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[[Image:Buachaille etive mor in march.jpg|thumb|right|200 px| ''Buachaille Etive Mòr'' - fortunately you view it from the bottom when walking the Way.]]
 
[[Image:Buachaille etive mor in march.jpg|thumb|right|200 px| ''Buachaille Etive Mòr'' - fortunately you view it from the bottom when walking the Way.]]
  
Although it is of course possible to walk from Fort William to Milngavie, the general advice is to use the more gentle terrain in the south as a warmup to the remote and dramatic mountain areas further north, plus you will have the sun behind you.
+
Although it is of course possible to walk from Fort William (the northern end of the walk) to Milngavie in the south, it is generally advised to use the more gentle terrain in the south as a warmup to the remote and dramatic mountain areas further north, plus you will have the sun behind you.
 +
 
 +
Milngavie can be reached by train, bus, car or on foot, generally via the city of Glasgow.  
  
ScotRail [http://www.scotrail.co.uk] operate up to four trains an hour to Milngavie. Two trains per hour run from [[Edinburgh]] Waverley via [[Glasgow]] Queen Street (Low Level) and Airdrie on the North Clyde Line, while the other two travel from Motherwell via Glasgow Central (Low Level) and Blantyre on the Argyle Line (with one train an hour coming from Lanark). In the evenings and on Sundays a half-hourly service operates from Lanark via Bellshill, Motherwell and Glasgow Central (Low Level).
+
ScotRail [http://www.scotrail.co.uk] operate up to four trains an hour to Milngavie. Two trains per hour run from [[Edinburgh]] Waverley via [[Glasgow]] Queen Street (Low Level) and Airdrie on the North Clyde Line. The other two trains travel from Motherwell via Glasgow Central (Low Level) and Blantyre on the Argyle Line (with two trains an hour coming from Lanark).
  
In addition to the trains, regular bus services run from Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station to Milngavie. For those wanting to walk from the city centre, the Kelvin Walkway is the best route.
+
In addition to the trains, a number of regular bus services run from Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station to Milngavie. For those wanting to walk from Glasgow city centre, the Kelvin Walkway is the recommended route.
  
 
==Walk==
 
==Walk==
  
Generally, people take anything between 6 and 9 days to complete the W.H.W., with the position of overnight accommodation determining daily mileages.
+
Generally, people take anywhere between 5 and 9 days to complete the W.H.W., with the position of overnight accommodation determining daily mileages. Typically, the walk takes place in the following stages in order to provide logical stops for rest and accommodation. 
  
The opening stretch of the walk from Milngavie to Drymen is a loosener through soft and pleasant agricultural countryside. The first section from Drymen to Balmaha takes you through the managed pines of Garadhban Forest, where you catch your first glimpse of Loch Lomond. From the forest you emerge into the Highlands, an unfarmable landscape carved by glaciers. Feast on the view from the top of Conic Hill.
+
The opening stretch of the walk from Milngavie to Drymen eases walkers into the route through soft and pleasant agricultural countryside. This leg of the journey is approximately 12 miles. The next section of the route goes from Drymen to Rowardennan through the managed pines of Garadhban Forest, where you catch your first glimpse of Loch Lomond. From the forest you emerge into the Highlands, an unfarmable landscape carved by glaciers. On this leg of the route you can feast on the view from the top of Conic Hill near the town of Balmaha.
  
The stretch from Balmaha to Inverarnan takes in the entire length of Loch Lomond's remote and wooded eastern shore. In May and early June the steep bank is wall-to-wall bluebells. When the sun is out, small sandy beaches invite you to swim.
+
The stretch from Rowardennan to Inverarnan takes in the entire length of Loch Lomond's remote and wooded eastern shore. In May and early June the steep bank is wall-to-wall bluebells. When the sun is out, small sandy beaches invite you to swim in the famous loch.
  
Inverarnan to the Inveroran Hotel is possibly the easiest stretch of the walk. The path is wide and gently undulating. Peaks rise above you giving the first clue of the wild, mountainous scenery to come. From the Inveroran Hotel you walk up onto the unfeasibly beautiful [[Rannoch Moor]]. Lovers of lonely desolation will catch their breath. The path across the moor brings you out at the Kings House Hotel, a speck at the top of the astonishing [[Glencoe|Glen Coe]].
+
The route around and close to Inverarnan is a less strenuous stretch of the walk. The path is wide and gently undulating, providing a change from the more rugged terrain experienced on other legs of the W.H.W. Peaks rise above you giving the first clue of the wild, mountainous scenery to come. From Inveroran you walk up onto the unfeasibly beautiful [[Rannoch Moor]]. Lovers of lonely desolation will catch their breath. The path across the moor brings you out at the Kings House Hotel, a speck at the top of the astonishing [[Glencoe|Glen Coe]].
  
From the Kings House Hotel, the "Devil's Staircase" takes you up and over into Kinlochleven. It sounds worse than it is. From Kinlochleven a steady climb takes you up into Lairigmoor, a pristine glacial valley. An optional scramble half way up one of the peaks on the northern side reveals the full beauty of this place. From Lairigmor the path snakes North into managed woodland. A couple of tiring but short climbs and the path takes you over into Glen Nevis, from where the going into Fort William is easy.
+
From the Kings House Hotel, the "Devil's Staircase" takes you up and over into Kinlochleven. It sounds worse than it is. From Kinlochleven a steady climb taking you up into Lairigmoor, a pristine glacial valley. At this point walkers can consider an optional scramble half way up one of the peaks on the northern side reveals the full beauty of this place, however less challenging options are also available. From Lairigmor the path snakes North into managed woodland. This stage includes a couple of tiring but short climbs with the path taking you over into Glen Nevis, from where the walk into Fort William is considered to be an easy one.
  
The Fort William end of the walk connects with the [[Great Glen Way]], which runs a further 73 miles (118 kilometres) to [[Inverness]].
+
Fort William is considered as the end of the W.H.W., however, this area connects with the [[Great Glen Way]], which runs a further 73 miles (118 kilometres) to [[Inverness]] offering you the chance to extend your walk.  
  
Though it passes through mountainous country and fine scenery, the Way isn't a mountain walk. The path is generally very good and easy to navigate, and any given section of the Way would simply be a pleasant stroll. The difficulty comes with the endurance required to walk all day every day for a week.
+
Though it passes through mountainous country and fine scenery, the Way is not considered a mountain walk. The path is generally very good and easy to navigate, and any given section of the Way would simply be a pleasant stroll. The walk becomes more of a challenge when completed over a number of consecutive days, this is where endurance is required to complete the route.  
  
 
==Sleep==
 
==Sleep==
Line 34: Line 38:
 
[[File:130707 Kings House+ Buachaille.jpg|thumb|200px|The Kings House Hotel, with ''Buachaille Etive Mòr'' in the background.]]
 
[[File:130707 Kings House+ Buachaille.jpg|thumb|200px|The Kings House Hotel, with ''Buachaille Etive Mòr'' in the background.]]
  
There is a range of hotels, B&Bs, bunkhouses, simple shelters and campsites along the way. Expect to pay £20 - £40 per night, in the high season, for bed and breakfast at both hotels and B&B's. This option is available at:
+
There are a number of hotels, B&Bs, bunkhouses, simple shelters and campsites along the way. You will find that prices vary seasonally. A number of towns and villages along the way provide options for accommodation:
  
 
* Drymen (mile 12)
 
* Drymen (mile 12)
Line 50: Line 54:
 
* [[Fort William]] (mile 95).  
 
* [[Fort William]] (mile 95).  
  
Highlights include the Inversnaid Hotel on the eastern bank of Loch Lomond, where in June 2006 a single room with ensuite and breakfast was a remarkable £20, and the historic King's House Hotel in stunning Glen Coe, where B&B starts at around £30.
+
Serviced campsites (i.e. one providing water, showers, toilets etc) can be found at:
 
 
You can expect to pay around £10 - £20 for a bunkhouse bed with breakfast. These can be found at
 
 
 
* Balmaha (mile 18)
 
* Rowardennan Lodge (Youth Hostel) (mile 26)
 
* Inversnaid (mile 33)
 
* Inverarnan (Youth Hostel) (mile 40)
 
* Tyndrum (mile 52)
 
* Glencoe Village (10 miles by bus from the Kings House Hotel at mile 72)
 
* Kinlochleven (mile 80)
 
* Fort William (mile 95)
 
 
 
A backpacker's pitch at a serviced campsite (i.e. one providing water, showers, toilets etc) costs around £7. These can be found at:
 
  
 
* Gartness (mile 10)
 
* Gartness (mile 10)
Line 78: Line 69:
 
If this is your preferred option, a choice must be made between a shortish (11 mi) or longish (20 mi) first day. If you choose the latter, conic hill around mile 17, whilst a first taste of the scenic beauty to come, is a heartbreaker. Also note that a long second day to Ardlui or Inverarnan then follows. After that the sites are well spaced. The pick of the bunch is Beinglass Farm at Inverarnan. Basically it's an excellent bar/restaurant with a campsite and camping shop attached. The Millarochy site is also recommended for its lovely spot on Loch Lomond.
 
If this is your preferred option, a choice must be made between a shortish (11 mi) or longish (20 mi) first day. If you choose the latter, conic hill around mile 17, whilst a first taste of the scenic beauty to come, is a heartbreaker. Also note that a long second day to Ardlui or Inverarnan then follows. After that the sites are well spaced. The pick of the bunch is Beinglass Farm at Inverarnan. Basically it's an excellent bar/restaurant with a campsite and camping shop attached. The Millarochy site is also recommended for its lovely spot on Loch Lomond.
  
Walkers may wild camp for free in small numbers except in enclosed fields of crops or near farm animals but all traces of the camp must be removed (see [http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com www.outdooraccess-scotland.com]). Water presents the main difficulty with this option. Consuming water from the many streams (or "burns") along the way is said to be "high risk at low level" (unless there has been lots of rain) because of the cows and sheep on the hills, although boiling the water will provide a measure of protection. The safest option is to bring water from the nearest drinkable source. This means hauling a lot of weight but, if you pick the right spot, it can be worth it for the solitude. Designated wild campsites close to drinkable water can be found at Rowardennan Lodge, Inversnaid and Kings House Hotel.  Inexplicably, King's House Hotel is the only sleeping/dining option in that 20 mile stretch of the walk, and it reserves months in advance, causing walkers to have to resort to taxi rides to other towns, and a similar return the next morning to resume the walk; this is most inconvenient and should be fixed.  
+
Wild camping is not permitted along many areas of the route, so this option is not recommended for this particular walking route in Scotland.
  
There are however Microlodges that sleep 4 persons, new to Glencoe Ski centre, with W/C and shower facilities. There are also serviced hard standings for camper vans and a grassed tent camping area. The bar/cafe will remain open later than it used to. You will pass these 5 minutes prior to reaching Kingshouse if walking South to North.  
+
Microlodges that sleep 4 persons, new to Glencoe Ski centre, with W/C and shower facilities offer an alternative accommodation option. There are also serviced hard standings for camper vans and a grassed tent camping area. The bar/cafe will remain open later than it used to. You will pass these 5 minutes prior to reaching Kingshouse if walking South to North.  
  
 
Additionally, there are Microlodges sited at the By the Way hostel in Tyndrum and at Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven.
 
Additionally, there are Microlodges sited at the By the Way hostel in Tyndrum and at Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven.
  
Finally there are two bothies en route, Rowchoish and Doune, both on Loch Lomond. These are basically stone shelters without running water and so offer wild camping without the need for a tent.
+
Finally there are two bothies en route, Rowchoish and Doune, both on Loch Lomond. These are basically stone shelters without running water and so offer a wild camping experience without the need for a tent.
 +
 
 +
Walkers and visitors to the route may also consider arranging their walk with a tour provider who can book accommodations along the way to suit your budget. This can also aid in setting out the best route to follow to suit your walking ability.  
  
 
==Eat / Drink==  
 
==Eat / Drink==  
  
Shops on the route can be few and far between, but some are available (in Drymen,Balmaha,Crianlarich, Tyndrum, and Kinlochleven). Further north the shops disappear for long distances, however there are small public houses at reasonable intervals (Drymen,Balmaha,Rowardennan, Inverarnan, Crianlarich, Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy, King's House, Kinlochleven). These establishments usually serve a range of hot food in addition to bar drinks.
+
Shops on the route can be few and far between, however some are available (in Drymen, Balmaha, Inverarnan,Crianlarich, Tyndrum, and Kinlochleven). Further north the shops disappear for long distances, however there are small public houses at reasonable intervals (Drymen, Balmaha, Rowardennan, Inverarnan, Crianlarich, Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy, King's House, Kinlochleven). These establishments usually serve a range of hot food in addition to bar drinks.
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==
  
The West Highland Way is a very enjoyable and rewarding walk. The remote country, changeable weather, and great length also mean you could find yourself in difficulty. Appropriate emergency equipment should therefore be carried, and all the usual mountain walking rules still apply.
+
The West Highland Way is a very enjoyable and rewarding walk. The remote country, changeable weather, and great length also mean you could find yourself in difficulty. Appropriate emergency equipment should therefore be carried, and all the usual mountain walking rules still apply. It is also recommended that someone is aware that you are traveling as well as your planned route should you get into difficulty. Many walking companies provide this service.  
  
 
==Get out==
 
==Get out==
  
Assuming that you end your walk in Fort William, there are a number of places that you can go:
+
Assuming that you complete the West Highland Way in Fort William, there are a number of places that you can go:
  
 
*Climb [[Ben Nevis]] - many people who walk the West Highland Way combine their walk with a climb of Ben Nevis.
 
*Climb [[Ben Nevis]] - many people who walk the West Highland Way combine their walk with a climb of Ben Nevis.
 
*North to [[Loch Ness]] and [[Inverness]] - many people prefer to take the Citylink bus [http://www.citylink.co.uk], however some prefer to walk the [[Great Glen Way]].
 
*North to [[Loch Ness]] and [[Inverness]] - many people prefer to take the Citylink bus [http://www.citylink.co.uk], however some prefer to walk the [[Great Glen Way]].
*South - Citylink operate at least four buses a day to [[Glasgow]], and ScotRail [http://www.scotrail.co.uk] operate a number of trains to Glasgow plus an overnight service (the Caledonian Sleeper) to [[London]] via [[Edinburgh]] nightly except Saturday. Citylink also operate buses south to [[Oban]], for CalMac [http://www.calmac.co.uk] ferry services to the islands of [[Mull]], [[Isle of Lismore|Lismore]], Colonsay, [[Islay]] (summer only), Coll, [[Tiree]], [[Barra]] and [[South Uist]].
+
*South - Citylink operate at least four buses a day to [[Glasgow]], and ScotRail [http://www.scotrail.co.uk] operate a number of trains to Glasgow. The [http://www.sleeper.scot/ Caledonian Sleeper] links Fort William to [[London]] via [[Edinburgh]] nightly except Saturday. Citylink also operate buses south to [[Oban]], for CalMac [http://www.calmac.co.uk] ferry services to the islands of [[Mull]], [[Isle of Lismore|Lismore]], Colonsay, [[Islay]] (summer only), Coll, [[Tiree]] and [[Barra]].
*West - one can reach [[Mallaig]] (for ferries to [[Skye]] and the [[Small Isles]]) via the [[West Highland Railway]] or an infrequent bus operated by Shiel Buses [http://www.shielbuses.co.uk]. Alternatively, one can travel from Fort William to Skye on a Citylink bus, passing [[Dornie#See|Eilean Donan Castle]] and [[Kyle of Lochalsh]] en route. Some buses terminate at [[Uig]], where one can get a ferry to [[North Uist]] or [[Harris]].
+
*West - one can reach [[Mallaig]] (for ferries to [[Skye]], the [[Small Isles]] and [[South Uist]]) via the [[West Highland Railway]] or an infrequent bus operated by Shiel Buses [http://www.shielbuses.co.uk]. Alternatively, one can travel from Fort William to Skye on a Citylink bus, passing [[Dornie#See|Eilean Donan Castle]] and [[Kyle of Lochalsh]] en route. Some buses terminate at [[Uig]], where one can get a ferry to [[North Uist]] or [[Harris]].
  
 
{{IsPartOf|Scotland}}
 
{{IsPartOf|Scotland}}

Latest revision as of 15:19, 25 September 2018


This article is an itinerary.


The West Highland Way, or W.H.W (Scottish Gaelic: Slighe na Gàidhealtachd an Iar) [1] is a 95 mile (152km) long distance walk from Milngavie (outside Glasgow) to Fort William in the Highlands of Scotland. It is one of four officially-recognised "Long Distance Routes" in Scotland.

Get in[edit]

Buachaille Etive Mòr - fortunately you view it from the bottom when walking the Way.

Although it is of course possible to walk from Fort William (the northern end of the walk) to Milngavie in the south, it is generally advised to use the more gentle terrain in the south as a warmup to the remote and dramatic mountain areas further north, plus you will have the sun behind you.

Milngavie can be reached by train, bus, car or on foot, generally via the city of Glasgow.

ScotRail [2] operate up to four trains an hour to Milngavie. Two trains per hour run from Edinburgh Waverley via Glasgow Queen Street (Low Level) and Airdrie on the North Clyde Line. The other two trains travel from Motherwell via Glasgow Central (Low Level) and Blantyre on the Argyle Line (with two trains an hour coming from Lanark).

In addition to the trains, a number of regular bus services run from Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station to Milngavie. For those wanting to walk from Glasgow city centre, the Kelvin Walkway is the recommended route.

Walk[edit]

Generally, people take anywhere between 5 and 9 days to complete the W.H.W., with the position of overnight accommodation determining daily mileages. Typically, the walk takes place in the following stages in order to provide logical stops for rest and accommodation.

The opening stretch of the walk from Milngavie to Drymen eases walkers into the route through soft and pleasant agricultural countryside. This leg of the journey is approximately 12 miles. The next section of the route goes from Drymen to Rowardennan through the managed pines of Garadhban Forest, where you catch your first glimpse of Loch Lomond. From the forest you emerge into the Highlands, an unfarmable landscape carved by glaciers. On this leg of the route you can feast on the view from the top of Conic Hill near the town of Balmaha.

The stretch from Rowardennan to Inverarnan takes in the entire length of Loch Lomond's remote and wooded eastern shore. In May and early June the steep bank is wall-to-wall bluebells. When the sun is out, small sandy beaches invite you to swim in the famous loch.

The route around and close to Inverarnan is a less strenuous stretch of the walk. The path is wide and gently undulating, providing a change from the more rugged terrain experienced on other legs of the W.H.W. Peaks rise above you giving the first clue of the wild, mountainous scenery to come. From Inveroran you walk up onto the unfeasibly beautiful Rannoch Moor. Lovers of lonely desolation will catch their breath. The path across the moor brings you out at the Kings House Hotel, a speck at the top of the astonishing Glen Coe.

From the Kings House Hotel, the "Devil's Staircase" takes you up and over into Kinlochleven. It sounds worse than it is. From Kinlochleven a steady climb taking you up into Lairigmoor, a pristine glacial valley. At this point walkers can consider an optional scramble half way up one of the peaks on the northern side reveals the full beauty of this place, however less challenging options are also available. From Lairigmor the path snakes North into managed woodland. This stage includes a couple of tiring but short climbs with the path taking you over into Glen Nevis, from where the walk into Fort William is considered to be an easy one.

Fort William is considered as the end of the W.H.W., however, this area connects with the Great Glen Way, which runs a further 73 miles (118 kilometres) to Inverness offering you the chance to extend your walk.

Though it passes through mountainous country and fine scenery, the Way is not considered a mountain walk. The path is generally very good and easy to navigate, and any given section of the Way would simply be a pleasant stroll. The walk becomes more of a challenge when completed over a number of consecutive days, this is where endurance is required to complete the route.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The Kings House Hotel, with Buachaille Etive Mòr in the background.

There are a number of hotels, B&Bs, bunkhouses, simple shelters and campsites along the way. You will find that prices vary seasonally. A number of towns and villages along the way provide options for accommodation:

  • Drymen (mile 12)
  • Balmaha (mile 18)
  • Rowardennan (mile 25)
  • Inversnaid (mile 33)
  • Ardlui (mile 37)
  • Inverarnan (mile 40)
  • Crianlarich (mile 46)
  • Tyndrum (mile 52)
  • Bridge of Orchy (mile 59)
  • Inveroran (mile 62)
  • Kings House Hotel (mile 72)
  • Kinlochleven (mile 80)
  • Fort William (mile 95).

Serviced campsites (i.e. one providing water, showers, toilets etc) can be found at:

  • Gartness (mile 10)
  • Easter Drumquassle Farm (mile 11)
  • Millarochy (mile 20)
  • Cashel (mile 21)
  • Ardlui (mile 37)
  • Inverarnan (mile 40)
  • Auchtertyre (mile 49)
  • Tyndrum (mile 52)
  • Inveroran (mile 62)
  • Kinlochleven (mile 80).

If this is your preferred option, a choice must be made between a shortish (11 mi) or longish (20 mi) first day. If you choose the latter, conic hill around mile 17, whilst a first taste of the scenic beauty to come, is a heartbreaker. Also note that a long second day to Ardlui or Inverarnan then follows. After that the sites are well spaced. The pick of the bunch is Beinglass Farm at Inverarnan. Basically it's an excellent bar/restaurant with a campsite and camping shop attached. The Millarochy site is also recommended for its lovely spot on Loch Lomond.

Wild camping is not permitted along many areas of the route, so this option is not recommended for this particular walking route in Scotland.

Microlodges that sleep 4 persons, new to Glencoe Ski centre, with W/C and shower facilities offer an alternative accommodation option. There are also serviced hard standings for camper vans and a grassed tent camping area. The bar/cafe will remain open later than it used to. You will pass these 5 minutes prior to reaching Kingshouse if walking South to North.

Additionally, there are Microlodges sited at the By the Way hostel in Tyndrum and at Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven.

Finally there are two bothies en route, Rowchoish and Doune, both on Loch Lomond. These are basically stone shelters without running water and so offer a wild camping experience without the need for a tent.

Walkers and visitors to the route may also consider arranging their walk with a tour provider who can book accommodations along the way to suit your budget. This can also aid in setting out the best route to follow to suit your walking ability.

Eat / Drink[edit]

Shops on the route can be few and far between, however some are available (in Drymen, Balmaha, Inverarnan,Crianlarich, Tyndrum, and Kinlochleven). Further north the shops disappear for long distances, however there are small public houses at reasonable intervals (Drymen, Balmaha, Rowardennan, Inverarnan, Crianlarich, Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy, King's House, Kinlochleven). These establishments usually serve a range of hot food in addition to bar drinks.

Stay safe[edit]

The West Highland Way is a very enjoyable and rewarding walk. The remote country, changeable weather, and great length also mean you could find yourself in difficulty. Appropriate emergency equipment should therefore be carried, and all the usual mountain walking rules still apply. It is also recommended that someone is aware that you are traveling as well as your planned route should you get into difficulty. Many walking companies provide this service.

Get out[edit]

Assuming that you complete the West Highland Way in Fort William, there are a number of places that you can go:

This itinerary is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present for it to be of real use. It was last edited on 2018-09-25 and will be deleted if not modified for one year. Please plunge forward and rescue it!