When you undertake walking holidays in Scotland or indeed walking holidays anywhere it is always beneficial to have tips from the experts! So, here are my 10 top tips for a walking holiday along the West Highland Way:
1. Pack for inclement weather. Walking the West Highland Way you will find that you are exposed to the elements, especially on the higher ground. Therefore a good breathable waterproof jacket is necessary along with waterproof trousers, a hat and good quality waterproof boots (it can get muddy underfoot). Read more about what to pack here.
Watch out for the weather!
2. Take a pair of binoculars. Walking the West Highland Way is a great way to get to see a great variety of wildlife. From the locally rare birds of the Inversnaid forest through to the red deer on the mountain ridges, a good view of the local fauna adds an extra bonus to the trip.
3. Do some training before the walking holiday. Regular walking (including some hilly terrain) supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk is recommended.
4. Take plenty of snacks and drinks with you each day. You will find that on certain days you will be away from any shops. It is therefore always recommended to carry high energy snacks to keep you going and enough water to drink. You can always pop into hotels en route and the packed lunches supplied by the accommodations are excellent!
5. Make sure that you have everything you need in your day pack. Remember your main baggage is transferred on a daily basis. It is important to keep with you everything that you need during the day. This includes any personal medication, guidebook and map and your accommodation list with directions to your next overnight stop.
6. Repel the midges! The notorious 'midge', a small flying biting insect, has almost received folklore status on any walking holiday in Scotland! Firstly, it is nowhere near as bad as it is made out to be. They only appear in June and fly until September. Even then they only thrive on warm, overcast, calm days, especially in the evening near water. Any breeze and they are not a problem. For peace of mind, bring a good insect repellent with you. 'Skin so soft' by Avon is quite popular too.
7. Stop off at a distillery. The Glengoyne Distillery between Milngavie and Drymen is a great stopping point and a lovely way to 'warm-up' for the rest of the day!
8. Visit the Real Food Cafe. This little 'fish n chip' shop in Tyndrum serves some of the most delicious food you are likely to encounter on the West Highland Way. The fish is fresh and gorgeous, the pies are all homemade with locally sourced ingredients. A real treat!
9. Have fun! Yes, it is a long distance walk, but it is not supposed to be an endurance test. Take time to enjoy the views and wildlife, meet fellow walkers and remember the West Highland Way with fondness, whatever the weather.
10. Book your walking holiday on the West Highland Way with Macs Adventure! We know all there is to know about the West Highland Way and have a great relationship with the best properties on the route. We can advise on the best itinerary to suit your abilities and if you have any questions we are always there to assist. For any more information on the West Highland Way, please don't hesitate to contact us here at Macs Adventure.
This is an updated version of the post that first appeared in March 2017