Stage 1: Milngavie to Drymen
If you don't have a pre-tour night in Milngavie meet our luggage
carriers at the train station between 8:30-9 am so your bags can be whisked off to your first night's accommodation.
From Milgavie walk begin walking north through the
ancient earldom of Lennox between the Campsie Fells and Blane Water. Follow a series of good paths through beautiful rural scenery to
the charming village of Drymen. En route why not stop at the Glengoyne Distillery where you can take a tour and enjoy a wee dram to
send you on your way?
Walk: 12 miles / 19 km
Stage 2: Drymen to Balmaha
From Drymen the route winds its way up just short of Conic Hill's summit (361m). Situated on the Highland Boundary Fault - separating the highlands and the lowlands - this little peak provides is a natural viewpoint overlooking Loch Lomond, Britain’s largest body of fresh
water covering 27 square miles. Descend a steep path towards
the small village of Balmaha, nestled in a protected bay on the
shores of bonnie Loch Lomond.
Walk: 7 miles / 11 km
Stage 3: Balmaha to Rowardennan
A scenic and challenging section of the Way - the path
alternates between the loch shore, natural forest and headlands of Loch Lomond. There are numerous short steep climbs, and the underfoot terrain is uneven in sections. Slow your pace to admire the local birdlife and look forward to a hearty meal at the end of the day.
Walk: 7.5 miles / 12 km
Stage 4: Rowardennan to Inversnaid
Follow the well waymarked trail on gently ascending forestry tracks 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, walk over a
spectacular bridge and waterfall as you arrive at Inversnaid Hotel.
Walk: 7.5 miles / 12 km
Stage 5: Inversnaid to Inverarnan
From Inversnaid a packed day awaits; walk through the RSPB Inversnaid Nature
Reserve and close by Rob Roy’s Cave. The Way covers rolling terrain over a
generally rough surface, but after leaving the lochside and passing Doune
Bothy the path improves en route 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 signal ball. Otherwise, lovely Beinglas Farm marks the end of your day - leave the Way and follow signs for Inverarnan. The 300-year old Drovers Inn is
world-famous and provides the ideal location for your overnight.
Walk: 6 miles / 10 km
Stage 6: Inverarnan to Crianlarich
Today you can look forward to some 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.
The towering Munros of Ben More and Stob Binnean are a fantastic backdrop to your walk as the Way bypasses Crianlarich.
If you need supplies or are staying in
Crianlarich, then follow the signs down to this Highland village.
Walk: 6 miles / 10 km
Stage 7: Crianlarich to Tyndrum
Walk through secluded woodland before making your way back to the valley floor on rolling farmland surrounded by the lofty highland scenery. On reaching Tyndrum, you'll find the iconic Green Welly Stop (with a small outdoor supply shop), the Real Food Cafe and the local pub.
Walk: 5.5 miles / 9 km
Stage 8: Tyndrum to Inveroran
Get ready for a great day's walking! The Highland scenery is stunning
and now that you are getting into your stride you will love the
fast-going on military roads. Follow the valley to Bridge
of Orchy, a small hamlet and sometimes used as an overnight stop - the hotel serves delicious meals if you fancy an early lunch. Leave Bridge of Orchy behind and walk towards Loch Tulla and the Black Mount where you'll find the isolated Inveroran Hotel.
Walk: 9.5 miles / 15 km
Stage 9: Inveroran to Kingshouse
Arguably the most beautiful and section of the West Highland Way this stretch of the trail to Kingshouse on the edge of Glencoe leads you over the remote Rannoch Moor. Follow the military road across
Rannoch Moor, once
covered by a giant icecap but is today covered in 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 Kingshouse Hotel provides
great views of Buachaille Etive Mor, Scotland’s most photographed
mountain, and is a favouite spot of the area's Red Deer.
Walk: 10 miles / 16 km
Stage 10: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven
From Kingshouse follow a good track north through Glencoe, which
giving views of the famous "weeping glen"- site of the Glencoe
Massacre in 1692. Pass Buachaille Etive Mor then zig-zag up the "Devil’s Staircase" to the
highpoint of the West Highland Way at 548m. Your reward is wonderful views of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, before you wind your descent into the small town of Kinlochleven.
Walk: 9 miles / 14 km
Stage 11: Kinlochleven to Fort William
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 stone cottages towards Fort William.
Follow a trail through the forest in Glen Nevis with views of towering Ben Nevis ahead. The final two miles of the Way follow the Glen Nevis road, bringing you
to the official end of the West Highland Way at the main street of Fort
Walk: 15 miles / 24 km
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.
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 some of the accommodation providers we use most often.
Drymen Rooms - Drymen
At Drymen Rooms, Colin and Scott guarantee a warm friendly welcome and comfortable stay in their modern and clean 3 star accommodation.
Ashbank B&B - Drymen
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.
Green Shadows - Drymen
A lovely B&B overlooking Buchanan Castle Golf Course and offering a very high standard of accommodation in the village of Drymen.
Buchanan Arms - Drymen
One of the finest and most popular small hotels in the Trossachs, The Buchanan Arms Hotel possesses character and charm which sits peacefully and calmly with the qualities of its surroundings.
Oak Tree Inn - Balmaha
Overlooked by the slopes of Conic Hill, this family-owned and managed inn provides the perfect overnight on your West Highland Way adventure nestled in picturesque countryside.
Rowardennan Hotel - Rowardennan
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 Farm - Inverarnan
Beinglas is two miles north of the head of Loch Lomond on the West Highland Way beneath the Grey Mares Tail waterfall and surrounded by an abundance of mountains, waterfalls and wildlife.
Ardlui Hotel - Inverarnan
The Ardlui Hotel is located in the heart of Scotland's first National Park - Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park - and has a friendly restaurant providing hearty highland dishes.
Crianlarich Hotel - Crianlarich
This is an award winning, comfortable and well-appointed 3-star hotel set in the lovely village of Crianlarich. If you choose an itinerary with hotel upgrades ending in Tyndrum there will be a 5 minute taxi transfer to Crianlarich.
Glengarry House - Tyndrum
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.
Bridge of Orchy Hotel - Bridge of Orchy
The Bridge of Orchy provides great personalised service, imaginative Scottish cuisine, and quietly elegant bedrooms all in an intimate Highland atmosphere set among the mountains.
Inveroran Hotel - Inveroran
The staff at the Inveroran Hotel believe that staying with them is a special experience for everyone. As befitting it's remote Highland location it has retained much of its 19th century inn charm.
Alt-na-Leven Guest House - Kinlochleven
Alt-na-Leven is a charming family run 4-star guest house in the heart of Kinlchleven, among the dramatic peaks of Glencoe and the Mamore Forest.
Guisachan Guest House - Fort William
Guisachan House sits above Fort William, close to the centre of town. Matthew and Edith will ensure that your last night on the West Highland Way is a comfortable and relaxing one.
Myrtle Bank - Fort William
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.
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 dates are already full for Kinlochleven and Fort William:
2nd - 4th May 2019: Kinlochleven – Pre 65 Trails
4th - 9th May 2020: Kinlochleven – Pre 65 Trails
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 is required.
The route is well waymarked and easy to follow. We supply a detailed map and guidebook so you should have no problem finding your way on the trail.
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, emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes - please note that your devices (watches, phones, GPS units) may give slightly differing distances to our carefully recorded distances and ascents/descents due to varying GPS signal and depending on which accommodations you overnight at.
Please be prepared by packing all the necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, and 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, lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
Start of the walk - Milngavie
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.
How to get back from Fort William
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.
- Overnights in hand-picked B&B’s, small hotels and guesthouses
- An overnight in Fort William post tour.
- Breakfast at each accommodation.
- Daily door-to-door baggage transfer.
- Transfers to your accommodation if part of the itinerary.
- Detailed information pack and guidebook.
- GPS tracks and detailed mapping with our Macs Adventure smartphone app.
- 24/7 telephone support from our offices.
- Travel insurance (required).
- Transport to the start or from the finish of the walk.
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.
- Lunches, dinners, snacks or drinks.
- Personal equipment.
- Single room supplement.
- Glasgow / Milngavie accommodation (pre-tour).
- Upgrade to hotel-standard accommodations every night.
- Extra nights along the route.
- Additional nights in Fort William (post tour).
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.
How fit do I need to be?
At 96 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 9 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 6 months prior to your walk is recommended. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.
How do the baggage transfers work?
If you don't overnight in Glasgow or Mingavie 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).
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the West Highland Way is very popular especially in May and July/August. However, we will always do our best to accommodate your dates.
What personal equipment do I need?
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 equipment you will need, along with some helpful suggestions.
When is the best time of year?
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.
What are the midges like?
Midges are small biting insects (much like North American gnats) that 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. We recommend carrying insect repellent, and bite cream, for the odd occasion you may need it, this way they shouldn’t have any impact on your experience.
Am I able to take my dog?
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.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
You can use public transport or 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.