The West Highland Way

FEATURES:
Distance: 96 Miles / 154 Km Season: April to October
Start: Milngavie Min Group Size: 1
Finish: Fort William Difficulty Rating: 3
I am one very satisfied customer who would arrange another trekking holiday with WAS without reservations. Ross, I can’t think of anything else you could have done in such short notice in putting together my trip. Thanks!
— A. Schimpff, USA

Overview

The West Highland Way is arguably the most famous walking route in Scotland.  Steeped in history, this wonderful long distance path takes you north, from the bustling commuter town of Milngavie (pronounced mul-guy), to the Highland tourist hub of Fort William, nestled in the shadow of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis (1,344 metres).

From the rolling East Dunbartonshire countryside and the waterside paths of Loch Lomond, to the remote, wide open spaces of Rannoch Moor and the stunning mountain range of Glencoe; the variety of landscapes along the way makes this one of Scotland’s premier walking routes.

The route is very well signposted, with well-maintained paths and tracks throughout.  Accommodation, services and refreshments are also strategically located from start to finish, providing opportunities for a comfortable and relaxing end to a tough day’s walking.

A truly great trail winds into the essence of a place, so when assembling this list of the world’s great hikes we kept an eye on more than the footpath. We looked for walks that travel deeper into a location’s history and culture. Sure, there’s outdoor adventure on each of these 20 hikes, but the trails also tell a rich story. So here they are, the holy grails of trails across the world. - Doug Schnitzspahn
— National Geographic

The Route

STAGE 1: MILNGAVIE TO DRYMEN

DISTANCE: 12.5 MILES / 19.5 KM

HIGHEST POINT: 140 METRES

The walk starts at the obelisk in the Milngavie town centre and follows the Allander Water through patches of woodland, before heading into Mugdock Country Park and Craigallian Loch.          The rolling hills and countryside of the Campsie Fells soon come into view, with the mountains of the Highlands on the distant horizon.  The route towards Drymen follows a quaint, hedge lined country lane, before leaving the WHW down into the village of Drymen.                         

Additional info: There is a 0.5 mile walk from the WHW into Drymen.

STAGE 2: DRYMEN TO BALMAHA

DISTANCE: 7.5 MILES / 12KM

HIGHEST POINT: 315 METRES

Back on the WHW after a slight detour into Drymen, the route soon enters the Garadhban Forest, where there are two options for walkers; the first being an easier walk into Milton of Buchanan, where the road is followed into Balmaha, sitting on the banks of the loch.  The second option is a more strenuous, but ultimately much more rewarding route, as the climb up Conic Hill gives rise to fabulous views over Loch Lomond.

Additional info: 6 miles via Milton of Buchanan

STAGE 3: BALMAHA TO ROWARDENNAN

DISTANCE: 7.5 MILES / 12 KM

HIGHEST POINT: 90 METRES

From Balmaha, the route starts its 21 mile section along the east side of Loch Lomond, flirting with the water’s edge along much of the way.  This is a lovely, low level and relaxed stage as it meanders through pebble beaches, caravan & camping sites and beauty spots throughout.  Reaching Rowardennan marks the spot where many walkers choose to climb Scotland’s most southerly Munro, Ben Lomond.

 


STAGE 4: ROWARDENNAN TO INVERSNAID

DISTANCE: 7 MILES / 11.2 KM

HIGHEST POINT: 131 METRES

From Rowardennan, the path heads into thick woodland, where the way is quiet, peaceful and remote.  There are two options here; the easier being the wide forest track which follows the contours up and down the hill; or the more time consuming, narrow path which skirts over rocks and exposed tree roots long the banks of the loch.             

Additional Info: Alternative route along banks of loch

STAGE 5: INVERSNAID - INVERARNAN

DISTANCE: 6.5 MILES / 10.4 KM

HIGHEST POINT: 103 METRES

Similar to the low level section on the approach to Inversnaid, the rocky and uneven path continues along the loch, hugging the water’s edge amidst the fabulous and ancient oak forest.  The loch becomes noticeably narrower as the path approaches Inverarnan.  The forest eventually clears, exposing a more open stretch of countryside, which descends down the hill into the Beinglas Farm Campsite at Inverarnan.

STAGE 6: INVERARNAN TO CRIANLARICH

DISTANCE: 6 miles/10km

HIGHEST POINT: 250 METRES

Soon after leaving Inverarnan, the path runs alongside the picturesque, fast flowing River Falloch before a long stretch on an old military road.  The route here closely follows the west highland railway and eventually passes underneath the tracks as the path nears a coniferous forest.  The path splits here, with the option of continuing along the WHW towards Tyndrum or taking a half mile detour into Crianlarich.

Additional Info: 0.5mile walk into Crianlarich


STAGE 7: CRIANLARICH TO TYNDRUM

DISTANCE: 6 MILES / 10 KM

HIGHEST POINT: 335 metres

The route continues through the forest, with the path winding and undulating through the contours, albeit not too far from the main road.  The path crosses through the road and the River Fillin once or twice en-route to Tyndrum.  The views from the valley are wonderful, with an almost 360 degree, panoramic view of the surrounding mountains.  A well maintained path follows the River Cononish before reaching Tyndrum.

 

STAGE 8: TYNDRUM TO BRIDGE OF ORCHY

DISTANCE: 7 MILES / 11.2 KM

HIGHEST POINT: 330 METRES

From Tyndrum, the route closely follows the railway and the road, although continues to maintain its own unique qualities.  By this stage, you are firmly in the Scottish Highlands and the view will be spectacular from here, all the way to Fort William.  The path uses an old military road throughout this stage (and continues right across Rannoch Moor).  This is also the most exposed section of the route so far with little protection from the elements.

Additional Info: 2.3 miles further to Inveroran Hotel

STAGE 9: BRIDGE OF ORCHY TO KINGS HOUSE HOTEL

DISTANCE: 12 MILES / 19.3 KM

HIGHEST POINT: 450 METRES

One of the more challenging stages of the WHW, the path climbs out of Bridge of Orchy through a coniferous forest, eventually providing lovely views across to Loch Tulla.  The path then passes the Inveroran Hotel, before the long stretch across the edge of the wild and eerily remote Rannoch Moor, passed the Glencoe Ski Centre and into the fabulous mountain range of Glencoe and the isolated Kings House Hotel.

 


STAGE 10: KINGS HOUSE HOTEL TO KINLOCHLEVEN

DISTANCE: 9 MILES / 14.2 KM

HIGHEST POINT: 550 METRES

This stage of the West Highland Way includes the infamous Devil’s Staircase, the steepest climb of the route, reaching the highest point of the entire 96 mile journey (made easier by the zig zag path up the hill).  The views from the top are spectacular.  The track away from the staircase towards Kinlochleven signals an escape from the Glencoe Mountains and offers a long descent along excellent tracks all the way into the town.

STAGE 11: KINLOCHLEVEN TO FORT WILLIAM

DISTANCE: 15 MILES / 24.2 KM

HIGHEST POINT: 330 METRES

The climb out of Kinlochleven is a steep ascent through a beautiful little forest.  The view from the top provides fabulous view down to Loch Leven and the village.  The old military road then passes through a wide valley on the edge of Mamore mountain range, known as Lairigmor, before turning towards Glen Nevis through a variety of forested areas.  The path gradually descends as the way approaches Fort William, with a final stretch along the road into Fort William centre.

Additional Info: Finish at Gordon Square

Difficulty Grading-26.jpg

PRICES & ITINERARIES

Tour Code Walking Days/Night Ave. Miles Per Day Price per Person **
WHW1 6 16 £380 - £450
WHW2 6 16 £380 - £450
WHW3 7 13.7 £450 - £500
WHW4 8 12 £500 - £570
WHW5 9 10.70 £550 - £650

What is Included?

  • Pre-booked Accommodation
  • Full breakfast each morning
  • Door to Door Baggage Transfers
  • Daily Itineraries
  • Maps & Guidebooks
  • Info on transport and local services

What is not included?

  • Evening meals & packed lunches

  • Travel to Milngavie

  • Travel from Fort William

  • Travel Insurance

Additional Info:

**Prices are based on 2 people sharing a twin or double room. 

Please note an additional ‘single room supplement’ or 'single occupancy' charge of £20 per night will be incurred for solo walkers or for individuals who require single room accommodation.

The West Highland Way hosts a variety of accommodation types; from budget stays including hostels, bunkhouses and wigwams to standard and more expensive bed & breakfasts, guest houses and hotels (please note that some budget accommodation may not include breakfast).   Individual preferences can be stipulated in the Holiday Booking Form.

This package includes a one night stay in Fort William, however, additional nights at the end of the walk can be arranged to explore the highlands at your leisure, including a climb up Scotland's highest mountain, Ben Nevis. Walkers must organise their own return transport to Glasgow and beyond.   Details of public transport services are available on request.

If you would prefer to walk the West Highland Way using an alternative itinerary, please let us know using the Enquiry Form and we will do our utmost to tailor the holiday to your needs.

WHW1 ITINERARY (6 DAYS) DISTANCE
Day 1 Milngavie to Balmaha 20.50 miles / 32.80 km
Day 2 Balmaha to Inversnaid 14.50 miles / 23.20 km
Day 3 Inversnaid to Crianlarich 14.00 miles / 22.40 km
Day 4 Crianlarich to Inveroran 13.00 miles / 20.80 km
Day 5 Inveroran to Kinlochleven 19.00 miles / 30.40 km
Day 6 Kinlochleven to Fort William 15.00 miles / 24.00 km
WHW3 ITINERARY (7 DAYS) DISTANCE
Day 1 Milngavie to Drymen 12.50 miles / 20.00 km
Day 2 Drymen to Rowardennan 15.00 miles / 24.00 km
Day 3 Rowardennan to Inverarnan 13.50 miles / 21.60 km
Day 4 Inverarnan to Tyndrum 12.00 miles / 19.20 km
Day 5 Tyndrum to Inveroran 9.00 miles / 14.40 km
Day 6 Inveroran to Kinlochleven 19.00 miles / 30.40 km
Day 7 Kinlochleven to Fort William 15.00 miles / 24.00 km
WHW2 ITINERARY (6 DAYS) DISTANCE
Day 1 Milngavie to Drymen 12.50 miles / 20.00 km
Day 2 Drymen to Rowardennan 15.00 miles / 24.00 km
Day 3 Rowardennan to Crianlarich 19.50 miles / 31.20 km
Day 4 Crianlarich to Inveroran 15.00 miles / 24.00 km
Day 5 Inveroran to Kinlochleven 19.00 miles / 30.40 km
Day 6 Kinlochleven to Fort William 15.00 miles / 24.00 km
WHW4 ITINERARY (8 DAYS) DISTANCE
Day 1 Milngavie to Drymen 12.50 miles / 20.00 km
Day 2 Drymen to Rowardennan 15.00 miles / 24.00 km
Day 3 Rowardennan to Inverarnan 13.50 miles / 21.60 km
Day 4 Inverarnan to Tyndrum 12.00 miles / 19.20 km
Day 5 Tyndrum to Inveroran 9.00 miles / 14.40 km
Day 6 Inveroran to Kings House Hotel 10.00 miles / 16.10 km
Day 7 Kings House Hotel to Kinlochleven 9.00 miles / 14.40 km
Day 8 Kinlochleven to Fort William 15.00 miles / 24.00 km
WHW5 ITINERARY (9 DAYS) DISTANCE
Day 1 Milngavie to Drymen 12.50 miles / 20.00 km
Day 2 Drymen to Balmaha 8.00 miles / 12.80 km
Day 3 Balmaha to Rowardennan 7 miles / 11.20 km
Day 4 Rowardennan to Inverarnan 14.00 miles / 22.40 km
Day 5 Inverarnan to Tyndrum 12.00 miles / 19.20 km
Day 6 Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy 7 miles / 11.20 km
Day 7 Bridge of Orchy to Kings House Hotel 12.00 miles / 19.20 km
Day 8 Kings House Hotel to Kinlochleven 9.00 miles / 14.40 km
Day 9 Kinlochleven to Fort William 15.00 miles / 24.00 km

Extra Nights & Single Supplements

Many walkers decide to take rest days during the walking holiday, whether to give the feet a well-earned break, to do a little sight-seeing or perhaps a bit of ‘Munro-bagging’. If this option is of interest, please let us know on the booking form.

  • Additional nights can be arranged from £40 per person per night

  • For solo walkers (party of 1), a single supplement of £15 per night will be incurred. This is to cover the costs of hotels providing single occupancy for a double or twin room.

 

Accommodation

Each Hotel and Bed & Breakfast has been hand-picked to ensure you enjoy the most welcoming, comfortable and value-for-money experience on this WHW route. A warm welcome awaits all walkers and hikers, with hotel owners keen to hear stories of the day’s adventures. Evening meals and packed lunches for the onward journey are available throughout, however, please note that they are NOT included in the holiday package.

Baggage Transfer

Each walker will be allowed one bag, of up to 20 kg in weight (although this may vary between individual providers), which will be transferred by dedicated baggage transfer operators. Your bags will be uplifted and dropped off between each place of accommodation.

Navigation

The route is well signposted throughout, however, walkers must be vigilant at all times as there are paths and junctions along the way which deviate from the main route. As well as the Guidebook, your package includes detailed map of the full route. WAS highly recommend that at least one member of your party is a competent map and compass reader.

Transport & Travel

Although travel to Glasgow, and from Fort William, is not included in the holiday package, we are more than happy to provide details of public transport services.

 - To Glasgow – There are excellent air, train and bus services, allowing easy access from anywhere in the UK and overseas.

 - To Milngavie – Public transport, by train, bus or taxi, from Glasgow city centre

 - From Fort William – The main routes out of Fort William is by bus and train to Glasgow. The journey, whether by rail or coach, is an absolutely glorious trip with stunning scenery throughout. This really is the perfect way to end a memorable holiday.

Transport links will be detailed in your holiday package information pack.


Travel Insurance

WAS highly recommends that all walkers have suitable travel insurance.

Minimum Group Size

This route is suitable for solo walkers

Dogs

Please contact us or email (info@walkacrossscotland.co.uk) if you would like to take your dog with you on the West Highland Way.  Although limited, there are a growing number of hotels/B&B's who accommodate dogs .

Enjoying Scotland Responsibly

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code is a set of guidelines issued by The Scottish National Heritage Trust. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code provides detailed guidance on the responsibilities of those exercising access rights and of those managing land and water. By doing so, the Code provides a practical guide to helping everyone make informed decisions about what best to do in everyday situations.

Each holiday information pack will include a copy of the Outdoor Access Code Summary Leaflet, including details of where the full code and A-Z guide can be downloaded.