Walking The West Highland Way

The West Highland Way, Scotland’s foremost long distance walk.

The West Highland Way was Scotland’s first, and still to this day most popular long distance walk. Stretching 96 miles (154km) from Milngavie, located to the north of Glasgow to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis. As you walk along one of its many sections, you really can’t help but notice the abundance of breathtaking scenery Scotland has to offer. The Way captures everything that is magical about Scotland’s landscape and more. The route follows well-waymarked posts via historic footpaths, disused railway lines, drovers roads and ancient army roads, these well-trodden routes are steeped in hundreds of years of history, mostly bloodied and troubled but always fascinating.

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The stunning Buachaille Etive Mor

Before setting foot in Fort William, the official end of the West Highland Way, you will have travelled through beautiful Lowland countryside, farmland, woodland and small picturesque villages. The breathtaking views that greet you as you round Conic Hill will not be forgotten as the Way starts its transition from gentle Lowland countryside into rugged Highland grandeur. The majestic view over Loch Lomond towards the Arrochar Alps and beyond gives you a sense of what lies ahead.

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Highland cow grazing on the slopes of Conic Hill

You can’t help but absorb the vastly unspoiled beauty of Loch Lomond’s eastern shore with lush oak woods, small gravel beaches, famous caves and old settlements before the Way gradually climbs towards the remnants of the once great Caledonian Pine Forest at Glen Falloch.

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The eastern shores of Loch Lomond

Travelling onwards to the villages of Crianlarich and Tyndrum, both a Mecca for hill walkers, the route takes in the ruined priory of Saint Fillan and a sword carved in stone, where a King’s sword is believed to lie in the murky depths of a lochan.

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The village of Tyndrum

Shortly after leaving Tyndrum the mighty slopes of Beinn Odhar and Beinn Dorain await you, standing like two magnificent pyramids as the route descends onto the valley floor at Auch Gleann.  Soon you will reach the secluded and welcoming stops of Bridge of Orchy and Inveroran. Enjoy a well-earned rest before crossing the wilderness that is Rannoch Moor, 50 square miles (130km) of moorland encircled by mountains.

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The Way passes below the slopes of Beinn Dorain and Beinn a’ Chaisteil.

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The wilderness that is Rannoch Moor.

While crossing Rannoch Moor the Way passes alongside the distinctive Black Mount before gradually introducing “the great herdsman of Etive” the unmistakable Buachaille Etive Mor. This majestic mountain is one of the best known and most photographed sights in Scotland.

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The stunning Buachaille Etive Mor

From the picturesque King House, you keep the Buachallie to your left as you walk towards the head of Glencoe, a simply stunning glen steeped in a sad and bloodied past, before turning north and climbing all 1850ft of the Devil’s Staircase. This vantage point, the highest on the Way, allows you to look back with great satisfaction at the terrain covered.

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Leaving the Kings House

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Climbing the Devil’s Staircase with views back towards Buachaille Etive Mor and Rannoch Mor

Splendid views of the Mamores and Ben Nevis lie ahead as you begin the winding northward trek towards Kinlochleven, a village set within the dramatic backdrop of mountain and loch.

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Walking towards Kinlochleven with stunning views towards the Mamores and Ben Nevis

Leaving Kinlochleven on the final stage of the walk, the steep ascent is worth the effort as you are constantly rewarded with fantastic views over Loch Leven and the mountains of Glencoe, before entering the Lairigmor, a formidable pass surrounded by eleven Munros.

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The accent from Kinlochleven

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Views over Loch Leven and the mountains of Glencoe

Finally, on approaching Glen Nevis with its magnificent view over to Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, standing at 4409ft, you are now nearing the journey’s end. Nestled on the banks of Loch Linnhe, the final stop of Fort William awaits.

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View towards Ben Nevis as you approach Fort William

The final stage of the journey is a walk up through Fort William’s High Street to the official finish.

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Enjoy a well-earned rest on the High Street, Fort William

These are just some of the gems the West Highland Way has to offer. A truly great Scottish adventure indeed.

Don’t forget to pick up your West Highland Way Photographic Souvenir Booklet.
32 full-colour pages jam-packed with beautiful photographs, a section guide, food tips and a ‘walkers verse’ by Alan Wickstead that everyone will relate to and much more. You’d be ‘aff yer heid’ not to pick one up!