The West Highland Way is a classic long-distance trek, covering over 95 miles (150km) from Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William in the Highlands.
Joining a West Highland Way guided walking holiday allows you to fully appreciate the stunning scenery, learn about the area’s history and legends, as well as identifying the flora and fauna along the route. Traversing the ‘bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond and across the atmospheric Rannoch Moor, past dramatic Glencoe and over the high pass of the Devil’s Staircase before finishing in Fort William, this trek is truly magical.
Today you’ll meet your guide at Glasgow Queen Street Station at 8:30am. We’ll take a short train journey to Milngavie, where we’ll drop off our bags, and then we start our West Highland Way tour! Although starting close to Glasgow, you are quickly walking through open countryside. This part of the journey follows what was an important route in pre-industrial times and your guide will help you spot some standing stones from the late Stone Age. We’ll arrive at the accommodation tonight in time to settle in before enjoying a welcome dinner – and possibly a dram of the local Glengoyne whisky too. (L, D)
Walk details: 19 km/ 12 miles | approx. 6 hours | 210m/690ft ascent
The trail leaves Drymen and passes through Garadhban Forest. Leaving the forest, we’ll take a detour to climb Conic Hill. Though just 361m high, it offers fantastic views over Loch Lomond. Reaching the eastern banks of Loch Lomond at Balmaha, we follow the shore through forest until you reach the tranquil setting of Rowardennan, which is nestled at the foot of Ben Lomond. (B, L)
Walk details: 21km/ 13 miles | approx. 6 hours | 430m/1,410ft ascent
Starting out with views of Ben Lomond – which translates as Beacon Hill – this is a challenging stage but the combination of differing terrain, scenery and views make it very rewarding. Rougher terrain means that the going is slower but it’s wonderful to be in such wild country. The trail improves towards the end of the day as we near our next destination, the tiny settlement of Invernarnan. (B, L)
Walk details: 23km/ 14 miles | approx. 7 hours | 475m/1,560ft ascent
We’re in the Highlands now, and our day begins with a walk through Glen Falloch before we turn northwards into Strath Fillan. The landscape gets wilder and your guide will point out some of the hardier plants that grow in this area and talk about how they were used by the clansmen and women in the past. As we approach Tyndrum, we are rewarded with wonderful views of Ben Lui rising up in the west as we reach our accommodation for tonight. (B, L)
Walk details: 22km/ 13 miles | approx. 7 hours | 475m/1,560ft ascent
This fantastic day begins with a climb out of Tyndrum, with the trail running next to the West Highland Railway line. At the top of a pass, the sweeping flanks of Ben Dorain dominate the view. A short detour will take us to a carved stone seat said to contain the sword of Robert the Bruce. Continuing north, we reach the tiny settlement of Bridge of Orchy and then Inveroran, which makes a good lunch stop. The shapely peaks of the Black Mount now lie to the west while the wilds of Rannoch Moor stretches into the distance in front of you. Following the trail across this wild moor, we eventually reach Glencoe and our accommodation. Reward yourself with a drink from the bar, while enjoying the amazing views of Buachaille Etive Mor. (B, L)
Walk details: 30km/ 19 miles | approx. 9 hours | 644m/2,110ft ascent
Walk details: 13km/ 8 miles | 350m/ 1150 ft of ascent | approx. 5 hours
This is a shorter day but with the biggest ascent of the route. Leaving the Kingshouse, we walk into Glencoe then climb the trail known as the ‘Devil’s Staircase’. It is steep with some switchbacks but very steady going with a constant gradient all the way. At the top of the pass at 547m, we are rewarded with wonderful views of Glencoe and Loch Leven. Your guide will able to point out the individual peaks in this sea of mountains you are looking at and perhaps tell the tale of The Massacre of Glencoe. Descending into the next valley, we follow a good trail to our next stop, the small village of Kinlochleven. (B, L)
Walk details: 14km/ 9 miles | approx. 5-6 hours | 430m/1,410ft ascent
The day starts with a steep climb to wake us up after breakfast! We cross a pass at 274m, taking in views across to Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in Scotland. After crossing the pass, the hard work of the day is done and we walk past old sheilings (summer dwellings for shepherds) with views over Lochan Lunn Da-Bhr. Your guide may share the story of the mythical bull that makes this area home and terrorises the crofter’s cattle! The trail then descends into beautiful Glen Nevis and then into Fort William itself where we finally reach the finish of the West Highland Way hiking tour – we’ve done it! After checking into our accommodation and freshening up, we’ll celebrate with drinks and dinner. (B, L, D)
Walk details: 22km/ 13 miles | approx. 7 hours | 475m/1,560ft ascent
After a leisurely breakfast, you are free to make your way home at a suitable time – most people will take the scenic West Highland Railway back to Glasgow, which has several departures daily. On the way back to Glasgow you can look out for some familiar sights and reflect on a truly fantastic adventure. (B)
This is a point to point itinerary where we walk to a new accommodation each day. The accommodation on this trip is graded as Classic and we handpick the best available accommodation along the route, which ranges from small guesthouses, Highland inns, small hotels and bed and breakfast establishments.
As accommodation is in short supply on this route, however, please note that some establishments will be better than others.
Our accommodation partners are carefully chosen according to a number of factors – charming locations, very good facilities and a reputation for providing Highland hospitality. Wherever available, we will reserve en-suite rooms for you however on this trip it is not always possible.
Breakfast is provided each morning, as well as lunch and snacks throughout the trip. Dinner is provided on the first and last night.
Most meals are included in the price of this holiday. Local pubs and restaurants offer a wide choice of local dishes, and by not including the cost of all meals in the holiday price, you will have the opportunity to sample the full range of their delicious menus as you wish.
On this trip, we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.
You will be met by your guide in the centre of Glasgow Queen St Railway Station underneath the main departure and arrival board at 08:30am on day 1 of your trip. You will be returned to Fort William Railway Station 10:30am on the final day of your trip.
Tour run by Wilderness Scotland. Price is £1,545 and billed in GBP. Price converted to USD$1929 via xe.com and is an estimation. To confirm your booking you are required to pay a non-refundable deposit of 25% of the trip price. Your balance must be paid by the due date shown on your invoice or in correspondence and failure to do so may result in the cost being increased or ultimately cancellation. Any cancellation must be notified in writing by the person who made the booking. If you cancel your holiday: More than 56 days prior to the start of your holiday, you will only be charged your deposit; Between 56 and 30 days, you will be charged 50% of the holiday cost; 30 days or less before the start of your holiday, or on or after the commencement of the holiday, you must pay the full holiday price. We appreciate that wholly unforeseen events may result in cancellation. We therefore strongly advise you to take out travel insurance. We may cancel the trip and refund your money for reasons such as too-few reservations. It is a fundamental booking condition that you accept the hazards involved in this sort of trip and you accept that in visiting remote and mountainous regions there is an element of on-tour flexibility. The itinerary stated in the trip dossier is indicative only and not a guarantee that a particular route will be followed or place reached. Accommodation is usually in twin or double rooms unless stated otherwise and we request that clients who book individually share a twin room. Where a single room is requested, we will try to accommodate this but a single supplement will often apply. If you are affected by an illness or medical condition which may affect your or other people’s enjoyment of the holiday, you must advise this at the time of booking or in advance of travel (if you did not have the illness or condition at the time of booking). Similarly, you must advise us of dietary requirements at the time of booking. Failure to disclose a medical condition that could affect you during the trip could place you at risk.