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3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 3 nights in B&Bs
  • 4 nights in hotels
Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£1085GBP

Overview

Trip Code: WHW

West Highland Way Trip highlights


  • A Walk to the Foot of Ben Nevis
  • Follow the Shores of Loch Lomond, Britain’s Largest Lake
  • Rannoch Moor and Scotland’s Most Remote Licensed Inn
  • Walking Through Glencoe and Glen Nevis

If you wish to walk the full West Highland Way from Milngavie please refer to our 10 Day itinerary. This tour follows most of the 92-mile national long distance trail of the same name through the southwestern part of the Scottish Highlands. It is claimed by some to be the most popular long distance trail in the British Isles. Starting at the village of Drymen just outside Glasgow, it includes Loch Lomond, valley routes through the mountains round Crianlarich and open heather moorland across the Rannoch Moor wilderness area. It passes close to somber Glencoe, famed for its massacre of the MacDonald Clan, and finishes at Fort William near the foot of Ben Nevis (Britain's highest peak, which can be readily ascended by experienced clients if they choose to spend an extra day). The West Highland Way is a well-established and popular route, containing some landscapes of great beauty. The altitude range is from sea level to 1850 ft (4408 ft if Ben Nevis is climbed).

Countries:

Scotland

Starting Point:

Drymen

Finishing Point:

Fort William


Make your own way to Drymen, a small town north of Glasgow that is a gateway to the Highlands. If you arrive early there is a teashop with home-made cakes across the green and the small Clachan Inn where Rob Roy used to come down for a swift pint whilst collecting "Blackmail." Accommodation: Kip in the Kirk (a converted 1819 church hall) is our overnight stop, where the host will make you more than welcome and has become a favourite with our hikers. *If you wish to walk from the official start of the West Highland Way in Milngavie, please choose our 10-Day itinerary (WH1).

Meals:  Nil

Experience the gentle scenery on the bonny banks of Loch Lomond on today's hike. Passing highland cattle in the fields, the route winds up through forest and across the moors up to Conic Hill. From the summit, enjoy great views over the loch and across the islands there. This marks the boundary of the Highland fault and officially the start of the Highlands proper. The way drops down to Balmaha by the water and then winds its way towards Rowardennan along the lochshore with tree-framed views. Rowardennan marks the road head and a convenient place to stay at our pleasant hotel. An extra day here would be advised if you wanted to make an ascent of Ben Lomond. Accommodation: We stay overnight at Rowardennan Hotel with bar. The inn is practically on the shore of Loch Lomond and beautiful scenery surrounds it including the mass of Ben Lomond. All rooms have ensuite facilities. The restaurant provides carefully selected, seasonal dishes ensuring that you receive a true taste of Scotland.

Meals:  B

Today you walk in the shadow of Ben Lomond for much of the time, following the Loch edge path. There are no big ascents to make, but a few short steep ups and downs. You can pass by Rob Roy’s prison and cave, where he is said to have held up in times of difficulty and held prisoners at his pleasure. You could perhaps have a drink at the hotel at Inversnaid before walking on to Ardleish. Here you can raise a buoy on a pole to attract the attention of the ferryman who will collect you and transfer you to our hotel on the western side of the loch (approx £5 per person, not included). If you fancy the longer option, or if the weather is too rough, you need to continue walking to Beinglas farm or the Inverarnan Drover’s inn to call for a taxi to transfer you to the hotel in Ardlui (not included). Accommodation: Tonight we stay at The Ardlui Hotel with comfortable rooms on the western side of Loch Lomond. Rooms have TV and tea tray etc. and there are two restaurants, a lounge and public bars.

Meals:  B

You have two choices for today as it is a long way from here to Loch Tulla (Inveroran). If you are a strong walker then it is fine, but otherwise we advise you to as us to book the taxi (included - needs to be requested at the time of booking) to take you to Crianlarich or further. This will save you at least 8 miles and will reduce the day to a more manageable length. Crianlarich lies under another big peak; Ben Mor. The largely valley route goes via the ancient priory of St. Fillan associated with both Robert The Bruce and Rob Roy, through the moraines of Dalrigh, where The Bruce was defeated in 1306. You then walk via the old mining settlement of Tyndrum where there is a gold and silver mine. The trail continues up past the peaks of Ben Lui and Ben Dorain to the Bridge of Orchy for a quick dram before continuing on to Loch Tulla. This is a beautifully situated lake surrounded by Scots pines - a remnant of the ancient Caledonian forest. Accommodation: Stay at the Inveroran Hotel, which is 16.5 miles from Crianlarich, or at the upgraded accommodation The Bridge of Orchy Hotel, approx 14 miles from Crianlarich. Both hotels are set in beautiful surroundings. *Note: you can also choose our 10-day version of the West Highland Way (WH1) on which we have split today's walk over two days.

Meals:  B

Head up on the old military road across the wilds and the heather-clad wastes of Rannoch Moor, past Ba Bridge, claimed to be the remotest part of the route. The views become ever more expansive with views into great corries once filled with glaciers. Often you can see deer and a great interplay between land, lake, mountain and sky. The military road winds down to the old drovers' inn near the Gateway to Glencoe. This is in the shadow of perhaps the most impressive looking mountain of the tour: Buachaille Etive Mor (the Shepherd of Etive Mor). Accommodation: We normally overnight at the Kingshouse Hotel. If we cannot confirm the rooms, we can also try to book the bunkhouse. Kingshouse only accepts 2 night stays if your booking falls on a Friday/Saturday. The alternative is to stay at the Glencoe Mountain resort on a room only-accommodation in the form of Microlodges (1 x double bed and 2 x single beds). There are shower and toilet blocks and a café open from 9am to 8.30pm (hot food until 7.30pm). You need to provide your own sleeping bag, liner, towel.

Meals:  B

From the Kingshouse Hotel the way passes beside Buchaille Etive Mor and then proceeds up the Devil's staircase to 1850 ft. It as bad as it seems and a well graded section of the West Highland Way. You can try to imagine the army bringing artillery pieces up here. This offers spectacular views back from whence you came. Then it is a long descent to sea level at the head of Loch Leven with views of the Blackwater damn, Loch Leven and The Pap of Glencoe. Kinlochleven was a place for hydroelectric power smelting bauxite for aluminium. Today, one of the old smelters is turned into a climbing centre offering ice climbing. More sedentary activity can be had by walking to the Grey Mares Tail waterfall on the edge of town. Accommodation: In Kinlochleven, The Highland Getaway has become popular with our walkers and a warm welcome awaits.

Meals:  B

A steep climb up under the steep slopes of the Mamore hills at the beginning of the day follows old Victorian hunting tracks. Then you are back on the old military road and over the Lairigmor Pass. Hike through dense coniferous forest to Glen Nevis past the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak (4408ft). The West Highland Way continues into Fort William on the side of Loch Linnhe, where it ends right in the centre and close to handy pubs for a deserved celebration. Fort William is a Mecca for climbers, mountain bikers and train enthusiasts. The town was built as a garrison against the Jacobite threat. A few remains of the fort are to be seen by the lochside. Accommodation: We use many different B&Bs and guesthouses in Fort William as it is a busy town.

Meals:  B

Your West Highland Way holiday ends after breakfast, but why not ask our team to arrange an extra night to climb Ben Nevis and take the evening sleeper train out of Fort William?

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Other West Highland Way Holiday

Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 3 nights B&B accommodation & 4 nights hotel accommodation on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available.
  • *Important note: Kingshouse Hotel (day 5) only accepts 2 night stays if your booking falls on a Saturday. The alternative is to stay at the Glencoe Mountain resort on a room-only accommodation in the form of Microlodges (1 x double bed and 2 x single beds). There are shower and toilet blocks and a café open from 9am to 8.30pm (hot food until 7.30pm). The resort can offer rental of a sleeping bag plus liner for £5pp, however there is no pre-booking service and they are hired on arrival.
  • Once piece of luggage per person transferred from Inn to Inn, not exceeding 20kg
  • Transfer from Ardlui/Inveraran to Crianlarich at start of Day 4. Needs to be required at the time of booking.
  • Information pack including route notes & maps
  • Emergency hotline
  • GPX files

  • Lunch, Dinner and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Guide - this is a self guided holiday
  • Excess Luggage

Accommodation


Suitability

moderate

3

The walk is graded as moderate.The terrain is hilly with some steep slopes, boggy areas and narrow trails in places with tree roots. There are also gravel type roads and there is some tarmac walking. Daily distances vary from 9 miles / 14 km to 15 miles / 24 km.


Departure dates

Daily from 21 Mar to 14 Oct

Notes

H
High Season
DN1
10-day version available, see code WH1.

Priceper person from

£1085GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement 2024GBP£470
  • Solo Traveller Supplement 2024GBP£490
  • Single Supplement 2025GBP£520
  • Solo Traveller Supplement 2025GBP£540
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

This is the condensed version of the West Highland Way. We have left out the first, rather pedestrian day, from Milngavie so that the walk fits into a week. Besides, we have reduced in length the walking on Day 4 by an included taxi transfer. If you're a stronger walker, you can opt to cancel this and walk the full length on Day 4. Please have a look at our West Highland Way - 10 Days trip (code WH1) for the full trail starting in Milngavie.

It depends if there has been a lot of recent rain. Generally, the trails that you follow on the West Highland Way are on very good established paths and old military roads, sometimes with a gravel surface. The trail beside Loch Lomond is very rooty, but you can also take a trail parallel to that, which is more established.

The Devil's Staircase is not at all difficult. It is a switchbacking part of the old military road and was designed with dragging cannons over the pass in mind and is not so hard. Spare a thought for the job that the red coats had dragging the guns over the pass in the 1700s!

You will be pleased know that it is only the female midges which bite, but not so pleased to realize just how many of them there are. Actually, midges are not usually a problem if you keep moving and they don't really appear in great numbers until late May to September. They will not be very noticeable in windy conditions. Numbers vary from year to year and few people complain about them on this walk. They appear to be attracted more to dark colours, and some people claim that 'Skin so Soft' spray by Avon repels them.

We would advise an extra night in Fort William at the end of the West Highland Way. It will give you the opportunity to attempt to climb Ben Nevis or take the Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig. Or, have an extra day at Rowardennan to climb Ben Lomond, or just to soak in the atmosphere of Loch Lomond. An extra night in Kingshouse Hotel would be a nice place allowing you to take in the atmosphere.


West Highland Way Trip reviews


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