The iconic West Highland Way is a 96-mile trek through the breathtaking Scottish Highlands. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a first-time trekker, the West Highland Way is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
Imagine yourself winding through misty glens, crossing babbling brooks, and taking in panoramic views of lochs and mountains. You’ll pass by ancient castles, historic battlefields, and charming villages steeped in tradition. And don’t forget the wildlife! Keep your eyes peeled for red deer, golden eagles, and even the elusive Scottish wildcat.
But the West Highland Way isn’t just about the scenery, it’s about the journey too. You’ll meet fellow hikers from all over the world, share stories around the campfire, and bond over the challenges of the trail. You’ll push yourself to new limits and come out the other side feeling accomplished and invigorated.
If you’re an American tourist looking for an unforgettable experience in Scotland, the West Highland Way should be at the top of your bucket list. So what are you waiting for? Grab your hiking boots and pack your bags, it’s time to hit the trail!
Planning your West Highland Way Trip
Before you set off on your West Highland Way adventure, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your trip is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. The first thing to consider is when to go. The best time to walk the West Highland Way is during the summer months, from late May to September, when the weather is typically milder and the days are longer. However, even during the summer, it can get chilly and wet in the Highlands, so be sure to pack plenty of warm and waterproof clothing.
Another important thing to consider is how you will be getting around. You can either walk the route on your own or with a guided group. If you prefer to go it alone, you’ll need to book accommodation along the way, but don’t worry, there are plenty of options to suit different budgets and preferences. If you prefer a guided group, you will not have to worry about planning and bookings as it will be done for you.
In terms of physical preparation, it’s important to remember that the West Highland Way is a challenging route, so it’s best to start getting into shape well in advance of your trip. Even if you’re in good shape, it’s a good idea to spend some time walking on hills and carrying a backpack to get used to the weight and terrain. It’s also a good idea to bring a first aid kit and to know some basic first aid.
Finally, don’t forget to bring a good pair of hiking boots, a backpack, a map, and a compass. And don’t forget to tell your friends and family your itinerary and the expected return date.
The West Highland Way Route
Now that you’ve got the logistics sorted, it’s time to focus on the most important thing: having fun! This is your chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of the Scottish Highlands. So put on your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and let the adventure begin!
The West Highland Way starts in the charming town of Milngavie, just a short journey from Glasgow. From there, you’ll wind your way through the countryside, passing by ancient castles and historic battlefields. You’ll also have the chance to spot some of Scotland’s famous wildlife, including red deer, golden eagles, and even the elusive Scottish wildcat.
As you walk, you’ll pass through picturesque villages like Drymen, Balmaha, and Rowardennan. These villages are not only a great place to stop for a rest and a bite to eat, but they also offer a glimpse into the traditional way of life in the Scottish Highlands.
One of the highlights of the West Highland Way is the ascent of Conic Hill, which offers panoramic views of Loch Lomond and the surrounding countryside. The trail then leads you to the stunningly beautiful Loch Leven, where you can enjoy a picnic or even a swim if the weather permits.
The trail ends in Fort William, a charming town that sits at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. Fort William is a great place to end your journey, with plenty of pubs, restaurants, and shops to explore.
The West Highland Way is a challenging route, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. It’s a great way to experience the natural beauty of Scotland while testing your limits. So pack your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and let’s hit the trail!
Accommodations on the West Highland Way
When it comes to accommodation on the West Highland Way, you’ve got plenty of options! Whether you’re looking for a cozy bed and breakfast or a camping under the stars, there’s something for everyone.
If you’re looking for a little luxury, there are plenty of hotels and B&Bs along the route that offer comfortable rooms and delicious breakfasts. These accommodations are great for those who want to relax and unwind after a long day of hiking.
If you’re looking for something a little more rustic, there are several campsites along the route. These are perfect for those who want to get closer to nature and enjoy the sounds of the wilderness at night. Just be sure to bring your own camping gear and be prepared to rough it a bit.
For those who are looking for something in between, there are also several hostels and bunkhouses along the way. These offer a budget-friendly option and are great for those who are looking to meet other hikers.
No matter what your accommodation preferences, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs along the West Highland Way.
What To See On The Route
The West Highland Way is not just a walk, it’s a journey through Scotland’s rich history and culture. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the stories and legends that make this region so special.
One of the highlights of the West Highland Way is the opportunity to visit ancient castles and historic battlefields. You’ll have the chance to explore the ruins of medieval castles like Doune Castle, which has been used as a filming location for Game of Thrones, Outlander and Monty Python. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the history of the Jacobite Rising, a series of uprisings that took place in the 18th century, and visit the battlefields of Glencoe, Culloden and others.
The West Highland Way is also home to many festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Cowal Highland Gathering, the oldest and largest Highland games in the world, and the West Highland Yachting Week, which is one of the oldest and largest sailing regattas in Scotland. These festivals are great opportunities to experience the traditional music, dance, and culture of the Scottish Highlands.
But the West Highland Way isn’t just about history and culture. The area is also famous for its delicious local food and drink. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to sample traditional Scottish dishes such as haggis, neeps, and tatties, as well as fresh seafood from the nearby lochs. The region is also home to many distilleries, which offer tours and tastings of their famous single malt whiskies.
Contact Our Tour Planning Specialists
We hope this blog has inspired you to visit the West Highland Way and experience all that Scotland has to offer.
If you’re interested in exploring more of Scotland, don’t hesitate to contact our team for a bespoke Scottish tour itinerary tailored to your specific interests and needs.