Skipping a Section on the West Highland Way

by ewan on January 13, 2011

Walkers on the West Highland Way

At 96 Miles, the West Highland Way can be as challenging as you want to make it, however not all of us are endurance runners that want to do it in one day, or heads down hikers who want to tear through the walk at blistering speed.  There are thousands of people every year who simply want to complete the West Highland Way at a relaxed pace.  Their fitness may not be quite what it should or they may have picked up an injury along the route.   There are countless reasons why you might want to skip a section on the West Highland Way and in this blog I am going to break down the days and let you know the easiest way to get from one stop to the next without having to use your feet too much.

Section 1 – Milngavie to Drymen

Walking the West Highland Way

Walkers on the West Highland Way

Though many people do not wish to skip the first section of their walking holiday, sometimes circumstance intervenes and there is little choice.  Milngavie is well serviced by public transport and has several taxi companies also.  One of the more common occurrences is not people looking for transport on this leg, but people that have missed their morning meeting with the luggage transporters looking to get their bags taken on to Drymen.  All of the taxi companies in Milngavie will be more than happy to transport your bags to an address in Drymen and allow you to pay up front.  This is quite common, so there is no need to feel uneasy about someone driving off with all your baggage.

Public Transport – There are buses throughout the day from Milngavie to Drymen, some direct and some that require a change in Killearn.  They take between 30 minutes and an hour, so a relatively easy journey.  First Bus number 8 (direct) or 10 (changing in Killearn) are the ones to look out for.

Taxi- Ambassador Taxis – 0141 9562956 are a great local firm and will transport you or your luggage up to Drymen.

Section 2 – Drymen to Rowardennan

Rowardennan is quite isolated and there is a weight restriction on the wee road that leads to it, so consequently this is quite a difficult section to skip without using a taxi.  There is no direct public transport, but if you are looking to save a little money then there is an option of travelling to Balmaha and taking a taxi from there.

Public Transport – No access to Rowardennan by public transport.  Loch Lomond Bus Services run a couple of buses a day to Balmaha, bus number 309, but access to Rowardennan will have to be by taxi.

Taxi – Drymen Taxis – 01360 660077 will happily take you up to Rowardennan.

Section 3 – Rowardennan to Inverarnan

This is the most difficult section of the West Highland Way to skip.  As Rowardennan is isolated on the Eastern bank of Loch Lomond and your next night’s accommodation is accessed via the Western Bank of Loch Lomond, you have to either cross the Loch or go round it.

Public Transport – You can take one of several different cruises across Loch Lomond, which is a great thing to do on its own, never mind being part of your travel to the next night.  I would recommend taking the Luss Explorer which departs at 0930 from the Rowardennan Hotel.  From Luss you can pick up the Citylink bus number 916 which will take you to the Drovers Inn in Inverarnan.

Taxi – Again you are probably best using Drymen Taxis – 01360 660077 as they are the local firm, however be warned that a taxi to Inverarnan will be a costly affair!

West Highland Way.

Leaving Loch Lomond

Section 4 – Inverarnan to Tyndrum

From now on it generally gets easier as the West Highland Way follows the A82 though it is rare that as a walker you will ever see it.  This means that there are good bus and train options should you wish to skip a section.

Public Transport – The Citylink bus number 916 runs from the Drovers Inn in Inverarnan straight up to Tyndrum, stopping off in Crianlarich should this be your destination.  Also if the train is more convenient you can get a taxi down to Ardlui station and then the Scotrail train to either Tyndrum or Crianlarich.

Taxi – 24/7 Cars – 01838 300307  A Great service in the area and one which will transport you all the way up to Kinghouse should you need it.

Section 5 – Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy

Again this section is easily accessed by public transport, but if the timings are not suitable you can always take a taxi.  Inveroran is a very popular alternative to Bridge of Orchy and is around 2 miles away.  You would need to take a taxi there or occasionally if you are staying at the Inveroran Hotel they will kindly come and collect you from Bridge of Orchy.

Public Transport – The Citylink bus number 916 runs from the centre of Tyndrum up to Bridge of Orchy, stopping right in front of the hotel. Similarly the Scotrail train service goes directly from Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy.

Taxi – 24/7 Cars – 01838 300307 will take you to either Bridge of Orchy or Inveroran with no problem.

Section 6 – Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse

Though these are two of the most remote places on the West Highland Way, they are perfectly serviced by public transport and easy to get to should you wish to skip a section.

Public Transport – Again the Citylink 916 goes from the Bridge of Orchy Hotel to the short access road to the Kingshouse Hotel.  There is no rail option for this section.

Taxi – Again 24/7 Cars – 01838 300307 would be your best bet for this stretch.

Section 7 – Kingshouse to Kinlochleven

West Highland Way Kinghouse Hotel

The Kingshouse Hotel on the West Highland Way

This part of the route is again slightly hard to get to.  Kinlochleven is off the main A82 therefore public transport is relatively difficult to come by.

Public Transport – You can take the Citylink Number 916 up to the Glencoe Hotel in Glencoe village.  There you have to change to the Stagecoach number 44 that will take you up to Kinlochleven.

Taxi – Ali’s Taxis – 01855 811136 is the company to take you up to Kinlochleven.  A great friendly service with knowledgeable drivers and saves any waiting about for buses.

Section 8 – Kinlochleven to Fort William

The last stage of the West Highland Way is again one that nobody wants to miss out on.  The feeling of elation as you walk into town after walking the long route is one that is hard to beat, however if you have to skip this section you can be waiting for the others with celebratory drinks.

Public Transport – Simply take the Stagecoach number 44 from outside the Post Office in Kinlochleven and in under an hour you will be in the outdoor capital of the Highlands, Fort William.

Taxi – Again Ali’s Taxis – 01855 811136 will transport you safely and swiftly up to Fort William.

Planning all the logistics of walking the West Highland Way can be a difficult one, so if you haven’t already done so, it may be an idea to get a quote from Macs Adventures.  We run several different itineraries on the route to suit all levels of fitness so that you hopefully don’t have to avoid any section of it.  However, booking through us you have the peace of mind that there is a real expert that knows the area waiting to help you out should anything go wrong.   For more information on the West Highland Way simply click to take a look at the Macs Adventure Website.

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Destination and Adventure Specialist in Macs Adventure's Europe Team. My passion in life is Snowboarding (apart from my family of course, should they happen to read this!) and have taken up mountain biking to fill the seasonal gap and keep me fit enough to spend as much time on the slopes as I can, come winter.

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