West Highland Way - 6 Days & 5 Nights6 Days & 5 Nights 4.8 Read 986 reviews
- Walk Scotland's most famous long distance trail from Milngavie to Fort William
- Enjoy camaraderie on the trail as you meet fellow walkers from around the world
- Revel in the myriad of landscapes from the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond to the remote Rannoch Moor
- Stay at the remote Kingshouse Hotel with views onto Buachaille Etive Mor
- Make your proud final steps into Fort William, having traversed Scotland’s finest scenery
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent holiday.
Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night
This trip is suitable for:
Solo Travellers, Families, First Timers
As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveller this holiday would be suitable for is: 17 Years
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Wine, Whisky & More...
- Historical Journeys
- National Parks & Trails
- Special Occasions
- Most Popular
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.
The West Highland Way is very well waymarked and easy to follow. Navigation is straightforward as you can use the Macs Adventure Smartphone App which has maps, GPS tracks and daily route information. Simply download the GPS tracks for offline use and follow the route on your phone with the assurance that navigation on this tour will be made simple and you cannot get lost.
You will find more information on downloading the app in your Macs Adventure Account.
Experience & Fitness
This route is suitable for most regular walkers of average fitness. You should train by walking some daily walks of similar daily distances to your planned itinerary.
Our West Highland Way holidays include overnight accommodation in a mixture of country inns, small hotels, guest houses and B&B’s. We have worked with many of our accommodation partners for over 10 years and have great relationships with them ensuring you receive the best attention from the moment you check in.
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 will always inform you in advance if this was the case.
We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in your itinerary. Occasionally, due to limited availability, there may be an 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. In this case you can change your trip dates or we can arrange taxi transfers to and from an alternative overnight accommodation (supplement payable)
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
This holiday is available to solo walkers, although a 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 room supplement is payable.
Breakfast is included each morning while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation may be able to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively, your guidebook includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants (your info pack has recommendations).
You may wish to take some extra nights along the route, either to rest or for those with plenty of energy to explore some of the other walking opportunities nearby. We recommend extra nights at:
- Rowardennan - for climbing Ben Lomond, a Munro with commanding views over Loch Lomond.
- Crianlarich - a halfway stop with options for visiting the seaside town of Oban, complete with whisky distillery, via the local train service (1hr 15 mins each way).
- Fort William - for climbing Ben Nevis (the UK's highest mountain).
- 5 Nights in hand-picked B&B’s, small hotels & guesthouses
- 5 Breakfasts at each accommodation
- Baggage transfer
- We include an overnight in Fort William at the end of your trip as standard
- Access to maps, GPX tracks and daily route information with the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app
- All your trip documents provided digitally through your online Macs “My Account”
- 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our UK office
- Travel to Milngavie / from Fort William
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
- Lunches, dinners, snacks & drinks
- Personal equipment
- Travel insurance (required)
- Additional nights along the route
- Pre-tour accommodation in Glasgow / Milngavie
When To Go
The trip is available from the end of March to mid-October and while it does get very busy, we are always willing to try and get you booked in.
There are a few dates throughout the year when events in the local area will prevent us from being able to book accommodation. The following are particularly difficult to secure:
Kinlochleven – Pre 65 Trails, held every year in early May
Weather and Climate
Scotland's climate is notoriously changeable! Expect some amounts of both sunshine and rain regardless of the time of year, so always pack both waterproofs and sunscreen. July and August are usually warmest with average temperatures around 14 degrees centigrate, and highs of up to mid-twenties. Some snow may remain or even fall on the higher parts of the route in March & April, and even beyond. May has the least rainfall on average, but you would still expect some wetter days, and each year can vary greatly.
Getting to the Start
Glasgow Airport: Located 8 miles west of the city, the airport is served by numerous domestic and international airlines. A regular Citylink bus service operates between the airport and the city centre. Alternatively, you can also book taxis at a fixed rate from the airport to your accommodation in Glasgow, or to Glasgow Central train station Glasgow city centre, and there is also a service to/from Fort William.
Prestwick Airport: Located 30 miles south of Glasgow, Prestwick is primarily served by the budget airline Ryanair. A train service operates from Prestwick to Glasgow city centre, taking approx. 50 mins.
Edinburgh Airport: Located 45 miles east of Glasgow, Edinburgh Airport is served by numerous domestic and international airlines. A regular Citylink bus service operates between the airport and Glasgow's Buchanan Street Bus Station in the city centre (approx. 60 mins). Alternatively, you could take the tram towards Edinburgh city centre and connect with the train from Edinburgh Haymarket train station to Glasgow Queen Street station.
By Car: Glasgow is served by a motorway network. Long term parking is generally not available in the city centre, but parking (not secured) is available in Milngavie, at the start of the walk. A useful website for directions and parking is the RAC Route Planner.
Getting to Milngavie from Glasgow
Milngavie is most easily accessed by train from Glasgow Central train station on a regular Scotrail service taking approx. 25 mins.
Getting from the End
By Rail: Onward travel to Inverness or Mallaig (then onto Skye by ferry) is possible by Scotrail train. Alternatively, return to Glasgow on the West Highland Line railway line (approx. 4 hours) - one of the UK's most scenic rail journeys.
By Bus: Onward travel directly to Skye is possible with the Citylink bus service. From Fort William you can take direct Citylink buses directly to Glasgow (3 hours 15 mins), Edinbugh city centre (5 hours 20 mins) or to Edinburgh airport (5 hours).
Taxi Tranfers: On request we can arrange private taxi transfers from Fort William, please contact your destination specialist for details.
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.
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.
At Macs Adventure we care about the environment! We’re taking action to minimize the impact we have by converting the majority of our tour documentation for online delivery.
On this tour, all your detailed tour information will be digitally delivered. You will have access to this documentation via “My Account” on our website.
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.
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 cardiovascular 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.
If you don't overnight in Glasgow or Milngavie before beginning the West Highland Way meet our baggage transfer partners at Milngavie Rail Station at 0830-0900. They will check you in and take your bags, which will magically appear in your next overnight accommodation. 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 20 kg per bag (one piece per person).
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. However, we will always try and accommodate your plans.
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. Our information pack has a list of all the equipment you will need, along with some helpful suggestions.
Traditionally 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 we believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.
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.
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 farmland.
You can use public transport and local taxis to reach your next overnight stop. Full details are included in your info pack or you can call us for assistance in making arrangements.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Milngavie, walk to Balmaha
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 nights' 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.
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 freshwater 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.
Standing in the shade of a magnificent 500-year-old oak tree, this unique country Inn which was constructed from locally quarried slate. Each room has its own individual character and all of the deluxe rooms in the cottages have views towards the loch. All rooms are en-suite and are well equipped to make your stay with them comfortable and enjoyable.
Dating back from the 19th Century, Bay cottage in Balmaha offers idyllic views over Loch Lomond. All rooms are en-suite and have all the amenities you require for a great overnight stay and you will be assured a warm welcome on arrival with afternoon tea and homemade scones.
After following the path along the shores of Loch Lomond, the path rises high above the loch giving excellent views of the Arrochar Alps. Shortly after leaving Inversnaid the trail passes the RSPB reserve and Rob Roy's cave before finally reaching Inverarnan.
Beinglas Farm is situated directly on the West Highland Way at the stage of Inverarnan and is within easy walking distance of the village centre. Beinglas Farm has been awarded a three star grading from the Scottish Tourist Board.
The hotel was built as a private hunting lodge for the Colquhoun family around 1851. It was first opened as a hotel in 1886 and two years later the east wing was added, while the west wing was added by 1905. The hotel today is painted white due to the three different types of stone used to build the main building & each of the two wings.
This hotel is one of the friendliest and most intimate hotels in Loch Lomond. With 10 en-suite rooms they offer a relaxed accommodation with great views across the northern shores.
The Drovers accommodation is, shall it be said, not based on your standard hotel bedroom. It reflects the tradition and history of the building and replicates the ambience of the downstairs areas but no two rooms are in any other way similar with a mixture of styles, décor and facilities and it is their intention for that your overnight stay should be an experience!
The West Highland Way climbs out of Inverarnan beside River Falloch towards Crianlarich. Mighty Ben More and Stob Binnein provide a fantastic backdrop to your walk, and the views back down Loch Lomond are first class.
After passing the Crianlarich turn off, you enjoy a section of secluded woodland walking before making your way back to the valley floor and through farmland surrounded by towering highland scenery.
The scenery is beautiful, and now that you are getting into your stride you will love the fast-going on military roads. Initially, follow the valley to Bridge of Orchy with the magnificent Beinn Dorain ahead of you and the railway on your right.
The Bridge of Orchy hotel welcomes guests with personalised service, imaginative Scottish cuisine and an intimate atmosphere. The hotel’s personalised service and ‘can do’ approach is seen in their bedrooms and throughout the hotel and a real home-from-home feel is their priority.
Your hosts at Stance Cottage understand that you love the outdoors! It is situated just off the West Highland Way and is kitted out with a drying cabinet for wet outdoor clothes and boots, along with tea/coffee making facilities, and fluffy white towels. Historically drovers would stop in Bridge of Orchy and pay to ‘stance’ their cattle/sheep in the stance below the cottage. Over the last 150 years a shed or barn has continuously stood beside the cottage. These have been demolished and re-constructed several times since the cottage was built, and each have been used for many different functions, including the storage of hay and livestock. Stance Cottage is once again a welcome haven for people on a journey.
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.
This is our favourite section of the West Highland Way. Leaving Inveroran skirt Loch Tulla and join the military road across the Rannoch Moor, a wonderful, lonely and exposed place that was once covered by a giant icecap and is today covered in a bog. There is no shelter and in bad weather, it can be exposed, whilst in good weather, Rannoch Moor is simply inspiring. The original 17th century hotel at Kingshouse has now been replaced with a refurbished hotel, which provides unrivalled views of Buachaille Etive Mor, perhaps Scotland’s most photographed mountain.
From Kingshouse follow a track to Altnafeadh, which reveals great views of the famous ‘weeping glen’ and site of the Glencoe Massacre in 1692. Zig-zag up the 'Devil’s Staircase' to the highpoint of the West Highland Way at 548m, from where you'll be treated to views towards Ben Nevis in clear weather. Finally, wind your way down into the small town of Kinlochleven.
Alt-Na-Leven guest house is well situated in the centre of Kinlochleven.
The Highland Getaway has wonderful accommodation that is clean, comfortable and perfect for relaxing after an adventurous day on the West Highland Way. The Highland Getaway Restaurant is the perfect place to start your day with a hearty breakfast or to unwind in the evening with a tasty meal or nightcap after a day of exploring the highlands.
The guest house is located at the head of Loch Leven, just 3 minutes’ walk from Kinlochleven village centre. All the rooms are en-suite and with mountain views. The whole guesthouse including all rooms is strictly non-smoking. A wonderful accommodation and you are assured a very warm welcome.
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.
Dora welcomes you with open arms to her beautiful guest house - Myrtle Bank. Overlooking Loch Linnie and just a short stroll from the town centre Myrtle Bank is a wonderful place to relax at the end of the West Highland Way.
Ardblair is in a stunning location overlooking Loch Linnhe and the attention to detail throughout the house is what gives this Fort William B&B its edge. All rooms are en-suite and have all the amenities you require for a comfortable night’s stay. There is WiFi access in all the rooms.
Located in a prime residential area overlooking Loch Linnhe, the guest house is only 5 minutes walk from the shops and restaurants in Fort William town centre. You are assured a warm welcome at this splendid property and all rooms are en-suite with central heating, flat screen televisions and tea/coffee making facilities. There is free WiFi.
After breakfast your trip on the West Highland Way has come to an end. From Fort William we recommend you take the West Highland Line rail journey (3 hr 45 mins) back to Glasgow on one of the country’s most scenic train rides. Alternatively, speak to the team about your needs to get a quote for private airport transfers to Glasgow (2hr 15 mins) or Edinburgh (2hr 45 mins) airports.
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West Highland Way Video Diary
Dan, our resident wildlife expert, took to the West Highland Way and recorded his whole journey. This video shows you the full route, from the starting point in Milngavie, through all the points of interest, to the finish in Fort William. Dan points out some interesting things along the route that you shouldnt miss, but this is not a video laden with spoilers. Every journey on the West Highland Way is different, dictated by the weather, the people you meet and the chance encounters with wildlife (human and otherwise!) Get a taste of what is in store on the West Highland Way with Dan.
The West Highland Way
For an oversight of the West Highland Way, its history, its logistics and how it feels to walk, this is the video for you. Ewan discusses some of the finer points of walking the route, with the background of Loch Lomond, shows how the baggage transfer works and how easy Macs Adventure make walking the West Highland Way.
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