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.
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 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|
Click to find organised West Highland Way walking holiday packages and baggage transfer providers.
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.
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, and a permit-only area at Lochan Maoil Dhuinne.
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.
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.
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.
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.