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West Highland Way - A personal experience

Loch Lomond and Trossachs Walk

Nat Park - Loch Lomond and Trossachs

County/Area - East Dunbartonshire & Stirling & Argyll and Bute

Author - Peter Smyly

Length - 96.0 miles / 156 km    

Ascent - nominal or unknown

Time - 48 hours 0 minutes    Grade - moderate

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer 348Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer 348Digital Map1:25kBUY

Walk Route Description

The West Highland Way (WHW) is Scotland's best-known long distance path, walked by thousands each year (over 30,000 according to Wikipedia) and is generally waymarked throughout. Given its fame and popularity, this is a personal view of it based on having done the route for the first time in June 2014 rather than a detailed route description. The 96 mile/154 kilometre walk is normally done from Milngavie to Fort William, rather than the other way round.

The culmination of the walk passes within sight of the UK's highest peak, Ben Nevis, the prospect of which may appear to be "the icing on the cake" at the end of the route. However, after having walked 96 miles, energy levels may be depleted and it may not seem as attractive when you get there, all the more so if it is in cloud which it often is.

Whether or not you meet other walkers doing the WHW depends to some extent on timing. For instance, if you set off by 10am, many WHW walkers will already have left for their next destination an hour or so earlier.

Midges are something to be aware of during season, normally from June to September. They are not usually a problem when walking but, particularly where there is a lack of breeze, they tend to swarm around if you stop to sit down. Long trousers and long-sleeved tops are advisable to avoid being bitten on legs and arms and some people also wear a head net.

Doing the WHW can also be a sociable experience as you meet other people doing the route and conversations can happen while walking, in pub bars over a drink or evening meal or when sharing accommodation. You may even meet the same people again at different points further along the route as your itineraries overlap.

Here is a list of ten suggestions for doing the WHW (not in any particular order):-

- Book accommodation well in advance.
- Go with at least one other person for company.
- Wear suitable footwear that has already been "broken in" and which you feel comfortable with.
- Be sure you have the right fitness level or, if not, prepare a few months at least in advance.
- Take measures to try to reduce discomfort caused by midges if in season.
- Carry food (snacks) and drink with you in a small rucksack, bearing in mind the lack of shops along the way.
- Make use of one of the luggage transport options to enable you to travel light during each day.
- Take an all-in-one WHW map even though the route is waymarked.
- Take a camera to record the varied scenery.
- Consider extending the trip by a day or two to walk up at least one mountain.

Timetable for this route:

DayWalk from/to MilesRunning total Click link to
view description
1Milngavie to Drymen1212 Go to Part 1
2Drymen to Rowardennan 1527Go to Part 2
3 Rowardennan to Inverarnan 1441Go to Part 3
4 Inverarnan to Inveroran 2162Go to Part 4
5 Inveroran to Kinlochleven 1981Go to Part 5
6 Kinlochleven to Fort William 1596Go to Part 6


Other walks nearby

Walk 1492 WHW - Day 2 - Dryden to Rowardennanmoderate15.0 miles
Walk 2439 Forth & Clyde Canal & Antonine Walleasy6.0 miles
Walk 2347 Duncryne from Gartocharneasy2.0 miles
Walk 2659 Conic Hilleasy/mod4.0 miles
Walk 1296 Beinn Eich & Doune Hillmod/hard8.0 miles
Walk 3009 Ben Lomondmod/hard7.5 miles
Walk 1493 WHW - Day 3 - Rowardennan to Inverarnanmoderate14.0 miles
Walk 2413 Ben Venue from Loch Achraymoderate8.2 miles
Walk 2309 Ben A'an from Loch Achrayeasy/mod2.5 miles
Walk 3647 Callander, Samson's Stone & Coilhallan Woodeasy4.7 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

The West Highland Way

The West Highland WayGuidebook to walking the West Highland Way National Trail, a 95 mile Scottish long-distance route from Milngavie near Glasgow to Fort William, passing Loch Lomond and crossing Rannoch Moor. Suggested itineraries over 6 to 9 days. Includes accommodation guide and pull-out 1:25K OS map booklet.
More information

Walking Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

Walking Loch Lomond and the TrossachsA guide to walking and scrambling routes in the beautiful Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Over 70 graded low-level, mid-level and mountain walks taking in hills, glens and picturesque woodland, as well as all of the region's Munro summits. Highlights include Ben Lui, Ben Lomond, the Cobbler and the Arrochar Alps.
More information

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