I found the West Highland Way my most enjoyable long distance walk in Scotland. For me it has all that I want when I want to “get away from it all” something that I find needs to be done every so often to recharge my batteries. Having been born and raised in Scotland I did not really consider how beautiful the country side is – that is until I lived out of Scotland, as I do now.
So what is the West Highland Way, in a few lines – it:
- connects the central lowlands of Scotland, from Glasgow, into the heart of the Highlands, (152 km), finishing at Fort William
- passes through spectacular scenic glens and cross ridges and hills
- is the best hill walking vacation in Scotland
- has become a mecca for Scottish mountain lovers worldwide
- is the first official long distance foot path in Scotland
- starts only twenty minutes from Glasgow, easy access. (by train at Milngavie)
- travels the length of beautiful Loch Lomond
- passes Glen Coe climbing over the Devil’s Staircase
- finally nearing Fort William, Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland and Britain, towers into view
The best long distance hill walking route in Scotland is the West Highland Way. The route covers all that you would want to see when in Scotland, except the sea.
In Scotland we are spoiled for hill walking, the countryside is stunning, green and beautiful. The idea for the West Highland Way was originally conceived in the 1960’s however it was not until 1980 that the way was declared open. A lot of time was required to build parts of the route and agree with landowners walking routes through their land.
The West Highland Way has become very popular, as many as seventy thousand walkers walk the route each year. This popularity in itself has caused some problems, (when to go, erosion, accommodation), but it has helped cement the route as the foremost route to walk in Scotland, perhaps even Britain. The popularity of the West Highland Way has though helped build up the services that are available to hikers along the Way – hostels, bed & breakfasts, organized walking tours, and bag carrying companies; all of these together help make the West Highland Way more attractive for many walkers.
The following pages, on the right, are designed to help you plan your trek into the heart of Scotland, to point you in the right direction for more information, (maps, etc.), to educate (what is a midge, what is a drovers road), and hopefully to entertain a little. As usual all the mistakes are mine, so if you see any please help and point them out.
If you want to add an interesting web link or an accommodation link please email me, there is no charge for adding an accommodation link, I only ask that you link back from your own site, I would like to have as many accommodation links as possible for walkers. Additionally if you have any interesting stories from the West Highland Way, the mountains or Munros of Scotland email them to me and I will add them to the site.
I wish you the best of luck and weather in your walk along the West Highland Way, through perhaps the most beautiful area of Scotland. If you feel very energetic at the end, Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in Britain, is just waiting for you!
Other Long Distance Walking Routes in Scotland
Great Glen Way
This can be seen as an extension of the West Highland Way. It starts in Fort William where the latter finishes. The route is 117 Km / 73 miles and is suitable for cycling and walking.
Southern Upland Way
From the West to the East coast of Scotland, 212 miles / 340 Km. The route starts in Portpatrick and finishes at Cockburnspath – but like most of these routes it can be walked in either direction.
The Speyside way starts in Aviemore one of the ski centres in Scotland and finishes at Buckpool. This route is only 65 miles, however there are some extensions can make the route longer.
Rob Roy Way
The Rob Roy Way starts in Drymen and finishes in Pitlochry. You could start in Milngavie and add a day to it. The route is 92 miles / 148 km.