West Highland Escape5 Days & 4 Nights 4.6 Read 54 reviews
- Inn-to-inn walking on a section of Scotland's most famous long distance trail
- Walk past the magnificent Orchy Munro's to the remote Rannoch Moor
- Stay at the Kingshouse Hotel with views onto Buachaille Etive Mor
- Enjoy camaraderie on the trail as you meet fellow walkers from around the world
- Finish in Fort William at the base of Ben Nevis - the UK's highest mountain
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: 12 Years
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- National Parks & Trails
- Most Popular
Grade & Terrain
This holiday is graded moderate and includes daily walks of between 9 - 16 miles. Perfect for regular walkers, some days will be more challenging than others and the terrain will be varied with some rough and rugged footpaths. The way is on well maintained footpaths, bridleways, across fields, but in general follows General Wades Roads which were built to open up the highlands back in the 18th Century. Ascents and descents are involved so a good level of fitness will be required.
The West Highland Escape 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, 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. In this case we can amend your trip dates or arrange 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 will be more than happy 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 and your info pack has recommendations.
- 4 Nights in hand-picked B&B’s, small hotels & guesthouses
- 4 Breakfasts
- Baggage transfer
- We include an overnight in Fort William at the end of your trip as standard
- Transfers to your accommodation (if included as part of your itinerary)
- 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 Bridge of Orchy / 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
There are four trains a day departing from Glasgow that stop at Bridge of Orchy. You can find details at Scotrail.co.uk
There are also 4 buses that stop at Bridge of Orchy and you can find details of them on Citylink.co.uk Both journeys take around 2 hours and pass through amazing scenery on the way. .
Getting from the End
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.
We are able to offer transfer arrangements at attractive prices, for your convenience. Just give us a call to talk through your plans.
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.
Basically, the higher your level of fitness the more you will enjoy the experience. The trip involves between 5 and 7 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.
As far in advance as possible! We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as walking on the West Highland Way is a very busy and tends to sell out well in advance. If booking at short notice 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. You can download a full equipment list from the downloads page of our website.
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.
We recommend you travel by bus or train. Further travel information is available on the travel tab. If you are driving you can often leave your car in Bridge of Orchy or Fort William, with the consent of the accommodation owners.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
You can use local bus services or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Bridge of Orchy
Bridge of Orchy village comprises the hotel, bunkhouse and railway station. It is a great introduction to the idea that you will be able to get away from it all and forget the day-to-day goings on of everyday life. The village is easily accessible by bus or train from Glasgow in around 2 hours.
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 amazing views over Loch Tulla and the Black Mount hills. 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.
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 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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