West Highland Way - 8 Days & 7 Nights8 Days & 7 Nights 4.8 Read 1291 reviews
- Complete 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
- Walk from the 'bonnie banks' of Loch Lomond to the remote Rannoch Moor
- Stay at Kingshouse Hotel or in iconic Glencoe, surrounded by spectacular scenery
- Make your proud final steps into Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis
What To Expect
Classic Routes | Classic Routes
Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.
This trip is suitable for:
As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveller this holiday would be suitable for is: 12 Years
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Long-Distance Trails
- Accessible by Rail
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 the possibility that you will be accommodated at an alternative location in order to confirm your booking. If you are staying the night in Inverarnan on your itinerary, you may need to spend 2 nights in either Tyndrum, Crianlarich, or Bridge of Orchy, depending on which itinerary you have chosen. We will include transfers to and from these locations from and to Inverarnan, and they will be included in the cost of your tour (the exception to this is the 6 Days & 5 Nights itinerary where we find a suitable alternative but you will need to pay a supplement). However, there maybe other locations where you may have to stay at an alternative location, which you may have to pay a supplement for, but we will always ask you about this in advance.
The Kingshouse Hotel
During busy booking times a supplement may have to be paid when staying at the Kingshouse Hotel. Unfortunately, this cannot be avoided due to this hotel increasing their costs on certain dates of the year. If you do not want to stay at the Kingshouse, there would be no supplement to stay in Glencoe or Ballaculish which is our usual alternative.
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).
- 7 Nights in hand-picked B&B’s, small hotels & guesthouses
- 7 Breakfasts
- 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
This trip is available to book from the end of March to mid-October. At certain times of the year it does get very busy, but we will always try our best to get you confirmed on the date you wish to travel, although you may have to be flexible.
Busy times in Kinlochleven are end of April, beginning of May. This is because the Pre-65 Scottish Motorbike Trials are held here during that time. There is also a busy time in Fort William at the end of April for a week until May 6th because of the Scottish 6-Days Trial Event. We have blocked start dates accordingly due to these events if availability it not possible during these times and on any particular dates. Please try to avoid booking around this time to avoid disappointment.
Also during busy booking times a supplement may have to be paid when staying at the Kingshouse Hotel. Unfortunately, this cannot be avoided due to this hotel increasing their costs on certain dates of the year. If you do not want to stay at the Kingshouse, there would be no supplement to stay in Glencoe or Ballaculish which is our usual alternative.
Please note that up until March 31st, 2023 there will be Conic Hill Path improvement works. Therefore if you are walking this route at the end of March you will need to take the diversion which is in place from Garadhban Car Park along the low level route down Creityhall Road to Milton of Buchanan and along the B837. You will not be able to go up and over Conic Hill.
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.
At Macs Adventure, we work in partnership with many luggage transfer providers who set a limit on how many bags/suitcases they will transfer per person, and also the weight of the bag/suitcase. Your booking includes transfer of 1 bag per person. It is very important that you read the luggage information specific to your tour before departure. If you do not adhere to these limits, there is a great possibility that you will be charged locally both for extra bags or if they are too heavy. This limitation can be a challenge, especially as airlines generally have limits that are higher. However, our luggage providers have reasons for these limits (usually due to the Health and Safety of their employees), which we must respect.
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 in Milngavie, walk to Drymen 12 miles / 19 km
If you are not staying in Milngavie on the previous night, you will meet our luggage carriers at the train station between 8:30-9:00am, ready to collect your bags and whisk them off to your accommodation for the night.
After setting off from Milngavie today’s route runs through the ancient earldom of Lennox between the Campsie Fells and Blane Water. 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 en route is the Beech Tree Inn, complete with beer garden and delicious fare.
Ashbank B&B is a family-run accommodation offering superior rooms in the heart of the village. Ashbank was once the home of the famous Olympian Eric Liddel whose story was depicted in the Oscar winning film Chariots of Fire.
Braeside Guest House is situated in the centre of the village, close to all local amenities. All rooms are En-suite and have WiFi, TV, Tea & Coffee facilities with fresh milk. The gardens are perfect to relax in after your walk, there is also a BBQ available to guests. Hosts Chris and Fiona have extensive local knowledge and are always on hand to offer any assistance you may require
Green Shadows is an exceptionally situated 4-star country house B&B that sits in the shadows of the ruins of Buchanan Castle just over a mile from the idyllic village of Drymen. All of their rooms feature stylishly designed en-suite or private adjoining facilities and all are equipped with flat screen colour televisions, and tea and coffee making facilities, hair dryers and ironing facilities. You'll also enjoy one of their hearty breakfasts in their very elegant dining area. The B&B also has free Wi-Fi available if you want to access the internet.
Leave Drymen and walk through a forest plantation before the ascent of 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 will descend a steep path towards Balmaha, a small village nestling in a protected bay on the shores of bonnie Loch Lomond.
From Balmaha the path alternates between the loch shore, natural forest, and headlands. There are numerous short steep climbs along this section of the route. The scenery, forest, and birdlife between Balmaha and Rowardennan are outstanding.
Situated on the rugged Eastern Shore of Loch Lomond in the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Forest, the Rowardennan Hotel has breath-taking views of Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond Loch Lomond and the mountains to the North. The hotel is a typical walker’s style property and many rooms have stunning views across the Loch.
Situated on the rugged Eastern Shore of Loch Lomond in the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Forest, the Rowardennan Hotel has breath-taking views of Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond Loch Lomond and the mountains to the North. The lodges are situated in the gardens adjoining the Hotel and within each you have all that you require to enjoy a comfortable stay. In the evening you can enjoy a wee dram in the Clansman bar, watching the glorious views from the marvellous beer garden, and enjoy quality hot food, also served in the bar, and made using local ingredients, and designed to give you a filling meal after a long days walk. Wifi available in hotel.
Rowardennan Lodge Youth Hostel sits in an idyllic location on the banks of Loch Lomond with its own jetty and panoramic views across the loch. The lodge offers a wide range of private rooms and comfortable shared dorms all with separate washroom facilities. Relax with a local craft beer or glass of wine in the hostel’s large and cosy lounge, while soaking up the spectacular view across the loch. Other facilities include a laundry and drying room. Basic provisions, confectionery and soft drinks are available to purchase at reception and WiFi is free for all guests.
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.
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 lochside and passing Doune Bothy the path improves but it may seem a very long two miles from Ardleish to Inverarnan where the 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.
If you are staying across the loch at Ardlui Hotel, then look out for the sign pointing to the little ferry (Around 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).
Please ensure you check your tailored accommodation sheet for details of your overnight stay.
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 a unique styled Inn that is not like anything you may have stayed in before. The original Inn dates back to the 1800s. Packed full of history it has been a welcomed, cosy stop for the weary hunters and travellers passing through the highlands for hundreds of years.
There are a selection of rooms to choose from in the original Inn, or across the road in the cottages where no two rooms are the same. Keeping the feel of the bygone days, you will find old oil paintings, antique furniture and artifacts with vibrant colours around the rooms. To ensure you feel refreshed rooms are also equipped with modern comforts such as hair dryers, heating and tea/coffee making facilities. You can enjoy live music and hearty Scottish cuisine in the main bar, giving a fully unique Scottish experience.
The trail climbs out of Inverarnan beside the River Falloch towards Crianlarich. Mighty Ben More and Stob Binnean provide a fantastic backdrop to your walk, and the views back down towards Loch Lomond are first class. 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.
Tam and Carmen will welcome you with tea/coffee and chocolate biscuits to make you feel at home. You can relax in the conservatory or make use of the log cabin which has a large TV and over 400 DVD movies at your disposal. Clifton Cottage has a lovely garden with lovely views and two decking areas.
Glengarry House is a friendly and comfortable Guest House, they have three guest rooms which all have radio alarms, TV’s, hairdryers, tea and coffee and WIFI and all the toiletries are environmentally friendly.
Tigh-Na-Fraoch is a friendly, quiet & welcoming B&B which is the first B&B in Tyndrum, only 20yds from the West Highland Way. You will be guaranteed a warm welcome on arrival with a cup of tea and some home baking. They have three perfectly appointed guest rooms & also a separate cottage with rooms which have all the amenities you will require for a great overnight stay.
The scenery as you leave Tyndrum is stunning and now that you are getting into your stride you will love the fast-going on the military roads. Initially you follow the valley to Bridge of Orchy with the magnicicent Beinn Dorain ahead of you and the railway on your right.
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.
What follows is arguably the most scenic section of the West Highland Way; leave Inveroran and skirt Loch Tulla before joining the track 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. In good weather Rannoch Moor is simply inspiring. The 17th century Kingshouse Hotel affords the best views of Buachaille Etive Mor, Scotland’s most photographed mountain.
Glencoe: If you are staying in Glencoe then a scenic transfer through the beautiful valley of Glencoe to accommodation in Glencoe or Ballachulish (returning to Kingshouse the next day) will be provided. Please check your individual trip information to find out what your transfer arrangements are.
Kingshouse Hotel sits in splendid isolation on the wild Rannoch Moor with arguably Scotland's best view of Buachaille Etive Mor.
The Kings House Hotel is centred around a 17th century Inn, believed to be one of Scotland's oldest licensed establishments. The original building was used after the Battle of Culloden in 1745, as a barracks for troops of George III, hence the name Kings House. The building has now been altered considerably over the past century and has now been redeveloped, refurbished and transformed to the highest standard. All rooms are comfortably decorated and have all the amenities you require for a comfortable night’s stay. There is also a drying room for those rainy days. The location of the Kingshouse Hotel could not be better and the view across to Buachaille Etive Mor has to be one of the most stunning vistas in all Scotland!
They are a family run, three-star, Scottish Tourist Board guest house situated right next to Glencoe Village at the foot of Glencoe itself, Strathassynt Guest House offers a home away from home in the Scottish Highlands.
You will be warmly welcomed to Tom Eachainn by Colin and Susan, who provide comfortable en-suite accommodation within sight of Loch Leven. All rooms have hairdryer, TV, wifi, tea and coffee facilities and toiletries.
From Kingshouse 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 wind your way down into the small town of Kinlochleven, marking the end of a pleasant day on the trail.
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 Visitor 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 lovely guest house, Myrtle Bank. Overlooking Loch Linnhe and just a short stroll from the town centre and its selection of shops, pubs and restaurants, this is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploration.
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.
West Highland Way
The West Highland Way is the first trip Macs Adventure operated back in 2003 and remains one of our favourite trips today. For a taste of the experience, watch this short feature about a West Highland Way father and daughter adventure.
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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