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WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?


Postby ChristaJensen » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:16 am

Route description:

Date walked: 07/03/2011

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Hi all

I am right now planning my trip up the highlands on the WHW, but I have my doubts. I can get a package with accommodation and bag carrying at about 500 pounds (9 days). As I think this is rather pricey when I also have to spend a reasonable sum of money on train fare I ask you; can I arrange the trip (with 2-3 nights in a tent instead of hostel, and then the rest in hostels) cheaper myself?
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby murphy999 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:30 am

Definately. We have done it a few times ourselves and campsites are only maybe between £5 to £10 per night. They are easy enough to book and the main ones which you will pass that are big enough don't require booking.
It's easy to arrange bag transportation yourself and this should cost you about £40, just tell the driver your route and the bag will be waiting for you at the end of every day.
You will save yourself a ton of cash this way. Anything else just ask.
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby bootsandpaddles » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:41 am

You can certainly do it a lot cheaper than that! Have a look at www.west-highland-way.co.uk
I have not done the WHW myself but have learned from other people that if you want to stay in hostels or B and Bs you need to book quite a while in advance during busy periods. But if you are taking a tent you should be fine anyway.
Have a good trip.
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby Border Reiver » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:09 am

It depends a lot on your age, preparation and fitness. My fiancee and I (both over 55) did it over 8 days and "bought" a package that included accommodation and transportation of luggage. We did lots of training in preparation and it worked out just right for us, but it was expensive. We met some Dutch lads at Tyndrum who were carrying 70lb loads and they were fine as well, but we met 3 Scottish lads at Inversnaid who were carrying all their gear and trying to do the WHW in 4 days and their feet were in tatters, with the skin on the soles peeling off in chunks. We also came across a young lad from Edinburgh along Loch Lomondside and he was almost reduced to crawling. Him and his mates had suddenly decided to do the WHW and done it without any preparation and his feet had started to disintegrate. His "mates" had left him, so we helped him to Beinglas Campsite where he stayed the night and was going to catch a bus home. So, it's different for everybody, depending on fitness, finances, preparation and whether or not it's a pleasant stroll or a slog. Either way, it's a challenge for everybody and you'll make friends along the way. Good luck and enjoy it.
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby bootsandpaddles » Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:16 pm

What is with the Dutch and enormous loads??? :? When I was doing the Cape Wrath Trail a few years ago I met a Dutch guy in Ullapool who had the most collosal rucksack full of unecessary stuff (hard back books????). He had given up after the first couple of days because he thought it was too tough - well it would be carrying all that stuff, wouldn't it! :roll:
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby Border Reiver » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:56 pm

bootsandpaddles wrote:What is with the Dutch and enormous loads??? :? When I was doing the Cape Wrath Trail a few years ago I met a Dutch guy in Ullapool who had the most collosal rucksack full of unecessary stuff (hard back books????). He had given up after the first couple of days because he thought it was too tough - well it would be carrying all that stuff, wouldn't it! :roll:


Don't know. I spotted these enormous packs resting against a wall and I asked if I could feel the weight - I could hardly lift one never mind carry it for 90 odd miles. The Dutch lads were big as well mind, but seemed to be fine with the weight.
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby ChristaJensen » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:12 pm

Hi guys, thank you for the replies :-)

I think I will be doing the planning myself, since this is (for me) also a part of the joy in walking and going on adventures.
Cant wait to get out there and "get lost" in the wilderness. Went to Glen Coe, last weekend to take som pictures of the Three Sisters and what a sight! Perfect with the clouds on the summits.
I have a question off topic though. Very close to Ben Nevis there is a monument or statue, what statue/monument is it? Drove by it but dident have the opportunity to go see it.

Cheers
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby Border Reiver » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:36 pm

The monument you saw is likely to be the Commando Memorial near Spean Bridge, next to the A82 road. It's not all that near Ben Nevis ( 8 miles or so), but most photos of it do have Ben Nevis in the background. You'll find out all about it on the internet.
http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/speanbridge/speanbridge/
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby walk aboot » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:08 am

I did the West Highland Way over 5 days last year and total cost was £173, including mixed accommodation, baggage transfer and bus fare back to Glasgow, so I think you'll be able to plan 9 days easily for less than half the price you were quoted :D ...

Day 1. Balmaha House B&B £35 at Balmaha (they also have a much cheaper bunkhouse).
Day 2. Drovers Inn B&B at Inverarnan £40
Day 3. West Highland Way Sleeper at Bridge of Orchy (Bunkhouse) £17
Day 4. Blackwater Hostel at Kinlochleven £14
Day 5. B&B at Fort William £22

Baggage transfer £40 for the whole trip (regardless of number of days you take to do it).

Bus fare Fort William to Glasgow £10

The baggage transfer service is fantastic (you pre-book and give them a copy of your itinerary, but you can phone them if you change your plans mid-walk and they'll accommodate)...

http://www.travel-lite-uk.com/

You really do need to book your accommodation in advance, as it is a popular walk with limited accommodation available in some parts. Same goes for your return bus/train fare, to be able to get heavily discounted tickets.

Baggage transfer will also deliver your bag to camp sites. The camp site at Inverarnan has wig wams (wooden huts) and will provide you with a sleeping bag to use if you are not carrying your own camping kit.

Enjoy your walk, it's brilliant! :D
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby Klaasloopt » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:04 pm

On topic once more, the WHW package.
Guys with 'feet in tatters'. WHY don't they slow down??? Take 15 days, take a day's rest, shorten the walk, whatever. I always thought they should cure this addiction to suffering-to-become-a-hero, and set realistic ambitions. But then I discovered that pre-booked accommodation was the culprit. Very silly indeed. :?

Strictly speaking one needs no training, no preparation at all ONLY a good knowledge of ones own powers, including the ability to accept 'failure'. If buying a package keeps you from being flexible (stops, mileage), it will keep you from adapting the walk to your own abilities or mood. This will result in a not so nice walk. Pre-booked accommodation leads to ruined feet, a tent will give you freedom. I'd advise a tent+bagage transfer.

bootsandpaddles wrote:What is with the Dutch and enormous loads???


Let me clarify, being Dutch I'm fit to do so. :oops: :oops: :oops:
1) The dutch you meet are inexperienced, all inexperienced walkers carry big packs
2) Holland is flat, mountains are scary. Insecurity leads to big packs
3) Dutch are used to family camping in France, so they already have gear, the home-away-from-home kind
4) Hillwalking, sailing, climbing are activities that boost the ego by having the participant surmount perceived difficulties. Heroism is at stake, failure seems unacceptable. Controlfreaks (Dutch) leave nothing to chance, so carry big packs.
5) Dutch are big, they like Scotland and visit popular places = you meet many, and they are conspicuous.
6) You won't spot Dutchmen that carry lightweight packs near Meall Liath Coire Mhic Dhugaill that easy.
7) They are on longish holidays, so carry gear for all occassions.
8) :shock: big packs>blisters>big first aid kits>slower>more food, fuel and clothes> ... = Once big, packs get bigger. This happens to others than Dutch too. It cures itself.

And yes, I allways carry a book. A good paperback keeps you from ruining your feet.
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby bootsandpaddles » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:38 pm

Thanks, Klaasloopt! I had been losing a lot of sleep worrying about this and now it all makes perfect sense! :lol:
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby Border Reiver » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:41 pm

Klaasloopt - you speak a lot of common sense, but to argue that training isn't neccessary could be very misleading to some inexperienced walkers. Being a regular walker, I didn't need training, but My fiancee did as she hadn't done any serious walking before. We did regular 10+ mile walks for months before our WHW walk and that sorted out breaking-in her new boots and proper adjustment of her new rucksack. It also helped us decide how many days we would need to enjoy the walk. As I said, we are all different and will do the WHW for different reasons, some to test their endurance and some to have a leisurely walk in beautiful scenery ( didn't see too much scenery as it rained most of the time) and make new friends.
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby murphy999 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:09 pm

It's a tough walk especially if you're ambitious with time and distance. The first time we did it it was over 5 days and my feet were in tatters by the end.
Second time was supposed to be over the same time period but bailed out at Tyndrum.
Could have been doing with an extra day!
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby Klaasloopt » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:24 pm

Border Reiver wrote:Klaasloopt - you speak a lot of common sense, but to argue that training isn't neccessary could be very misleading to some inexperienced walkers. ... It also helped us decide how many days we would need to enjoy the walk.


You are right. The 'no training' bit is pure theory, assuming that walkers could slow down to 5 miles per day with a masage every mile. In reality, people have limited days or budget available, and especially with pre-booked accommodation one needs to decide beforehand how fast one will walk. This is, for the inexperienced, a terrible thing. Taking a tent will relieve you from making a decision you cannot make properly, and this relief you will feel every day.
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Re: WHW - Arranging my own trip or buying one?

Postby Border Reiver » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:03 pm

Taking a tent will relieve you from making a decision you cannot make properly, and this relief you will feel every day.


From May until September you will feel the relief every day that you can now put up your tent and pack it again quicker than the previous day, thus giving the midges less chance to eat you. :)
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