walkhighlands

Scotland's Great Trails

The West Highland Way

The West Highland Way was Scotland's first long distance route and remains by far the most popular. Stretching for 151km from Milngavie on the edge of Glasgow to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, the route offers a fabulous introduction to the Scottish Highlands. Those wanting to add an extra days walking could even begin in the heart of Glasgow, reaching Milngavie by following the Kelvin Walkway.

It offers tremendous variety, beginning in the pastoral landscapes beneath the Campsies, past the serene beauty of Loch Lomond, and on into increasingly rugged and majestic Highlands. It then crosses the vast, awe-inspiring expanse of Rannoch Moor, with a glimpse down Glencoe, before crossing the hills to lovely Loch Leven. The route finally reaches Fort William via beautiful Glen Nevis. The very keenest could continue from the town by walking the Great Glen Way, or the unofficial East Highland Way.

THE CHALLENGE

Well-waymarked throughout and avoiding the high tops, the route is within the capabilities of most walkers. It still has enough challenge and ascents to inspire the imagination; one of the toughest parts unexpectedly is the walk up the east side of Loch Lomond, whilst other sections are very exposed.

Stage descriptions Length Time
Stage 1: Milngavie to Drymen 19km 5 - 6 hours
Stage 2: Drymen to Rowardennan 23km 6 - 7 hours
Stage 3: Rowardennan to Inverarnan 22km 6 - 7 hours
Stage 4: Inverarnan to Tyndrum 19km 5 - 6 hours
Stage 5: Tyndrum to Inveroran 14km 4 - 5 hours
Stage 6: Inveroran to Kings House 15.5km 4 - 5 hours
Stage 7: Kings House to Kinlochleven 14km 4 - 5 hours
Stage 8: Kinlochleven to Fort William 24.5km 6 - 7 hours

BAGGAGE TRANSFERS AND WALKING PACKAGES

Click to find organised West Highland Way walking holiday packages and baggage transfer providers.

ROUTE PHOTO GALLERY

Click to open our photo gallery.

ACCOMMODATION AND SERVICES ALONG THE WAY

Being so popular, the West Highland Way offers an excellent range of accommodation for walkers throughout its length.

Milngavie does offer a hostel and plenty of other facilities if needed.

Drymen offers a choice of both bed and breakfast and hotels, plus a campsite at Easter Drumquhassle Farm. Further on is a wild-camping area in Garadhban Forest.

Balmaha is an alternative break of stage and also offers hotel, guest house and bunkhouse accommodation. Please note that there is a wild camping ban on this section of the walk during the summer months, taking in all of the east side of Loch Lomond until beyond Rowardennan, apart from a small informal site which has been provided at Sallochy.

There is a bed and breakfast at Sallochy on the route, the owners of which will pick up and drop off walkers who wish to break the journey at Rowardennan.

Rowardennan is quite an isolated location and offers only a hotel and SYHA hostel. The wild camping ban extends until shortly beyond Rowardennan.

Inversnaid is an alternative break of stage, with the only facility being the hotel there. Again, there is an area set aside for wild campers.

Inverarnan is again a tiny place, but it does offer a campsite with wigwams as well as an inn.

Crianlarich is off route but can be visited by a detour as an alternative stage break. It has a hotel, B&B and a SYHA hostel.

Tyndrum is the next village. This offers hotel, B&B and a chance to buy supplies, as well as a hostel and campsite.

Bridge of Orchy is a tiny hamlet. Again there is a hotel here as well as a hostel, and a wild camping area on the opposite side of the bridge.

Inveroran is simply a old coaching inn that still offers accommodation. Likewise the Kingshouse is another old inn, in a spectacular location. There is a wild camping area set aside near both these places.

Kinlochleven is a small town and has an excellent range of accommodation including hotels - of which the Macdonald also has camping cabins, bed and breakfast, hostels and campsite.

Finally, Fort William is a town with all facilities - a wide choice of hotels, bed and breakfast and guest houses and hostels The nearest campsite is in Glen Nevis (near the end of the Way).

BOOKS AND MAPS

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Milngavie and Fort William and both accessible by both rail and bus from Glasgow.

Citylink run a bus service between Glasgow and Fort William (and on to Inverness / Skye) that can be used to reachthe stages along the way, including Inverarnan, Crianlarich, Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy and Kingshouse.

Kinlochleven and Drymen are served by local buses. There is no bus service currently to Rowardennan.

Timetables for all the routes can be found on Traveline Scotland.

Users' walk reports for the West Highland Way

There are 1244 Walkhighlanders who have completed the West Highland Way, including you. Our users have contributed 60 public walk reports for the route. These are ordered below with the most popular ones first.

Title AuthorDate walked Likes
  31/03/2012  17
  16/07/2012  12
  12/06/2011  9
  14/04/2012  8
  01/08/2012  8
  02/05/2012  8
  24/09/2012  6
  02/04/2011  5
  23/03/2013  5
  20/05/2012  5
  02/06/2012  4
  05/04/2015  3
  23/08/2014  3
  01/05/2009  3
  12/04/2013  3
  27/02/2013  3
  20/05/2010  3
  26/09/2010  3
  22/04/2011  3
  28/05/2015  2
  30/08/2014  2
  04/05/2013  2
  01/09/2012  2
  02/09/2013  1
  18/05/2013  1
  17/04/2011  1
  26/05/2013  1
  24/06/2013  1
  18/06/2013  1
  16/10/2012  1
  11/06/2010  1
  16/02/2009  1
  28/04/2011  1
  06/05/2011  1
  27/06/2015  0
  20/10/2014  0
  23/10/2014  0
  24/08/2014  0
  12/05/2013  0
  06/07/2014  0
  14/07/2013  0
  06/07/2013  0
  18/06/2013  0
  20/06/2013  0
  15/07/2013  0
  25/09/2012  0
  05/08/2012  0
  29/03/1991  0
  28/05/2012  0
  26/04/2010  0
  19/05/2012  0
  23/02/2012  0
  03/09/2011  0
  06/07/2010  0
  25/04/2009  0
  14/05/2011  0
  30/04/2011  0
  03/05/2011  0
  03/09/2010  0
  26/03/2010  0

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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.