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West Highland Way Itinerary (Suggested Routes & Tips)

West Highland Way Itinerary

One of Scotland’s Great Trails is the West Highland Way. It is a long-distance walking route that runs from Milngavie (a Glasgow suburb) to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands.

The West Highland Way offers something for every hiker and cyclist, no matter what their level of ability. The trail boasts a complete mixture of terrain and offers something to appeal to any outdoors enthusiast, whether walker, cyclist, or horserider.

The track passes through both public and private land, across several hill and moorland terrain, with views of fields, lakes, and woodlands, and is designed primarily for walkers and bikers. It is 95 miles long.

The city of Glasgow (21 miles) is the closest major center to the West Highland Way’s southern end, however, Fort William is just 25 miles from Beinn a’Chlaidheimh, at Munro’s Tables.

Naturescot has already proclaimed this a Great Trail and hikers have voted it their favorite Scottish trail several times.

Starting Your Journey

Plan your trip and discover the absolute best you can see along the West Highland Way with Mickledore. With a location map showing which places are within comfortable walking distance, their well-curated itineraries include suggested routes, so you may traverse the path in as little as 6 days or as long as 9 days depending on your fitness and comfort.

Day 1: From Milngavie to Drymen: 12 Miles (19km)

Your opening day is a perfect place to start because it’s flat, simple, and you’ll rack up miles quickly.

You walk across broad, open farmland for the majority of the day—lovely, isn’t it but the best is yet to come. Mugdock Castle, Mugdock Country Park, and a few tiny rivers and lochs are all along the way.

When you get to Drymen, you’ll be in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, where the real adventure begins.

Day 2: From Drymen to Rowardennan: 15 Miles 

You’ll be spending the entire day in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park today (lucky you).

Climbing up Conic Hill, the first top-notch viewpoint along the route—and the first time you get a proper glimpse of Loch Lomond—is the finest way to start the best portion of your day. As you descend from Conic Hill, you’ll come to Balmaha, which is really attractive and quaint.

You’ll walk through woods, past campsites, and past limitless views of the lake to your left on your way there. The terrain can be challenging, but the vistas are spectacular, especially when the weather is nice.

Day 3: Rowardennan to Inverarnan: 14 Miles 

For the first time on day 3, you are truly alone and rural. Yes, Loch Lomond is a very popular tourist destination and a very popular site to visit. However, because most tourists visit the southern coast, the northern section is considerably quieter and calmer.

Mountains are taller, landscapes are more desolate, and animals are more abundant. Slow down and keep your eyes peeled for rabbits, birds of prey, and even wild goats during the appropriate seasons.

Take a break for lunch at Inversdain Waterfall, one of the most popular stops along the West Highland Way.

Day 4: From Inveroran to Kingshouse: 10 Miles 

In adverse weather, Rannoch Moor is known for being cold, foggy, and inhospitable. You’ll cross little lochs, mini rivers, plenty of animals, and a few other people as you walk over Rannoch Moor.

On your walk into Kingshouse at the end of the day, you’re right in the heart of Glencoe, with mountains towering above and around you. Buachaille Etive Mor, one of my favorite mountains in Scotland, is one of the best and most beautiful.

Day 5: From Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: 9 Miles 

As you move closer to Buachaille Etive Mor and more into Glencoe Valley, the scenery changes. You begin ascending the Devil’s Staircase, the highest point on the route after you reach the foot of Buachaille Etive Mor. The views from the top are spectacular in every direction.

It’s all downhill from the Devil’s Staircase to Kinlochleven. As you descend, you can see Loch Leven (the loch that gives the town its name) and a slew of other mountains.

Kinlochleven feels like a gigantic metropolis in comparison to the other small communities you’ve passed through over the last few days. As a result, it’s a lovely location to dine, drink, and feel like you’ve returned to society.

Day 6: From Kinlochleven to Fort William: 15 Miles

It’s a big day, and you’re on your way to Fort William and the finish line. Your day begins with a tough climb out of Kinlochleven

You continue trekking through stunning valley clefts, surrounded by some of Scotland’s most iconic peaks, including vistas of Ben Nevis (the United Kingdom’s tallest mountain) to your right.

As you make your way to the largest settlement you’ve seen in a long time, you pass through woodland, rivers, and small pockets of civilization.

Travel Tips

Slow and steady

Be easy while covering the trail as per your fitness level and then giving up in the middle; instead, plan your daily mile walk while resting and relaxing.

Beware of the midges

It would be quite beneficial if you brought a repellent spray and a net to enjoy your hike, as midges can be found in large quantities from May through September.

Boots and socks to the rescue

In absence of a pair of quality boots meant for long trails and comfortable socks, you may develop blisters making it very difficult for you to finish your adventurous trail. Therefore don’t forget to carry blister tape in your medical aid kit and apply it immediately as you feel it.

Pack carefully

Even if the weather looks promising, remember to bring your waterproofs, plastic zip bags to keep your phone, power banks from getting wet if it rains, spare jackets, headwear, and gloves while packing your bag for the day. The weather is quite unpredictable and invariably changes. Also, don’t forget to bring sunblock and a hat.

Keep yourself hydrated

The whole trail covers open land and shady covers proving to be a challenge if you avoid drinking plenty of fluids that will save you from getting dehydrated and losing energy to walk further. 

Medical kit

Carry your own small medical kit including anti-septic ointments, band-aids, tablets for any allergy, headache, stomach infection, etc.

Energy snacks 

You may feel hunger pangs between your trail, instead of munching on unhealthy snacks opt for nuts and roasted seeds and healthy energy bars to keep you going. 

Favorable time to travel

Obviously, the West Highland Way is best hiked during the summer months if you want nice weather. Spring is preferable to summer since the weather is cooler, there are fewer midges, and there are fewer people. The months of April and May are ideal.

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