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
|Ordnance Survey Explorer 348
|Anquet OS Explorer 348
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:
|Click link to
|Milngavie to Drymen
|Go to Part 1
|Drymen to Rowardennan
|Go to Part 2
|Rowardennan to Inverarnan
|Go to Part 3
|Inverarnan to Inveroran
|Go to Part 4
|Inveroran to Kinlochleven
|Go to Part 5
|Kinlochleven to Fort William
|Go to Part 6
Other walks nearby
|WHW - Day 2 - Dryden to Rowardennan
|Forth & Clyde Canal & Antonine Wall
|Duncryne from Gartocharn
|Beinn Eich & Doune Hill
|WHW - Day 3 - Rowardennan to Inverarnan
|Ben Venue from Loch Achray
|Ben A'an from Loch Achray
|Callander, Samson's Stone & Coilhallan Wood
Recommended Books & eBooks
The West Highland Way
Guidebook 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.
Walking Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
A 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.