I could have done with some timely, supportive words at the start because of anxieties about weather impacting the walk.
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.
As the largest operator on the West Highland Way (each year over 1500 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 500 authentic and unbiased West Highland Way customer reviews. So give us a shout today to start planning your own West Highland Way adventure.
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.
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.
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 are outstanding.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 a bog. There is no shelter and in bad weather, it can be exposed, whilst in good weather, Rannoch Moor is simply inspiring. The 17th century Kings House provides great views of Buachaille Etive Mor, Scotland’s most photographed mountain. Summer 2017: Kingshouse Hotel is closing for refurbishment from October 2016 for approx. 18 months and a transfer from Kingshouse to nearby accommodation (returning to Kingshouse the next day) will be provided.
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 you wind our way down into the pretty little town of Kinlochleven, marking the end of a very pleasant day on the trail.
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.
Our West Highland Way holidays include overnight accommodation in a mixture of country inns, small hotels, guesthouses and B&B’s.
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.
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.
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 and a supplement will be payable.
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.
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.
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.
Although not exhaustive these are the accommodation providers we use most often.
At Braeside, Colin and Scott guarantee a warm friendly welcome and comfortable stay in their modern and clean 3 star accommodation.
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.
A stunning B&B which overlooks the Buchanan Castle Golf Course and offers a very high standard of accommodation.
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.
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
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.
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.
The Ardlui Hotel is located in the heart of Scotland's first National Park - Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park.
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.
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.
The Bridge of Orchy has a personalised service, imaginative Scottish cuisine, quietly elegant en suite bedrooms and public rooms, intimate atmosphere.
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.
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.
The Tailrace Inn is a 6 bedroom inn set in Kinlochleven which nestles at the head of Loch Leven. The West Highland Way passes directly opposite the tailrace inn in the centre of the village.
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.
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 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.
May 2018 is not quite full yet, but it won't be long before it is. If you are interested in beginning your West Highland Way adventure in May next year then please contact one of our specialists and they will be able to advise how best to proceed.
There are a few dates throughout the year when events in the local area will prevent us from being able to book accommodation. If you could schedule your trip around these dates it would be extremely beneficial. The dates for 2018 are:
Kinlochleven - The Pre 65 two day trial – 4th & 5th May
Fort William – Scottish 6 day trial – 7th to 12th May
Fort William – Mountain bike World Cup 2nd & 3rd June
Kinlochleven – The Skyline Race – 13th to 16th September
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 route is well waymarked and easy to follow. We supply a detailed map and guidebook so will easily find your way.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Services from UK destinations are operated by National Express.
Services from Scottish destinations are operated by Scottish Citylink.
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.
Planning a trip on the West Highland Way can be daunting, especially if this is your first long distance walking tour. We are often asked the following questions and we hope that you will find the answers useful.
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.
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 20kg per bag (one per client).
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 info pack has a list of all equipment to bring on your walk.
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 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.
I could have done with some timely, supportive words at the start because of anxieties about weather impacting the walk.
My sister and I had a fantastic time and we would definitely like to do it again I would reccommend it to anyone who does quite a bit of hiking as its not an easy walk to finish completely without missing sections out which we noticed a lot doing as the days went by. As we hike most weekends this made it a thoroughly enjoyable experience for us which was clearly not the case for some...so a big thanks to macs adventures for taking the strain off and booking/transporting luggage and everything else that goes with it for us....
Macs Adventures are extremely experienced and it shows. We did the walk over six days, which was quite hard going at times. Some of the hotels and b and bs were wonderful whilst others were pretty basic.
Absolutely fantastic week walking The West Highland Way with 10 friends. We dealt with Cara who was extremely helpful from the outset. We originally had 9 people but 2 more were keen to join us at the last minute. Cara very quickly got them sorted out and despite not being able to stay with us in all our accommodations, they were close by. Cara organised this whilst in your Colorado office! I know that the 2 people who joined our party were very happy with everything that was organised for them.
Mostly great accommodations. No problems with baggage handling, hard going but worth it. Feel will take a month to recover but will never forget the experience. Thanks.
This was a well organized hike with good materials to support it. Good accommodations and food. Great views and every day the hike had different terrain. MACS travel agents were good, knowledgeable and accommodating to help me schedule my hike to suit my needs. Strongly encourage hikers to book evening meals ahead of arrival and reduce disappointments when the tables are "all reserved" and not available. Update the West Highland Way guidebook by Charlie Loran, edition #6 to note that between Rowardennan and Inversnaid, the LOW route has been improved and is the better of the two routes along Loch Lomond (description on page 128 and Maps 16 & 17). Otherwise, this guidebook was VERY useful and at the right level of description and scale.
Westlock, Alberta, Canada
We'd never used them before, and they were wonderful! The accommodations were very nice. The luggage moved flawlessly. The printed materials and maps were perfect. And the price...what a great price! I don't know how they do it. It was one of the best vacations we have taken.
The West Highland Way is rightly famed for the variety and quality of scenery. While not a difficult walk, some sections are a bit technical so you need to be reasonably fit and agile. Macsadventure organised some super accommodation which made the whole thing a real pleasure. Climbing Ben Nevis via the CMD Arete on our extra day in Fort William was the icing on the cake!
We love hiking and have done a lot of backpacking here in the U.S. We also enjoy immersing ourselves into cultural experiences. This adventure on the West Highland Way in celebration of our 10th anniversary combined the best of all these interests. Macs Adventures curated this memorable experience and the execution was seamless. We'll cherish every memory!
Emily & Chris, Anniversary Revelers
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
The West Highland Way was my second trip with MacsAdventure, having done the Cumbria Way four years ago. I was joined by three good friends from my ladies hiking group back home and we chose to spread the WHW over 9 days, which included a rest day in the middle. Macs was great and Kirsty and Cara provided good information during the planning stages, helping us design a customized itinerary. Our accommodations were very good to excellent. Some of our favorites places were The Rowerdennan Hotel, Bridge of Orchy Hotel, and the final night at the Myrtle Bank Guest House in Fort William. Everywhere was clean, comfortable, with good service and warm hospitality. The WHW is easy to find your way and the landscape is gorgeous and varied from lush woods to quiet lanes to sheep pastures to wide open moors. Visiting a distillery our first day out was an adventure and not something we can do on our Colorado trails! Be prepared for rain, though the weather was changeable with a little bit of everything from mist to rain to wind and, thankfully, some sunshine along the way! We loved it all. Some days on hard, rocky paths were hard on feet and the last day, amounting to closer to 18 miles, became a slog at the end. But what exhilaration when we finally arrived at the official end of the walk and could congratulate fellow walkers and ourselves! That was the best night's sleep of the whole adventure! Thank you, Macs, for alerting us when one of our transfers was going to be delayed one morning. We thoroughly enjoyed both of our drivers who safely brought us to our next stage! I hope there's another Macs walk in our future!