West Highland Way (The North) - 7 Days & 6 Nights7 Days & 6 Nights 4.8 Read 1291 reviews
- Walk over half of Scotland's most famous long-distance trail from Inverarnan to Fort William
- Enjoy camaraderie on the trail as you meet fellow walkers from around the world
- Explore the Highland landscape; from the remote Rannoch Moor to the base of Ben Nevis
- Stay at the remote Kingshouse Hotel with views onto Buachaille Etive Mor
- Make your proud final steps into Fort William, having traversed Scotland’s finest scenery
Walk the northern portion of Scotland's most famous long distance trail - the West Highland Way. The trail winds it's way through the seemingly infinite highland glens of Western Scotland taking in iconic sights such as Buachaille Etive Mor (Scotland's most photographed mountain), and crossing the vast expanse of the remote Rannoch Moor. Immerse yourself in the landscape and enjoy camaraderie with other walkers along the trail
Discover the spectacular landscape of the Scottish Highlands on the West Highland Way - Scotland's most famous long-distance trail. Towering mountains, tranquil lochs and rushing rivers combine to reward you with a unique and ever-changing landscape as you undertake the northern portion of the trail from Inerarnan to Fort William. Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy and Inveroran punctuate the trail on the way to the Kingshouse Hotel which lies on the remote Rannoch Moor. This really is Scottish highland scenery at its best! Your walk continues to Kinlochleven via the “Devil’s Staircase”, before reaching Fort William, Scotland’s Outdoor Capital, situated at the head of Loch Linnhe with the slopes of Ben Nevis above.
As the largest operator on the West Highland Way (each year over 2500 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 800 authentic and unbiased West Highland Way customer reviews. So give us a shout today to start planning your own West Highland Way adventure.
For more information on the West Highland Way, you can download our Free online guide, or visit our in-depth West Highland Way information page.
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 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.
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).
- 6 Nights in hand-picked B&B’s, small hotels & guesthouses
- 6 Breakfasts
- Baggage transfer
- Detailed information pack and access to maps & GPX tracks in our smartphone navigation app
- We include an overnight in Fort William at the end of your trip as standard
- 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)
- Upgrade to hotel-standard accommodations every night
- Extra nights along the route
- Additional nights in Fort William (post tour)
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.
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
Details of how to get to Glasgow, the closest city with a large transport hub to Inverarnan located approximately half way along the West Highland Way are listed below. If arriving from Glasgow the easiest ways to get to Inverarnan are via rail - hop off the train at the Ardlui Station on the Fort William train which leaves from Glasgow Queen Street Station. From here it's a 5 minute taxi to Inverarnan - we recommend pre-booking a taxi as there's no taxi rank at the station. Alternatively, you can take a Citylink bus from Glasgow city centre's Buchanan Bus Station north to Inverarnan.
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.
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 57 Miles the northern section of the West Highland Way 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 Inverarnan
Arrive in the little village of Inverarnan on the shores of Loch Lomond. Here there are a few quaint accommodations scattered along the lochside, including the famous Drovers Inn, if you're not overnighting here why not pop in for a dram by the fire in their characterful bar.
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!
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.
Get ready for a great day of 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.
Inveroran believe that coming to visit the hotel should be a very special experience for everyone and they have done their best to retain the atmosphere of the 19th century inn throughout the modern hotel and offer great food, great hospitality and comfortable rooms.
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.
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.
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 you wind our way down into the pretty little town of Kinlochleven, marking the end of a very pleasant day on the trail.
Alt-Na-Leven guest house is well situated in the centre of Kinlochleven.
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 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 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.
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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