West Highland Way Highlights - 7 Days & 6 Nights7 Days & 6 Nights 4.8 Read 1293 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 the Kingshouse Hotel with views onto Buachaille Etive Mor
- Make your proud final steps into Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis
Discover Scotland's spectacular landscape on the West Highland Way; towering mountains, tranquil lochs and rushing rivers combine to reward you with a unique and ever-changing experience as you journey from Drymen to Fort William.
This highlights itinerary takes in 66 miles of walking with an included transfer that skips the section between Inverarnan and Bridge of Orchy. Depart the village of Drymen where the route leads you up the shores of Loch Lomond giving a splendid panorama south over the loch. From Inverarnan you are transferred north to Bridge of Orchy where you'll walk via Inveroran and the remote Loch Tulla to Kingshouse Hotel on the open expanse of the Rannoch Moor. This really is Scottish Highland scenery at its best! Continue onto Kinlochleven via the “Devil’s Staircase” (not as intimidating as it sounds), before finally reaching Ben Nevis and, Scotland’s outdoor capital, Fort William.
Macs Adventure has been operating self guided walking holidays on the West Highland Way since 2003. Based locally, just a few miles from the start of the West Highland Way, our team has walked the West Highland Way countless times. So we really do know every step of the way. Each year over 2500 people trust us to organise their West Highland Way adventure and 99% would recommend us to a friend! But don’t just take our word for it, you can read over 800 authentic and unbiased West Highland Way customer reviews below.
Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!
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 traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 12 Years
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Long-Distance Trails
- National Parks
- Accessible by Rail
Activity Level & 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. More ascent and descent 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.
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 tours 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)
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:
- Glasgow - at the beginning of the trip to sample the city's foodie scene or simply to overnight and recover from travelling before starting the hike.
- 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).
- Overnight in hand-picked B&B’s, small hotels & guesthouses
- Breakfast at each accommodation
- Baggage transfer (one 20kg bag per person)
- 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)
- Information pack and access to maps & GPX tracks with the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app
- 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our UK office
- Travel to Drymen / from Fort William
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
- Lunches, dinners, snacks & drinks
- Travel insurance (required)
- Personal equipment
- 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 International Airport
Located 8 miles west of Glasgow is served by routes from around Britain and the world. A regular shuttle service runs to the city centre. Visit their website for details of operators and routes. From Glasgow local bus services serve Drymen
Prestwick International Airport
Located 30 miles south of Glasgow, Prestwick is served primarily by Ryanair. A train service runs from Prestwick to Glasgow city centre. Note that this takes approx. 50 minutes so don't cut it too fine. Again their website has details of routes and operators. From Glasgow local bus services serve Drymen
Glasgow is served by several operators from throughout Britain. It is important to book as far in advance as possible to get the best fares. For information on all routes contact National Rail Enquires. From Glasgow local bus services serve Drymen
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 and Drymen. For directions and journey planner visit:
Services from UK destinations are operated by National Express. From Glasgow local bus services serve Drymen
Services from Scottish destinations are operated by Scottish Citylink. From Glasgow local bus services serve Drymen
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/44lbs per person. Please ensure that you do not bring more than one bag of 20kg as if this occurs, the luggage transfer company will ask you to pay an additional fee. Our luggage transfer company can store the extra bag for you whilst you are on the tour and will deliver it to your final accommodation for an additional cost. Extra luggage and bag storage costs can be made locally.
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.
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 66 Miles the Highlights of the West Highland Way itinerary comprises 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 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.
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. You will find up to date availability on our website and 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 packs have a list of all equipement 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 I 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 farm land.
You can use public transport, local taxis or our baggage van may be able to move you to the next overnight stop. Full details are included in your info pack.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Drymen
Arrive in Drymen ready to begin your adventure on the West Highland Way. Drymen can be reached from Glasgow by train and bus, or more easily by taxi or car (approx. 25 minutes from the centre of Glasgow).
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.
Situated in the heart of Loch Lomond National Park, Braeside offers all that one would require for most comfortable lodging. With satellite TV, WiFi, tea / coffee making facilities and access to a fridge, these en suite rooms offer all you might need for a good night’s sleep. The hosts Colin and Scott will offer you an extremely warm welcome and are always on hand to assist.
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, 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!
Today involves a short transfer from your accommodation in Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy to begin your walk. 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 unrivaled views of Buachaille Etive Mor, perhaps Scotland’s most photographed mountain.
Kingshouse: If you are staying in Kingshouse, an additional supplement may be payable depending on the time of year and the day of the week. If this is relevant to your preferred departure date, your Destination & Adventure specialist will communicate this with you upon confirming your booking.
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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