupplying food? Which villages/towns have food shops? Do any of the hotels and campsites have shops where theyre selling to walkers?

Am looking to wildcamp the entire way, or as much as possible.

thanks,

Wren

8 April 2016 at 10:06 am

To Oxhands

Search for “the West Highland Way Companion 2016” on the net.

When travelling or hiking anywhere, I use Google Map to find food, café, camping etc.

Wren

8 April 2016 at 10:12 am

To Sarah Wild

Have you tried the SYHA booking site ? It should help you to make an all-in-one booking.

I agree with you : the price for bunk beds on the WHW are the double I pay in France for !

Notice that on the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrims have dedicated hostels : rates are very low and on a non-profit philisophy…. which is obviously not the case on the WHW !

I will camp along the WHW. Wild camp at the most, as the rates of some camping sites are ridiculously high.

Ross

8 April 2016 at 7:44 pm

Hi Oxhands.

In terms of places to resupply, there is a Londis in Crianlarich and a Coop in Kinlochleven. If staying at hostels or hotels, they can make you a pack lunch for the next day. There are also a number of pubs and cafe along the way at Balmaha, Inverarnan, Crianlarich, Bridge of Orchy, Inveroran, Kings House and Kinlochleven. We found that often a pack lunch wasn’t enough for a full day’s hiking so we often grabbed some cheesy chips along the way.

Ross

8 April 2016 at 7:48 pm

I would definitely recommend booking ahead as its no fun turning up late in the evening without anywhere to stay. Accommodation is especially an issue around the Bridge of Orchy / Inveroran stages as there’s not much there apart from a couple of small hotels. We paid £48 pp sharing 23 a room at the Inveroran hotel over Easter which was the most expensive. But having said that I thought the hotel and food was excellent so it was money well spent. I recommend the Inversaid bunk house for its stain glass windows in the bar/restaurant and its hot tub! Couldn’t believe it had a hot tub after a long day on the WHW.

Oxhands

8 April 2016 at 8:24 pm

Hi Ross, thanks for the feedback. Would the pubs and hostels be willing to sell food if you aren’t stayin there? I don’t plan on paying that much for a bunk bed, but can’t find much in the way of resupply points. Obviously will be stopping in pubs along the way for food but I still want a stock in my bag.

Ross

8 April 2016 at 8:46 pm

Hi Oxhands,

At the Inversaid Bunk House you need to ring and book if you want to eat an evening meal / breakfast there as it is a small place and residents get first dibs. I’m sure they would sell you a pack lunch if you asked. I recall they asked us for pack lunch orders the night before.

Don’t know about the SYHA in Crianlarich as we brought lunches and snacks six miles into the walk the next day at Tyndrum (another place that has a decent food store and a camping shop. There is a Londis and a pub in Crianlarich where we ate our evening meal (very good).

At the Inveroran Hotel you need to book in advance for evening meals due to hotel guests getting priority. Meant to say it was 2 or 3 per room not 23 a room in my last message! Again you have to place your order for pack lunches the night before. People were camping near the hotel so I’m sure that they would sell you a pack lunch if you asked.

Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven don’t do food at all but there is a Coop down the road and plenty of places to eat an evening meal including a fish and chip shop.

What I would say is that you are rarely more than a day or two from a food store, pub or hostel selling food so we didn’t find it necessary to pack much in the way of supplies.

Ryan Moore

8 April 2016 at 11:05 pm

Hi, great read.
Ive just finished my walk on the Dales Way for charity (macmillan) with my dog Bear (golden retriever).
Im already planning on next year’s charity walk, hopefully not on my own this time. WHW looks pretty incredible so I think this is my trek. I have two questions.
My 1St – my dog is a machine, very fit and active more so than me, but this walk with Nevis included, would it suit for a dog or is it abit risky? Also my second… Is Ben Nevis right at the very end of the walk or would I climb this before I reach the finish line? Also would I need a full day just for Nevis?
Thank you all. Also if your intrested in joining on next years trek for Macmillan. Follow my page and wait for posts with details on how and when you can join. All for a great cause.
http://www.facebook.com/onemanandhisdogtrek4macmillan
Thanks again
Ryan and Bear

Wren

9 April 2016 at 9:51 am

Oxhands

Food shops opening hours on the WHW :
Milngavie : Tesco 8h/22h closed on sunday
Drymen : Spar 8h/22h
Balmaha : Village shop 7h30/20h30
Crianlarich : village shop 7h30/18h
Tyndrum : Brodies minimarket 7h/18h
Green Welly 7h/22h
Kinlochleven : village shop 7h/22h

And also some shop on campingsites : Millarochy near Balmaha, Beinglass Farm at Inverarnan (both reported to be “expensive”).

Some SYHA packed lunch also reported to be “insufiscient”.

For a quick snack on the way, I tested Nairn oat biscuits with dried while cycling in Scotland : light in the bag, very energetic. The classical shortbread is also good value.

Oxhands

10 April 2016 at 11:03 am

Cheers Wren. This is perfect. Do these village shops cater to walkers at all? Does Brodie’s minimarket sell enough to restock food? What I’m basically trying to figure is how much food to set off with. Thanks again.

Andrew Bowden

10 April 2016 at 1:11 pm

Hi Ryan and Bear. Ben Nevis is near the finish line but is separate. Doing it is basically a days walk in itself.

Ross Cumming

11 April 2016 at 5:47 pm

Hi, my partner and her friend would like to walk a couple of stages of the WHW over a weekend. Due to time constraints, two days are all they have (one travelling up form Yorkshire). What I would like to try find out is anyone’s recommendation or opinions on the the best, or most rewarding (scenery) two stages to do. For those who have already walked it, if you were going back and could only do two days – what two routes would you do? The plan is for me to drop them off in the morning and pick them up at the end of the day, I have agreed to act as taxi rather then walk myself 🙁 , stay over somewhere (or if needs be travel home to Stirlingshire) and then drop them off the next day at another stage and pick them up at night again. Both ladies are fit and experienced walkers, so 10-plus miles per day would not be an issue for either of them. Many thanks for any information provided.

Sarah

11 May 2016 at 2:25 pm

Hi! I am thinking of walking the West Highland Way in June, and I was wondering, how safe is it for a solo traveller? Is the way very “crowded”? Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Andrew Bowden

12 May 2016 at 7:28 am

Hi Sarah. We walked out in June and there were a lot of people walking it, perhaps because we were setting off on a Sunday.

On safety, its a well marked, well made trail with no particularly obvious dangers.

Cagla

14 May 2016 at 8:07 pm

Hi,
We are planning to walk the WHW by camping only. But I could not get sufficient info regarding the campsites from the official webpage, I would like to know where they are located exactly and so on, so I can plan my trip better. Do those guides you have mentioned above indicate the campsites for each stage of the trail ?

Thanks a lot!

Patrick

27 June 2016 at 2:12 pm

I’m walking the route in July, Wild Camping all the way. I am starting late from Milngavie about half 11 in the morning on the day I travel up. 7 days total with 6 nights wild camping

Kim Ritchie

30 June 2016 at 4:50 am

I am planning on walkin in July and if I only have 4 days what would be the best parts you would recommend looking for fun, pictures, and waterfalls?

Anna

10 July 2016 at 7:57 pm

Hi!
We just got off the WHW from Milngavie to Fort Williams and it was fabulous
Brought with me the souvenir of Midge bites, but really not too bad.
I would strongly recommend Hijing Boots, especially when walming long distances (we averaged 20 mi) and carrying your own gear
It’s also helpful insome of the muddier terrain
We would head out there again anytime!!!

Shawn

30 July 2016 at 2:39 am

Andrew, this is excellent information regarding the trail. I have absolutely no idea why I have never stumbled across the page before considering my own passion for walking trails all around the world. Frankly I feel a little sheepish that I have not been here before!

I ask you to not stop providing such great information to others. I am currently making a list of relevant, useful sites that I can direct others to for support on specific trails and yours will most certainly make the list.

Cheers,

Shawn

Joana

19 August 2016 at 10:10 am

Hi guys! im planning to hike the west highland trail in September and intend to camp all the way through (mostly wild camping) and I was wondering if it would be easier to take my bike with me since I could carry some of the gear on my bike pannier bags. My tent is for 4 people so it’s quite heavy to carry for a long time. Has anyone experience cycling or carrying a bike along the trail at all or shall I just find a lighter tent?

shawn

20 August 2016 at 4:52 am

The trail is not friendly to cycling and you would end up carrying your bike often. You can do it, but there are many sections very unkind to cycling (along the coast of Loch Lomond as example). You have many area with fences to cross and even a ladder to deal with and many places you would have to dismount for periods of time due to overhead obstructions. Not saying it isn’t done but I would prefer to stick to my own feet on it. (I am an avid cyclist to gets to work daily on two wheels for perspective.)
Much easier to find a lighter tent imo.

Cheers!

Shawn@trekopedia

Devan

20 August 2016 at 8:20 pm

I’m getting married in late October of next year, and we are interested in hiking the WHW trail for our honeymoon. What is the weather like in late late October / early November? Is it still doable? Also, if we hike South to North, is there a good way to get to Iverness quickly (train, bus)? I don’t think we’ll have time to hike the WHW and continue on to Iverness, but I’d love to see both! Thank you for all the great information!

Aitan & Lee

21 August 2016 at 1:07 pm

Hi!
We are palnning on walking the walk at the begining of September.
We would like to know how cold can it get during the day and night and what type of warm colthing are recommended?
taking in acount that we will not be camping in a tent ( only BnB and Hobbit Hut).

Thanks a lot!

Aitan and Lee

Andrew Bowden

21 August 2016 at 9:43 pm

Hello Devan. That’s my kind of honeymoon. Late October should be okay but daylight hours are shorter. There is a coach to Inverness which takes about two hours.

Sagi

27 August 2016 at 3:43 pm

First of all, thank you for this little guide. It is very helpful.
I’m an ultramarathon runner and planning on running the WHW over a few days.
I’m thinking about doing it over 5 days of about 30km per day starting at 9 or 10am, and it should take around 4 or 5 hours of running per day.
My partner will provide me the logistic help and will wait for me every day at the next stop with the car.
I’m thinking about doing it in the beginning or middle of April. What’s the lowest temperatures I could come across in that time? as long as it’s above freezing point, I’m all good 🙂

How would you suggest segmenting this way to 5 parts?

Tzuriel king

28 August 2016 at 2:02 pm

Hi:) great Blog…
I am planing to walk at the end of September…would like yr help if its ok:)
I am going to use the b@b…and not camping.
Can i ask what is the min and max price pre night? At the motels and B@B on the way?

Lester

11 September 2016 at 5:29 pm

Andrew,
I will be doing the WHW next May (2017), this will be my 4th time, so I guess I’m hooked.
Having done it in 4 days up to 8 days I reckon it is the best trail out there. The whole map thing is interesting, I work for OS and have been pushing them to launch a WHW map.
It will be 5 days this time, but don’t want to miss the Kingshouse Hotel, love it there.
I’ve picked May as midges love me, it’s not mutual. I’ve heard of a new product Smigde? Any feedback on it or other potions. I currently use DEET which is ok, but not great on certain fabrics.

Wren

29 September 2016 at 10:47 am

Hi Lester

” I’ve heard of a new product Smigde?”

Smidge. It works quite well. I used it last may and was not bitten. Avon Skin So Soft works well too.

Yoy say you’ve done the WWH 3 times already. Have you walked it late october ?

Holly

1 October 2016 at 1:39 pm

Hi!

I’m doing the west highland way next week. I’ve done long distance hikes before but haven’t done wild camping along the way which I’m hoping to do this time. I have the map/guide for the route but know it’s quite easy to follow the route.

I’m just wondering if you think it’s essential for me to have OS maps for wild camping? I understand I can’t wild camp along loch lomond but will be staying in a hostel in that leg of the route.

Wren

3 October 2016 at 10:05 pm

Hi Holly

There is a West Higland Way map which covers the entire route on one map.
Harveymaps editor.
Take the polyethylene version as it is waterproof , tough and very light.

This map will help you to find the wild camping sites : as the landscape is not very suitable for wild camping except in a few places.

Its quite a good one and quite enough to guide yourself : the way is indeed rather easy (except in some stretches along the Loch Lomond from Rob Roy’s Cave during 2 miles).

Karen

21 December 2016 at 2:24 am

I’m thinking of doing the WHW in April 2017, with my husband and 20 month old toddler (she has her own hiking throne that she sits in). Has anyone done this with a little one in tow? How long did you take?Is the trail too steep for this at all, or are there other obstacles that would present a problem? Is the accom accommodating?

Pete

15 January 2017 at 9:57 am

Hi all, we are planning to hike the WHW in April 2017.

Can anyone recommend a particular alternative place to stay at King’ House part of the hike?
I’m aware we’ll need to get transport from there, but always looking for good suggestions.

Thank you

Gary Connor

16 January 2017 at 1:30 am

Hi can you tell me how you go about booking the hostels for the whw for me and my few mates and how much it would cost we are going to be doing it over 5 days so it will be booking in for 4 nites.We are looking to do it in april this year.
Thanks
Gary

Carol

16 January 2017 at 10:19 pm

Hi all, I’m doing a solo walk on whw over 5-7 days…I would like to knw campsites…places to top up water and shops. Also how much clothing to take. I’m hoping April..also is it safe to wild camp solo?. Thanks in advance…I would be grateful for any tips advice.

dena dianati

29 January 2017 at 7:20 pm

Hello, I am planning a walk with a few of my friends in mid August of this year. We are flying into glasgow, and were planning to stay there a night or two, then take a bus to the start of the route. I was wondering, for the accommodations along the route, if we are planning to stay in hostels/B&Bs should we reserve those in advance?
Thank you, I would greatly appreciate any advice!!

Andrew Bowden

30 January 2017 at 9:11 am

Hello Dena – in August I’d certainly book in advance as the West Highland Way is a very busy trail. Make sure you take plenty of midge repellent though – they’re especially bad in August.

Gail Robertson

5 February 2017 at 1:25 pm

Hello

I’m planning to walk the west highland way in October with a group of friends in memory of my dad and to raise money for kidney cancer. We aim to do it in 3 days (my dad this years ago) can anyone suggest accommodation at stages throughout the walk?

Joanne Braithwaite

4 March 2017 at 1:27 am

Hello – a friend of mine and I are planning our WHW walk in July (it’s the only time I can get away) and we have everything booked except the Fort William accommodation. Any suggestions? Thanks for the great site!

Teddy

5 March 2017 at 5:49 pm

Hello, I’m planning on walking the way April 10th to the 16th/17th. What would the weather be like? What would you recommend for clothing and other necessities needed at this time of the year?

Andrew Bowden

5 March 2017 at 9:52 pm

Hello Teddy. I haven’t been to the Highlands in April, however I would expect there to be some snow. Most will be at higher levels, but can’t rule out some on the West Highland Way. I once got snowed in in Northumberland on the 31 March so anything’s possible. Basically I’d prepare for wet weather, and snowy conditions. And if you don’t get them, all will be good! But always be prepared. Take a torch and consider taking a cheap bivvy bag with you, just in case.

Julie Byrne

8 March 2017 at 10:29 pm

Hi, we are planning to walk the WHW in late September. Do you know of any companies that will transport our luggage between each place of accommodation?
Thanks.

Gordon

10 March 2017 at 5:28 pm

Good advice Andrew. I’ve been skiing at the start of May and on a few occasions have had subzero nights in May in that area. If you’re going in April then prepare for the worst and then everything will be good. It may well be good weather but never plan equipment around best case scenarios up here. I’m going on April 4th and I’m packing my cold weather down quilts…not the 3 season ones and that’s from experience of living up here. As a rule I always check out the average temps and equip for 10c cooler than that just to be on the safe side. Don’t underestimate the wind chill factor…it can have a profound effect on how you feel compared to stated temps. One more thing, be aware that the new extended camping restrictions are now live and cover from Drymen now so they start much closer to drymen than they did before. That will cause problems for some who aren’t aware of it. They also cover the area at the North of Loch Lomond near Beinglas where they didn’t previously. Have a look at the updated restrictions on the official site as they are markedly different compared to a couple of months ago. All the best.

Wren

12 March 2017 at 3:04 pm

Hi Julie,
I warmly recommend AMS a local company, which I found helpful and pratical :

http://amsscotland.co.uk/

Emma Shoemaker

17 March 2017 at 4:48 pm

Hello,
I am a part of a group at my school that is planning on hiking the full West Highland Way from May 18th to the 27th. Is there anything that anyone highly recommends I pack? What will the weather most likely be like and is there anything else I should expect for this walk?

Emma Finn

20 March 2017 at 10:59 pm

Hi hope your well,

A group of friends are hoping to do this walk for charity and I have two questions I was hoping you wouldn’t mind answering:

1. Chose of footwear, would you recommend hiking boots or trekking shoes? (We hope climb Nevis at the end)

2. August or September for time of Year?

Thanks 🙂

Andrew Bowden

21 March 2017 at 9:03 am

Emma – I have never worn trekking shoes, only ever boots. The paths on the West Highland Way are good so you might get away with shoes. As for the month, I’d opt for September. Less midges.

FS & SH

27 March 2017 at 2:26 am

Hello, our group is walking in mid May. Does anyone have any recommendations as far as getting a type of pants (like a good brand that isn’t uncomfortable and will hold up)? Also, should we expect a lot of midges?

Wren

27 March 2017 at 9:30 am

Hi FS & SH

Take any hiking trousers made of lightweight and fast-drying fabric. Large enough so you can wear warm tights underneath.

http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/outdoor-activity/best-walking-trousers-uk-2016-mens-womens-waterproof-lightweight-convertible-a7160351.html

My advice is to wear running tights under shorts made of durable, quick-drying fabrics. If it’s pouring down, weaterproof trousers are easy and fast to slip on.

Avoid coton and jeans, and also some heavy fabrics : they turn very uncomfortable, once soaked.

Midges usually pop up mid-may. Avon Skin So Soft or Smidge is a must. Midge-net is recommended.
https://www.smidgeup.com/midge-forecast/

Peter Matchett

27 March 2017 at 4:24 pm

Drymen Camp site (East Drumquhassle) Is very very closed, this would normally be the campers first night. Not good to find it closed, with limited accommodation at Drymen this will certainly be a big disappointment at the end of the first day.
Their web site as not been updated for years and it appears to still except bookings but you never get any confirmation.

chris wilkinson

28 March 2017 at 6:55 am

me and my son doing this walk on the 1/4/2017 its be our first time up in the Scotland and i know some routes are not easy

we hope to enjoy it and planning to come back in the summer holiday in school holidays

Wren

28 March 2017 at 12:18 pm

Hi Peter

This small camping site is basic but quite useful. I stopped there just to reffill my waterbottle.

The owner just pop out in the evening.
A leaflet tells you to settle without waiting for him.

Peter Matchett

28 March 2017 at 2:56 pm

Hi Wren

We have just come back from doing the way, last Saturday. This site was CLOSED with a sign indicating this also a great pile of soil blocking the entrance as well.

All might not be lost though, we are led to believe that the site has planning permission for a new shower block, but this will not be ready for a while I’m guessing !!!

Gordon

29 March 2017 at 2:01 pm

With that site at Drymen closed please also be aware that the no camping ban now extends down to Garadhban Forest just outside of Drymen as well which will also catch a lot of people out who go there after finding the campsite is closed.

Wren

29 March 2017 at 2:29 pm

Wild camping is allowed without restriction along Loch Lomond from 30th september till 28th february.

Between march and september, camping is allowed south of Rowerdennan… with a camping permit. Permits cost £3 per tent.

Sallochy campsite is a nice spot with basic facilities such as fresh water and composting toilets. You’ll have to book your pitch.

Wild camping is allowed in Garadbhan forest.

http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/things-to-do/camping/

Gordon

29 March 2017 at 4:55 pm

Wild camping is no longer allowed in the Garadhban Forest. Have a look at the map on the link you’ve posted detailing the new restricted area which came into effect at the start of this month. It now covers the Garadhban forest.

Peter Matchett

29 March 2017 at 5:14 pm

Hi Gordon
Just looking at the above link and the associated PDF, I would say most of the Garadhban forest is NOT in the restricted zone, especially the designated wild camp which is well NW nearly on the forest border…. correct me if I’m wrong

Wren

29 March 2017 at 8:12 pm

Gordon

The new by-laws introduced changes concerning the camping sites* and the restricted area itself, which includes NOW the west shore.

No changes on the east shores. Garadhban Forest is not included in the restricted zone. Pleasant place to wild camp.

* One more on East Loch Lomond, three on West Loch Lomond.

Mark and Helen Brown

14 April 2017 at 6:30 pm

Just finished the West Highland Way! We did the 7 day itinerary and it was fine for two reasonably fit 50 ish year olds…
Absolutely loved it, each day was different, incredible scenery, lots of interesting people to chat to on the way or in the evenings, just a great but tiring experience.
This is not an easy walk, you need a reasonable level of fitness and stamina, but you don’t have to be an athlete, plenty of over weight people doing it, just slower than some others!
The 3rd day closely followed by the 5th day are the hardest, the first and fourth days the easiest.
We did the Dales Way two yeas ago and loved that, this was harder, more spectacular, but also much more people on it. If you want to avoid some of the people, try starting on a week day and avoid Easter/Bank Holidays.
Enjoy!!

Lizzy

9 June 2017 at 1:16 pm

Hi everyone,

Great information! I’m doing the Way this week and was wondering if I really need an OS map? I’ve got a footprint map which details the path and relevant landmarks and elevations nearby, but doesn’t provide details of areas past that… do you think it will be sufficient?
And where can I purchase smidge from?

Cheers,
Lizzy

Amie Bell

9 June 2017 at 4:40 pm

Hi Lizzy,

You definitely don’t need an OS map. The trail is so clearly marked that it’s virtually impossible to lose your way. Having some sort of guide book or map is good, so you can gauge your progress and get an idea of the upcoming terrain. The official WHW guidebook is excellent. It provides a detailed description of every mile of the trail, as well as history and anecdotes about the the areas you’ll pass through. There is also a terrific map included. Can’t recommend it highly enough. Enjoy your trip. You’re in for a wonderful adventure!

Wren

10 June 2017 at 8:50 am

Hi Lizzy

A Footprint map is quite enough.

You will find Smidge at the Iron Chef shop : 5 Mugdock Rd, Milngavie
Opening hours 9am to 175pm – closed on sunday

Enjoy your walk !

Jenny

14 June 2017 at 2:49 pm

Bit of a random question … taking a trip to Fort William in August. The rest of our group are “doing” Ben Nevis, meanwhile my son, 18yr old daughter and I are looking for a walk which my son can access in his all terrain wheelchair. I wondered about doin g alittle of the WHW in reverse? The wheelchair is very capable and can manage most terrains but obviously can’t negotiate steps, narrow bridges, very rocky paths etc. We only want to walk for an hour out and hour back so won’t get far along the route but don’t want to set off and hit an obstacle 10 mins in. Is there anyone that knows that part of the route well enough to know what its like?

Stephen

5 July 2017 at 10:33 am

Hi just to let the author and everyone else know the website address listed for the West Highland Way Sleeper at Bridge of Orchy is no longer valid.

The new website address is http://www.westhighlandwaysleeper.com
Telephone: 07778 746 600
Email: thewesthighlandwaysleeper@gmail.com

Andrew Bowden

5 July 2017 at 10:52 am

Thanks Stephen – I’ve updated the text above, so it’s now correct.

Bas B

1 August 2017 at 1:54 pm

Hi, With my work we are going to do the 1st 27 miles of the WHW.
Planning to start early morning around 6am and do it all in one day.

What kind of things can i expect and would i need to train for.
I’m not in the best of shapes but do walk on average an hour a day.
Downside is that there isn’t much time left as we are going at the end of this month.

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