The West Highland Way was established as Scotland’s first long-distance path in 1980 and since then its reputation has flourished and become internationally recognised as one of the world’s great walks. It was the first trip that Macs Adventure sold when we first started out and is the backbone of our business, with our Specialists well versed on every step of the route.
The West Highland Way runs for 96 Miles from Milngavie (pronounced Mul-guy) just North of Glasgow to Fort William, in the Highlands. Much of the route is along a mixture of paths, from ancient Drovers roads and old coaching roads to Military roads built by General Wade as he marched armies into the Highlands to subdue the rowdy Scots.
The route is traditionally walked from South to North for a variety of reasons. Most of the guidebooks on the route are printed in this direction, but more importantly, the scenery and sense of adventure build as you walk in this direction. Your eyes are also shielded from the sun walking in this direction which means you are able to fully drink in the dramatic landscapes that you are passing through.
The West Highland Way is a long, physical walk, however, the terrain is generally incredibly good and some of the longer sections are passed quicker than many people think due to the high quality of the paths.
There are, however, a couple of sections which are more difficult than others. The terrain as you travel from Drymen to Rowardennan, on day 2 of most peoples trip, is very undulating and takes a lot out of tired legs. The following day, walking from Rowardennan up the side of Loch Lomond is also difficult underfoot with many rocks and roots on the path. It is the fact that you have to focus on where you are putting your feet that adds to the exhaustion on this section, but it is by no means an impossible task.
Later on there is the Devil’s Staircase to navigate, which is the highest point on the walk, however, its name gives a false impression, it is not too bad. It is a short sharp shock that you will be at the top of before you even know it, having had several days walking prior to it to strengthen your legs.
One of the major elements that brings people to the West Highland Way and keeps them coming back again and again is the hospitality. Each of the overnight stops has a wealth of great accommodation with charming, informative hosts and many of the pubs en-route are legendary for their Highland hospitality.
When you combine this with the wealth of dramatic scenery that you will immersed in, you are guaranteed to take something special away from a trip on the West Highland Way, no matter the weather. The banks of Loch Lomond are stunning as are the views over the Loch from the top of Conic Hill which is part of the route. The great expanse of the Rannoch Moor is another highlight, a wide open moor, ringed by stunning peaks and leading up to the mouth of Glencoe.
The West Highland Way is traditionally walked in 7 Days, but at Macs Adventure we offer a variety of itineraries to cater for those who wish to make it a challenge or those who wish to make it more of a holiday. You can get more information on this from our previous blog post, How Many Days to Walk the West Highland Way. The route is very well waymarked so navigation is not an issue and there are a number of great maps and guidebooks available for the route.
If you are tempted by the notion of walking the West Highland Way then why not take a look at one of our West Highland Way packages or West Highland Escape short break. All our trips include hand-picked accommodation in local B&Bs, Guesthouses and Hotels, door to door baggage transfer, comprehensive information pack and emergency support.