West Highland Way

Date walked: 26/05/2013

Time taken: 170 days

Distance: 150km

We're just back from a wonderful walk from Milngavie to Fort William. Since there are so many reports here on the walk, I'll limit myself to a few comments.

Backpacking vs. luggage service: My wife and I are in our early sixties, and were surprised to see that the only other backpackers were much younger...ok, much, much younger. I would urge anyone in moderately good condition to carry camping gear. The main benefit--aside from the obvious benefits of living in the nature through which you walk--is the flexibility you gain. We mixed inns and camping, and were able to construct an itinerary with more or less equal distances every day.

Gear: 1) We carried a very light 2-wall tent rather than a tarp and mesh bivy sacks out of respect for Scottish weather. But it was a bit of overkill: the tarp would have been fine. 2) We ate most of our meals in inns and pubs. So I wouldn't bring a stove the next time: on the few occasions when our wild camp wasn't within walking distance of a pub, we ate a cold meal and were very happy. 3) I was also very glad to carry a featherweight wind shirt: I walked the whole path in a lightweight merino crew and my wind shirt.

Inns and food: Don't miss the King's House, even if you have to replan your trip because they're full on the dates you want. It was by far the simplest room, but the atmosphere--and, surprisingly, the food--can't be beat. Friendly, warm, just what you'd expect from a place run for walkers and climbers. Bridge of Orchy Hotel is a close second--but it borders on the luxurious and, while that is a nice relief after a week's walk, it is a bit discordant! We were also pleased with the Winnock Hotel in Drymen: the public spaces and our room were charming (although the food in the restaurant tries to be a bit fancier than the kitchen can pull off). If you're carrying a tent, you should sleep in the gorgeous wild camp site about 1/2 mile past the Inversnaid Hotel. Alone among the inns we stayed in, they cater more to tour buses than to walkers--with food to match. Of the pubs and cafes where we had lunch, two stand out: the Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum, which actually has real food. And don't miss the Ben Nevis Inn at the end of the walk. This is surely one of the great pubs in the UK, with splendid views of the Glen Nevis countryside and really outstanding food. Kudos!

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Comments: 3


Activity: Scrambler
Pub: King's House
Mountain: Saddleback
Place: Kintail
Gear: Rab Windshirt
Member: Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club
Ideal day out: Mountain with great views

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Trips: 1
Distance: 150 km

Joined: Jun 11, 2013
Last visited: Dec 03, 2013
Total posts: 1 | Search posts