Walking The West Highland Way
The West Highland Way is one of the most popular walks in Scotland for good reason. This 96 mile hike stretches up the West side of Scotland, taking in a huge variety of scenery between its start at Milngavie and its finish at Fort William. The West Highland Way is an excellent way to take in the more wild aspects of Scotland, allowing hikers to experience countryside parks, loch shores, steep mountains and wide open moorlands. Despite the West Highland Way’s well trodden (and signposted) path, its vitally important that walkers are properly prepared for the near 100 mile stretch up the country.
Getting there is easy – the beginning of the walk is marked by an obelisk on Douglas Street in the centre of Milngavie, and can be reached by bus, train or car. One thing to note, is the lack of official parking for the route, and as it can take around 6 or 7 days to reach the finish; so driving may not be an ideal way to arrive.
The length of the walk obviously means that overnight preparations should be made, and previous walkers have recommended a mixture of staying at the numerous B&Bs that line the route, and camping. Under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, wild campingis permitted, however it should be done in small numbers and campers should only stay on one place for three nights at most. While camping, open fires are allowed, but fuel must be brought as cutting trees is not permitted, and collecting fire word damages the natural habitats of the many creatures that live in the area.
Dogs are more than welcome to walk the West Highland Way presuming they are well behaved. It’s advised that walkers look for the dog section in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code before deciding to bring a four legged friend. Dog walkers should also know that Conic Hill is closed every year between mid-April and the end of May for lambing season. An alternate route is available, but this doesn’t add any time or distance on to the walk.
The West Highland Way is a well loved route that attracts walkers from all around the world, so it’s always possible that you’ll make some new friends on the way. Passing through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park and the incredible scenery through Glencoe. Its breathtaking vistas of the Scottish Highlands and Islands make it an incredible destination for a weeks worth of walking, and it’s definitely one not to be missed for the well seasoned, and amateur walker alike. Make sure to get a photo of yourself at the end with the statue of a West Highland Way walker in Gordon Square in the centre of Fort William.
You can see the route in more detail here.