walkhighlands

Read other users walk reports for the long distance trails - and add your own.

NB. This board is for reports on multi-day long distance routes - reports on simply long walks should be added to the standard boards.

The West Highland Way - Solo hike

The West Highland Way - Solo hike


Postby Venneberg » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:52 am

Route description: West Highland Way

Date walked: 16/07/2012

Time taken: 7

Distance: 152 km

30 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

The West Highland Way
16-22 July 2013

Hi all, back in 2013 I walked the West Highland Way and I would really like to share my experience here. Hope its useful to future walkers.

I had for some time wanted to do a long distance walk and finally got to do the West Highland Way. I choose that route because I found it was a good place to start; excellent way marking, easy accessible campsites along the way, but still challenging enough and has incredibly beautiful and changing landscape along the way.

I spend all in all 7 days on the route and walked up the Ben Nevis on day 8. Even though Ben Nevis is not part of the WHW, standing on top of that mountain was the perfect way to end the walk. Highly recommended!

Apparently the week I choose for my walk was one of the hottest most sunniest weeks in Scotland seen for while, so my biggest challenge was overcoming the burning heat. I have truly learned to appreciate cloudy weather and shadows; they were my allies on the route.

I learned a lot underway as it was my first real walk and also first time walking on my own. My intention with the walk was to carry everything myself, and so I did. I slept on campsites all the way, so carried my tent, plus food for all 7 days. I got away with only one blister, sore hips, legs and feet. As it should be :)

I really enjoyed the whole trip and met so many cool people along the way.

I used a 55L backpack with a weight on 16-17kg.

Here is an overview of the days and which campsites I slept at.
All the campsites took from 5-6 pounds for at night. I didn't book anything in advance except for my last night in Fort William; I wanted to give myself a treat at the end and book a real bed :)

ALSO: Make sure to bring a head mosquito net. Or the Midges are gonna eat you up!

Day 1
(in Milngavie I slept at Bankell Farm)
Milngavie to Drymen, 19 km
Goal: Drymen camping


How it all started
Image

The first day is not that spectacular when it comes to scenery.
But its a nice way just to get into the rhythm of walking.
Image

Image

View from Gartness Bridge
Image

Drymen campsite
Nice campsite with toilets and showers.
Image


Day 2
Drymen to Sallochy, 20 km
Goal: Sallochy campsite


After Drymen you walk through Garadhban Forrest and then it opens up to a big deforested area.
Image

Once you get to Conic Hill the scenery truly starts to evolve.
Image

On top of Conic Hill.
I sweat like a working horse and had to take a million breaks on the way up. Not in as good shape as I had hoped for xD But getting to the top was rewarding
Image

Conic Hill and first view of Loch Lomond
Image

A quick passing through in Balmaha
Image

From Balmaha all the way up to Sallochy campsite you walk next to the loch
Image

Sallochy campsite. Sleeping next to the loch
A very fine, very controlled campsite with toilets and fresh drinking water
Image


Day 3
Sallochy to Inverarnan, 27 km
Goal: Beinglas farm campsite


This whole day is spend walking north along Loch Lomond and you get spectacular views all along. The road gets really tricky with roots and rocks all around. Inversnaid gives a nice lunch break where you can buy some refreshments at the Hotel (best coca cola I´ve ever had)
Image

Image

Image

My first deer spotting!
Image

After walking along Loch Lomond for two days I was feeling all emotional saying goodbye to the beautiful loch and kept gazing back over my shoulder.
Image


Day 4
Inverarnan to Tyndrum, 19 km
Goal: Pine trees Leisure Park


I woke up to nothing less but a sheep invasion at the campsite ;)
Image

Image

This day was an exceptional hot one but I couldn't feel sorry for myself after seeing the sheep who suffered more than anyone, panting like dogs.
Image

Image

The road to Pine trees Leisure Park, funny enough, gets full of pine trees and gave me a very Scandinavian feeling.
Image

Pine trees Leisure Park turned out to be a rather luxurious campsite and I was showed to a small spot next to a tent quite bigger than mine. I got a lot of fun comments on my choice of minimalistic sleeping space ;D
Image


Day 5
Tyndrum to Glencoe Mountain, 28 km
Goal: Glencoe mountain camping


Image

Arriving at Brigde of Orchy. A tiny tiny clump of houses.
Image

Bridge of Orchy. Good place for a lunch break.
Image

Image

Image

Day 5 turned out to be my most challenging day. I walked all in all 28 km and a lot of the way was through this wide open, insanely beautiful landscape. Many times I thought I wouldn't reach my destination for the day because I was burned out, and the setting sun was burning my legs red without me noticing. Luckily I ran into a group of three young guys whom I had met before along the way. They suffered almost as much as me and we finished the rest of the day together. When we arrived at Glencoe Mountain Resort we were completely broken, sunburned, and eaten up by midges, felt like returning soldiers from a battlefield.
I never slept so well!
Image


Day 6
Glencoe Mountain to Kinlochleven, 16 km
Goal: Blackwater campsite


Looking back at Glencoe Mountain Resort, a very desolate camping site but also insanely magical. Its a great feeling waking up to mountains all around you. Also, they have showers, toilets and a shop.
Image

I woke up to this.
Image

Image

Image

Here I am looking back down from The Devils Staircase. It doesn't look like much but its actually quite a climb. I took my lunch break at the top. Apparently it got its name because a lot of people died here in the past.
Image

At the top of The Devils Staircase.
Image

That tiny clump of houses was my destination, so close and yet so far away. It was great walking through this landscape of valleys.
Image

Blackwater Campsite, very cozy and decent place.
Image


Day 7
Kinlochleven to Fort William, 23 km
Goal: Ben Nevis Inn and Bunkhouse


Guess what; I woke up to clouds! My first day with cloudy weather and wow was I happy to see clouds!
Image

Before leaving Blackwater Campsite I got a picture taken with two other groups of walkers that I had met on and off along the way. Its a very magical way to meet people, often you get to talk with people you wouldn't normally approach and all of sudden we all have something in common: The walk.
Image

Image

The last day of walking presented walking through this very long and historical valley. Almost tempted to say this was my favorite part of the walk because it really felt like walking in the past.
Image

This picture cant in any way justify what it felt like seeing Ben Nevis for the first time.
Image

Finally, Fort Williams reveals itself.
I went straight to Ben Nevis Inn and Bunkhouse and slept for the night. Its a very recommended place to stay, you share a big dorm but its super cozy and rural. On top is a very beautiful restaurant and I was lucky that they had a live band playing traditional music while I was eating my dinner.
Image


Day 8
Walking up Ben Nevis!


The day after, Colin and Daniel (the two Englishmen I met along the way) came and picked me up and we walked up Ben Nevis. It took about 3 hours each way and is highly recommended.
Here pictures from the top:
Image

Image

After Ben Nevis I thought it was time to go to town and get my proper "finished the west highland way picture".
The end!
Image
Last edited by Venneberg on Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:53 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Venneberg
Wanderer
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 31, 2013

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby Sianmg » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:28 pm

I enjoyed reading your report and helpful to see the stages you split the walk into and where you camped as I would like to do the WHW this year. Unfortunately the photos aren't showing up, maybe that's just me. I will have another look later.
Sianmg
 
Posts: 7
Grahams:1   
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Feb 10, 2013

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby Venneberg » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:36 pm

Hey thanks a lot :)
And I see the thing with the pictures, they only show up on my own computer apparently, will look into it!

EDIT: all pictures should be working now :) thanks for letting me know.
Venneberg
Wanderer
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 31, 2013

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby Sianmg » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:03 pm

It's even better now I can see the pictures :) How did you feel walking on your own? I think I would be nervous tackling a long walk by myself. You did well carrying all your kit and keeping the weight to a manageable limit. Your tent looks very light weight - what make is it?
Sianmg
 
Posts: 7
Grahams:1   
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Feb 10, 2013

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby Venneberg » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:37 pm

Sianmg wrote:It's even better now I can see the pictures :) How did you feel walking on your own? I think I would be nervous tackling a long walk by myself. You did well carrying all your kit and keeping the weight to a manageable limit. Your tent looks very light weight - what make is it?


Even though I went of on my own I actually didn't feel that alone on the walk. I quickly got in talk with people at the campsites, some I met again, some I never saw again and some I kept bumping into until the last day. I'm a big fan of solitude so I didn't mind spending a lot of time walking on my own, but because the The West Highland Way is a famous walk I think its impossible to walk a whole day without meeting someone. So you get a chance for solitude but at the same time feeling like a part of a bigger team :)
Yea its really worth keeping the weight of your backpack limited, I definitely would never go above 17kg. The tent was a solo tent I borrowed from a friend and honestly I don't remember the brand. It was almost a bit too primitive with only one layer, so anything that touched the tent sides would be soaked in the morning. Which was a bit tricky because it was so small so it was almost impossible not to touch the sides ;D
Would definitely recommend a tent with two layers but think most tents have that today.
Venneberg
Wanderer
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 31, 2013

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:52 pm

Having done the WHW over 5 miserable days in May 2013 (gale force winds with either rain, sleat, snow or hale for the entire journey bar the first ten miles and the last five) it was good to see your pictures showing how good it can look.

Walking solo is the way for me and if you meet people on the journey you want to walk with that's fine as well.

Looks like you had a good time and you've got me thinking I maybe need to head back and hope for better weather.
User avatar
Gordie12
Walker
 
Posts: 1636
Munros:112   Corbetts:62
Grahams:17   Donalds:21
Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:18
Wainwrights:17   
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby andrewl7642 » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:19 pm

Fantastic report, couldn't have written it better myself!! :lol:
The WHW is great, especially the stretch along Loch Lomond, it's a beautiful place to camp or to simply just chill out.
So what's next for you? Have you thought about walking the Great Glen Way or The East Highland Way?
The Cowal Way is next for me, not long now.
User avatar
andrewl7642
Backpacker
 
Posts: 180
Munros:16   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Mar 17, 2013
Location: Aberdeen

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby onsen » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:46 pm

Thanks for sharing your highland walk, venneberg.....weather was good & the scenery beautiful.
User avatar
onsen
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Oct 10, 2012
Location: The Great Southern Land, Australia

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby ptc* » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:31 pm

Magic. Makes me want to go and do it again.
User avatar
ptc*
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Feb 18, 2010

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby Venneberg » Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:57 am

Gordie12 wrote:Having done the WHW over 5 miserable days in May 2013 (gale force winds with either rain, sleat, snow or hale for the entire journey bar the first ten miles and the last five) it was good to see your pictures showing how good it can look.

Walking solo is the way for me and if you meet people on the journey you want to walk with that's fine as well.

Looks like you had a good time and you've got me thinking I maybe need to head back and hope for better weather.


Yes I would definitely say go do it again in warmer weather. 5 days also sounds quite hardcore. Well done!
Venneberg
Wanderer
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 31, 2013

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby Venneberg » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:00 am

andrewl7642 wrote:Fantastic report, couldn't have written it better myself!! :lol:
The WHW is great, especially the stretch along Loch Lomond, it's a beautiful place to camp or to simply just chill out.
So what's next for you? Have you thought about walking the Great Glen Way or The East Highland Way?
The Cowal Way is next for me, not long now.


Thanks, glad you like it :)
And yes the Loch Lomond stretch is absolutely great. I don't know what is next for me yet, at the moment I'm studying so will have to wait a years time. Actually I'm thinking maybe to do a hike outside of Europe next time.
I have heard about The Great Glen Way, its the one that continues up north from Fort William? Actually in one crazy moment I thought about continuing after WHW, but it was time for me to go home. Have you walked it?
Venneberg
Wanderer
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 31, 2013

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:45 pm

Hi Venneberg

This might help if you are thinking about the Great Glen Way.

Some peeps don't like it as the views to Loch Ness can be quite restricted due to the tree cover - personally, I loved it but after the crap weather on the WHW anything would have been an improvement.
User avatar
Gordie12
Walker
 
Posts: 1636
Munros:112   Corbetts:62
Grahams:17   Donalds:21
Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:18
Wainwrights:17   
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby andrewl7642 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:32 pm

Hi Venneberg

Yes I've walked the Great Glen Way, from Fort William up to Inverness, I didn't do it all in a oner though. My report is on my walking blog somewhere. It's a good walk I enjoyed it, although there are some sections which do get a tad boring after a while, such as walking along the canal side for miles. Some nice sections too though, my favourite section being the walk along Loch Oich after passing through South Laggan and the last stretch from Drumnadrochit to Inverness. Definetely worth a trek if you ever find the time.
User avatar
andrewl7642
Backpacker
 
Posts: 180
Munros:16   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Mar 17, 2013
Location: Aberdeen

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:12 pm

Oops, meant to attach this in my last post.

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=31859
User avatar
Gordie12
Walker
 
Posts: 1636
Munros:112   Corbetts:62
Grahams:17   Donalds:21
Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:18
Wainwrights:17   
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

Re: The West Highland Way - Solo hike

Postby Allan_ » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:01 pm

Great pictures. I'm doin the WHW on Friday over 5 days. Can't wait but a few people have said 5 days in quite tough so getting nervous now lol
Allan_
Walker
 
Posts: 11
Munros:19   Corbetts:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Mar 31, 2015

30 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Next



Return to Long Distance routes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information on the forum and in walk reports is provided by individual users. It is each walker's responsibility to check information and navigate using a map and compass.