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West Highland Way walking holiday
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Highlights

  • Walking on the banks of bonnie Loch Lomond
  • A visit to the world-famous Drovers Inn for a well-deserved wee dram
  • Walking through a highland wilderness landscape across Rannoch Moor
  • Meeting fellow walkers from all over the world
  • Views from the remote Kings House Hotel to the mountain Buachaille Etive Mor
  • The proud final steps into Fort William, having traversed Scotland’s finest scenery

Discover Scotland's spectacular landscape on the West Highland Way, the best and most popular long distance trail in Scotland. Towering mountains, tranquil lochs and rushing rivers combine to reward you with a unique and ever changing landscape as you journey 96 miles from Milngavie (Glasgow) to Fort William. Pass by whisky distilleries and the charming rural villages of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, with spectacular views over and alongside the bonnie waters. Tyndrum and Inveroran punctuate the trail on the way to the Kings House Hotel which lies on the remote Rannoch Moor. This really is Scottish highland scenery at its best. Your walk continues on to Kinlochleven via the “Devil’s Staircase”, before finally reaching Ben Nevis and Fort William, Scotland’s Outdoor Capital situated at the head of Loch Linnhe.

Macs Adventure offers a wide range of itineraries on the West Highland Way, from 4 to 10 days of walking on a self guided basis. We include accommodation in high quality B&B’s and guesthouses, daily baggage transfers and all the maps, guide books and pre-departure information you need to set you on the right track, together with 24-7 emergency telephone support, should you need it. As the largest operator on the West Highland Way (each year over 1000 people trust us to arrange their walk) we can secure you the best value and quality arrangements, regardless of whether you are walking solo or as a group of 20, and we’re happy to tailor-make a tour to fit your requirements. 99% of our walkers would recommend us to a friend, and you can read over 300 authentic and unbiased West Highland Way customer reviews below. So give us a shout today to start planning your own West Highland Way adventure.

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Detailed Route Description

Stage 1: Milngavie to Drymen, 12 miles, 19 km, 6 - 7 hours

If you are not staying in Milngavie, you will meet our luggage carriers at the train station at 08:30 - 09:00, ready to collect your bags and whisk them away to your first night's accommodation.


After setting off from Milngavie today’s route runs through the ancient earldom of Lennox between the Campsie Fells and Blane Water. You follow a series of good paths through beautiful rural scenery to Drymen, a small and charming village. A recommended stop is the Glengoyne Distillery, where you can take a tour and enjoy a wee dram to send you on your way. Also on your way to Drymen is the Beech Tree Inn, which has a lovely garden and does great food.


Drymen is slightly off the route, so refer to your map to ensure that you don’t overshoot the mark.


Stage 2: Drymen to Balmaha, 8 miles , 13 km, 4 - 5 hours

As you leave Drymen you start to climb towards Conic Hill, which sits astride the Great Divide, separating the highlands and lowlands of Scotland. The climb is fairly steep but on reaching the summit you can enjoy fantastic views over Loch Lomond, Britain’s largest body of fresh water covering 27 square miles. You descend a steep path towards Balmaha, which is a small village nestling in a protected bay on the shores of bonnie Loch Lomond. 


Stage 3: Balmaha to Rowardennan, 7 miles, 11 km, 4 - 5 hours

This is a beautiful but deceptively tough section. The path alternates between the loch shore and natural forest and headlands on the banks of Loch Lomond. There are numerous short steep climbs, and if you have walked all the way from Drymen you will be very pleased to see Rowardennan. That said, the scenery, forest and birdlife is outstanding.


Stage 4: Rowardennan to Inversnaid, 7 miles, 11 km, 4 - 5 hours

Leaving Rowardennan, the West Highland Way follows forestry roads and gently climbs high up above Loch Lomond, giving fantastic views over the water and towards the peaks of the Arrochar Alps. As you close in on Inversnaid the path narrows and becomes more undulating, passing over a spectacular bridge and waterfall as you arrive at Inversnaid Hotel.


Stage 5: Inversnaid to Inverarnan, 7 miles, 11 km, 4 - 6 hours

Departing Inversnaid you pass through the RSPB Inversnaid Nature Reserve and then close by to Rob Roy’s Cave. The path from Inversnaid to the head of the loch is hard going with numerous ups and downs and a generally rough surface. After leaving the loch side and passing Doune Bothy the path improves but it may seem a very long two miles from Ardleish to Inverarnan.  If you are staying across the water at Ardlui, look out for the sign pointing to the little ferry (2 miles before the end of this section). Walk down to the loch shore and call the ferry by raising the ball (you'll be returned to this same spot the following day).


Otherwise, lovely Beinglas Farm marks the end of your day. Leave the way and follow the signs for Inverarnan. The 300-year old Drovers Inn is world-famous and provides the ideal location for your end-of-day refreshment.


Stage 6: Inverarnan to Crianlarich, 6 miles, 10 km, 5 - 6 hours

Today you can look forward to some fantastic relaxing walking after the ups and downs of the previous stretch. The West Highland Way climbs slowly out of Inverarnan through Glen Falloch towards Crianlarich. Mighty Ben More and Stob Binnean provide a fantastic backdrop to your walk, and the views back down Loch Lomond are first class. The way bypasses Crianlarich, but if you need any supplies or are staying in Crianlarich, then follow the signs down to town.


Stage 7: Crianlarich to Tyndrum, 6 miles, 10 km, 3 - 4 hours

After Crianlarich you enjoy a period of secluded woodland walking before making your way back to the valley floor and through farmland surrounded by towering highland scenery. There is a handy small shop at Strathfillan Farm two miles before Tyndrum (which also has a useful shop with outdoor kit) if you need to pick up some supplies at this stage.


Stage 8: Tyndrum to Inveroran, 10 miles, 16 km, 4 - 5 hours

Get ready for a great day's walking. The Scottish scenery is stunning and now that you are getting into your stride you will love the fast-going on military roads. Initially you follow the valley to Bridge of Orchy, a small hamlet and sometimes used as an overnight stop. The Hotel here serves delicious meals if you fancy an early lunch. There is a steep climb as you leave Bridge of Orchy, but you are rewarded with some of the best views in Scotland (in our humble opinion). A short descent brings you to the isolated Inveroran Hotel.


Stage 9: Inveroran to Kingshouse, 10 miles, 16 km, 5 - 6 hours

This is our favourite section of the West Highland Way.  Leaving Inveroran you skirt Loch Tulla and then join the military road across Rannoch Moor, a wonderful, lonely and exposed place that was once covered by a giant icecap and is today covered in bog. There is no shelter and in bad weather it can be exposed, whilst in good weather Rannoch Moor is simply inspiring. 17th century Kings House provides great views of Buachaille Etive Mor, Scotland’s most photographed mountain.


Stage 10: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven, 9 miles , 14 km, 4.5 - 6 hours

From Kings House you follow an old military road to Altnafeadh, which gives great views of the famous ‘weeping glen’ and site of the Glencoe Massacre in 1692. Then you zigzag up the Devil’s Staircase to the highpoint of the West Highland Way at 548m, which gives stunning views towards Ben Nevis, given clear weather. From here you wind our way down into the pretty little town of Kinlochleven, marking the end of a very pleasant day on the trail.


Stage 11: Kinlochleven to Fort William, 16 miles, 26 km, 6 - 8 hours

The initial sharp climb out of Kinlochleven is worth it for the fantastic views it brings, and once over the top you follow a wonderfully remote valley past deserted sheilings towards Fort William. Enter a beautiful area of cultivated forest and follow a narrow winding track into Glen Nevis. Towering ahead is Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, and you follow a wide forestry road down to the Visitors Centre. The final two miles are along the Glen Nevis road, bringing you to the official end of the West Highland Way at the main street of Fort William, where your adventure comes to a close.

Accommodation

Our West Highland Way holidays include overnight accommodation in a mix of 2, 3 and 4 star country inns, hotels, guesthouses and B&B’s. The accommodation we use most often is listed below.


We carefully select your accommodation to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay and all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.


We book en suite rooms as standard. If there are no en suite rooms available in an overnight location, we may book a room with shared facilities, but we would always inform you in advance if this was the case.


Accommodation Upgrade

If you would prefer a little extra luxury whilst walking the West Highland Way you can upgrade to our hotel accommodation option. For this option we use a selection of country hotels, luxury bed and breakfasts and country inns of character.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This holiday is available to solo walkers, although a single supplement is payable. If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party. A single supplement is payable.


Meals

Breakfast is included each morning while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival, alternatively your guidebook also includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants and your info pack will of course have recommendations.


Additional Nights

You may wish to take some extra nights along the route, either to rest or to explore some of other walking opportunities nearby. We would recommend extra nights at Rowardennan - For climbing Ben Lomond, Crianlarich - A halfway stop with options for visiting Oban, Fort William - For climbing Ben Nevis.


Accommodation Partners

Although not exhaustive these are the accommodation providers we use most often.



 

 

 




Braeside B&B - Drymen

At Braeside, Colin and Scott guarantee a warm friendly welcome and comfortable stay in their modern and clean 3 star accommodation.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Ashbank B&B - Drymen

You are ensured a warm welcome from Tommy and Mhairi at this lovely guesthouse. Ashbank was once the home of the famous Olympian Eric Liddel who's story was depicted in the Oscar winning film Chariots of Fire.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Bramblewood - Drymen



Bramblewood - Drymen

Bramblewood is a friendly, family run Bed and Breakfast accommodation situated in the peaceful village of Drymen.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Green Shadows - Drymen



Green Shadows - Drymen

A stunning B&B which overlooks the Buchanan Castle Golf Course and offers a very high standard of accommodation.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Winnock - Drymen

The Winnock Hotel is an 18th Century Inn where log fires and peaceful, tasteful bedrooms await. It has been taken over by the Best Western group and provides the high level of customers service you would expect from the brand.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Buchanan Arms - Drymen

One of the finest and most popular small hotels in the Trossachs, The Buchanan Arms Hotel & Leisure Club possesses a character and charm which sits peacefully and calmly with the qualities of its surroundings.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Oak Tree Inn - Balmaha



Oak Tree Inn - Balmaha

Overlooked by the slopes of Conic Hill, this family-owned and managed Inn gives you the perfect base from which to explore the stunning surrounding countryside


 

 

 


 

 

 




Rowardennan Hotel - Rowardennan

Situated on the rugged eastern banks of Loch Lomond in the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Forest the Rowardennan Hotel has breathtaking views of Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond and the mountains to the North.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Anchorage Cottage - Rowardennan



Anchorage Cottage - Rowardennan

The house commands magnificent views over the loch and islands to Luss on the western shore. The garden has large timber decked area, with seating from which guests can enjoy the breath taking scenery.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Beinglas Farm - Inverarnan

Beinglas is two miles north from the top of Loch Lomond on the West Highland Way beneath the Grey Mares tail waterfall and surrounded by an abundance of Mountains Water falls and Wildlife.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Drovers Inn - Inverarnan

The Drovers Inn provides the perfect stop at the north end of Loch Lomond providing a true and lasting memory of rural Scotland.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Ardlui Hotel - Inverarnan

The Ardlui Hotel is located in the heart of Scotland's first National Park - Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Glenardran House - Crianlarich



Glenardran House - Crianlarich

Phil and Wendy Hines welcome you to Glenardran House a 3 star Visit Scotland approved guesthouse offering bed and breakfast Accommodation in Crianlarich


 

 

 


 

 

 




Crianlarich Hotel - Crianlarich

This is an award winning, comfortable and well-appointed 3-star hotel set in the lovely village of Crianlarich. All of our hotel options that stop in Tyndrum will be transferred 5 miles down to this lovely establishment.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Ewich House - Tyndrum



Ewich House - Tyndrum

Ewich House dates from 1811 and is beautifully furnished and decorated throughout, with all the usual amenities you would expect of a modern B&B. All bookings on our WSSWHW3+4 trips we try to acommodate at this great B&,B.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Glengarry House - Tyndrum

Glengarry House is a friendly and comfortable Guest House situated just outside of Tyndrum. Ellen and Andy provide the warmest of welcomes to their wonderful establishment.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Bridge of Orchy Hotel - Bridge of Orchy

The Bridge of Orchy has a personalised service, imaginative Scottish cuisine, quietly elegant en suite bedrooms and public rooms, intimate atmosphere.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Inveroran Hotel - Inveroran

The Inveroran Hotel believe that coming to them is a very special experience for everyone. We have done our best to retain the atmosphere of the 19th century inn throughout the modern hotel.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Kingshouse Hotel - Kingshouse

Built in the 17th century, Kings House is believed to be one of Scotland's oldest licensed inns. One of the greatest locations and atmospheres on the West Highland Way, this is an iconic old hotel.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Edencoille - Kinlochleven



Edencoille - Kinlochleven

Edencoille is a charming small family run 4 Star guest house positioned in an elevated position overlooking Loch Leven, among the dramatic peaks of Glencoe and the Mamore Forest.


 

 

 


 

 

 




MacDonald Hotel - Kinlochleven

The MacDonald Hotel is situated at the foot of the Mamore Mountains, at the head of Loch Leven, providing a stunningly beautiful setting, which was selected to open the latest Rob Roy movie.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Guisachan Guest House - Fort William



Guisachan Guest House - Fort William

Guisachan House sits above Fort William, close to the centre of town. Matthew and Edith will make sure that your last night on the West Highland Way is a comfortable and relaxing one.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Berkeley House - Fort William



Berkeley House - Fort William

Berkeley House was constructed in the late 1800's. Following a total refurbishment in 1998, this traditional Scottish Guest House has kept much of the original characteristics, whilst adding many modern facilities.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Myrtle Bank - Fort William



Myrtle Bank - Fort William

Myrtle Bank is a warm and pleasant establishment which overlooks Loch Linnie and is just a short stroll from the Town. Dora will welcome you in to her wonderful property which is extremely highly rated by clients.


 

 

 


 

 

 




The Lime Tree - Fort William

The Lime Tree Small Hotel, Restaurant and high quality Art Gallery offers you unique accommodation in a convenient location in the centre of Fort William.


 

 

 

Availability

The trip is available from mid March to mid October and while it does get very busy, we are always willing to try and get you booked in.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This holiday is available to solo walkers, although a single supplement is payable. If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party. A single supplement is payable.


Please note that the Inveroran Hotel does not take single room bookings. 


Grade & Terrain

This holiday is graded moderate overall with individual itineraries varying from easy to moderate through to moderate to strenuous. Daily walking distances vary between 7 - 21 miles. Some days will be more challenging than others and the terrain will be varied with some rough and rugged footpaths. There are ascents and descents involved so a good level of fitness will be required.


Navigation

The route is well way marked and easy to follow. We supply a detailed map and guidebook so you shouldn’t have any problem finding your way.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be collected from your accommodation each day and moved onto your overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.


Accommodation Location

We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in your itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability, there is the option to be accommodated at an alternative location. In the unlikely event that we have to accommodate you elsewhere we will advise you of this before confirming your booking. You shall have the option to change your dates or we can arrange transfers to and from an alternative overnight accommodation. A transfer supplement will be added in such an instance.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack. 

Start of the walk - Milngavie

Read our blog to find out how to get from Glasgow to the start of the walk at Milngavie. Further details of how to get to Glasgow (the closest city to the West Highland Way) are below.


By Air


Glasgow International Airport


Located 8 miles west of the city of Glasgow, the airport is served by numerous domestic and international routes. A regular shuttle bus service runs to Glasgow city centre, and there is also a service to/from Fort William.


Prestwick International Airport


Located 30 miles south of Glasgow, Prestwick Airport is served primarily by Ryanair. A train service runs from Prestwick to Glasgow city centre and takes approx. 50 mins. 


Edinburgh International Airport


Located 45 miles east of Glasgow, Edinburgh Airport is served by numerous domestic and international routes. A regular bus service runs to Glasgow city centre and takes approx. 60 mins.


By Rail


Glasgow is well-served by rail from across the UK. Booking in advance secures the best fares. For information on all routes contact National Rail Enquiries.


By Road


Glasgow is served by an excellent motorway network. Long term parking is generally not available in the city centre, but unsecure parking is available in Milngavie at the start of the walk. A useful website is the RAC Route Planner.


By Coach


Services from UK destinations are operated by National Express.


Services from Scottish destinations are operated by Scottish Citylink.


How to get back from Fort William

Return transfers from Fort William to Glasgow are NOT included in the price of your holiday.


If you are returning to Glasgow we suggest the Citylink Bus (up to 8 departures daily, approx. 3 hours) or Scotrail train (one of the UK's most spectacular journeys, 2-3 departures daily, approx. 4 hours, also available for continued journey to Edinburgh).


Trains and buses also operate north to Inverness and Skye; a great website for public transport planning within Scotland is Traveline Scotland, or give us a shout to discuss extending your stay further. 


Transfers

We are able to offer transfer arrangements at attractive prices, for your convenience. Just give us a call to talk through your plans.



Included

  • Carefully selected accommodation (B&B and Hotel Options available) as close as possible to the trail.
  • B&B accommodation is en-suite wherever possible.
  • B&B and hotel options include breakfast.
  • Daily door-to-door baggage transfer.
  • Transfers to your accommodation if part of the itinerary.
  • Detailed map covering the route.
  • Comprehensive guidebook covering the route.
  • Detailed information pack with:
  • Full details of your accommodation and how to find it.
  • A detailed itinerary with a daily breakdown of distances, grades and recommendations for lunch and dinner.
  • Detailed travel information on getting to the start and from the finish of the walk.
  • A recommended equipment list and suggestions on the best gear.
  • Emergency telephone support.

Excluded

  • Travel insurance.
  • Transport to the start or from the finish of the walk.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks or drinks.
  • Equipment.

Extras

  • Single room supplement
  • Milngavie accommodation (pre tour)
  • Upgrade to hotel-standard accommodation throughout
  • Extra night/s along the route
  • Extra night/s in Fort William accommodation (post tour)
  • Taxi transfers due to lack of availability at stage end.

Options

Type Name Price From
Accommodation Milngavie Accommodation (Pre-Tour) £75
Accommodation Single Room Supplement (Per Night) £25
Accommodation Extra Night in Fort William (Post-Tour) £42

Planning a trip on the West Highland Way can be daunting, especially if this is your first long distance walking holiday. We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.

How fit do I need to be?

At 98 Miles the West Highland Way is a fair distance and the higher your level of fitness the more you will enjoy the experience. Most of our itineraries involve between 5 and 10 hours walking daily so you should be comfortable walking on good tracks and paths over undulating terrain for at least 6 to 7 hours. If you currently don’t enjoy that level of fitness regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk is recommended. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

How do the baggage transfers work?

You will meet our baggage transfer company at Milngavie Rail Station at 0830-0900 and they will check you in and take your bags, which will magically appear in your accommodation for you arriving that night. Each morning, just leave your bags in the reception area and we will have them transferred to the next location. Please limit the weight of your luggage to 18kgs per bag and each customer is entitled to one bag.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the West Highland Way is extremely popular especially over April/May and July/August. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. Our info packs have a list of all equipment to bring on your walk.

When is the best time of year?

Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better and the midges have not yet appeared. Although having walked the way in every summer month I believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.

What are the midges like?

Midges are small biting insects (much like north American gnats) which are prevalent in the summer months. They are particularly bad on still, overcast days but do not bother you if you are moving, the wind is blowing, sun is shining, it’s raining, or you are inside so as long as you carry repellent for the odd occasion you may need it they shouldn’t have any impact on your experience.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets and several sections of the way are closed to dogs as they are permissive paths through farm land.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport, local taxis or our baggage van may be able to move you to the next overnight stop. Full details are included in your info pack.

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