West Highland Line: Rail & Hike

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.7 Read 47 reviews
  • Walk the iconic West Highland Way up into the Scottish Highlands
  • Puff across Glenfinnan viaduct to the west coast on the Jacobite steam train
  • Sail across to the ‘bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond
  • Follow the tracks across remote Rannoch Moor, home to regal stags
  • Explore the paths and trails at Glen Nevis with an option to climb Ben Nevis
Explore the Scottish Highlands by train and on foot. Combine a walk along the UK's most famous national trail, the West Highland Way, with one of the 'World's Best Train Journeys' on a journey through Scotland's western Highlands. This rail and hike adventure will take you past mountains, forests, lochs and glens, including a boat trip on Loch Lomond, before reaching Fort William at the foot of Britain's tallest mountain, Ben Nevis. A fitting finale to your trip is a train ride on the 'Jacobite' steam train, also known as the 'Hogwarts Express'. Mallaig is the gateway to the Isle of Skye and a temptation for further adventures. 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.

What To Expect

If you love the idea of watching the Scottish Highland landscape unfold from the comfort of the West Highland train line, coupled with walking the most famous of Scotland’s national trails then this trip is for you.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.

Activity:

Rail & Hike | See more of a destination by mixing train travel with walks accessible from the rail-line. Travel inn-to-inn by train & enjoy hikes from each stopping point. Train fare inc- no baggage transfers.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travelers, Families, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Wildlife
  • Coastal & Island
  • National Parks & Trails

Featured in our collections:

  • Most Popular
  • Classic

Activity Level & Terrain

This trip is graded easy to moderate and includes daily walks of between 8 - 13 miles. The terrain may be rugged underfoot with some hills but not too strenuous. Perfect for those with a relatively good level of fitness.

Navigation

The route is generally well way marked and easy to follow. We supply a detailed map and route notes so you will easily find your way.

Experience & Fitness

This route is suitable for most regular walkers. You should train by walking some daily walks of similar daily distances to your planned itinerary.

Accommodations

Our West Highland Line - Rail & Hike holidays include overnight accommodation in a mix of 2, 3 and 4 star country inns, hotels, guesthouses and B&B’s. The accommodation we use most often is listed below. 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.

Accommodation Upgrade

If you would prefer a little extra luxury whilst in Fort William, Spean Bridge or Mallaig 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.

Accommodation Location

We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in your itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability, we may have to accommodate you 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 and arrange transfers to and from your overnight accommodation at our expense.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

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.

Meals

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.

Included
  • 7 Nights in good quality guesthouses/small hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Door to door baggage transfer on walking days
  • Train travel as per itinerary (standard class)
  • One way tickets on the ‘Jacobite’ steam train from Fort William to Mallaig
  • A detailed information pack, guidebook and required maps
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our office
Excluded
  • Travel to/from Glasgow
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks & drinks
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Personal equipment
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
Extras
  • Glasgow accommodation (pre-tour)
  • Upgrade to hotel standard accommodation throughout
  • Extra night/s along the route
  • Upgrade to first class rail travel

When To Go

You can start on the following days of the week during the season (due to the operational timetable of the Jacobite steam train):

  • 22 April - 16 June 2019: you can start on a Tues, Weds, Thurs, Fri, Sat
  • 17 June - 30 Sept 2019: you can start any day of the week
  • 1 Oct - 14 Oct 2019: you can start on a Tues, Weds, Thurs, Fri, Sat

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.

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

By Air: Located 8 miles west of Glasgow, Glasgow International Airport is served by routes from around Britain and the world. A regular shuttle bus service runs to the city centre.

By Train: Glasgow has excellent rail links from within the UK. 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.

By Bus: Services from UK destinations are operated by National Express.

Services from Scottish destinations are operated by Scottish Citylink.

By Car: Glasgow is served by an excellent motorway network. Long term parking is generally available in the city centres. For directions and journey planner visit the mulitimap weblink.

Getting from the End

By Train: Following completion of your holiday you may wish to return toward Glasgow via the West Highland Line. Journey time is approximately 5hrs 30mins.  For information on all routes contact National Rail Enquiries.

By Ferry: For onward travel to Skye you may take the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Armadale. Crossing time is approximately 30 minutes. For information on all routes contact Caledonian MacBrayne.

For detailed public transport information see Traveline Scotland.

Luggage Transfer

Your bags will be collected from your accommodation on each walking day and moved onto your overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 18kg per person. On the rail days we ask that you take all your baggage with you aboard the train.

General Information

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. 

Travel Insurance

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.

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Itinerary

Day 1 West Highland Line from Glasgow to Ardlui Day 2 West Highland Way to Crianlarich 9.5 miles / 15 km Day 3 Walk the West Highland Way to Bridge of Orchy 13.5 miles / 22 km Day 4 West Highland Line to Spean Bridge 5 miles / 8 km Day 5 Walk the East Highland Way to Fort William 12 miles / 19 km Day 6 Ben Nevis climb or walks in Glen Nevis 10 miles / 16 km Day 7 West Highland Line to Mallaig - The ‘Jacobite’ steam train Day 8 Onward Travel

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