Day 1 - Milngavie
Check into your accommodation in Milngavie.
Day 2 - Milngavie to Drymen
Arrive in Milngavie (pronounced ‘Mullguy’) Head to the official starting point of the West Highland Way, a grey granite obelisk which stands proudly in Douglas Street and then follow the signposted route along gentle paths through the Mugdock Country Park Estate to Craigallian Loch, where there are surprising views over the Campsie Fells to the North-East. Glencoyne Distillery makes a good stopping place, where you can pop in for a tour and a ‘wee dram’ of the famous whisky. The route then winds past Gartness and down into the attractive village of Drymen, where you’ll find your luggage waiting for you at your accommodation.
12 miles (20km), 308m (1,010ft) of ascent
Day 3 - Drymen to Rowardennan
After a pleasant walk through the Garadhba Forest, you have a choice as to whether to take the easier route beside the B837 or to walk to the top of Comic Hill, where your efforts are rewarded by truly spectacular views of Loch Lomond and the Highland Fells. Balmaha is the next stop, a touristy village on the shores of Loch Lomond, where there are regular boat trips and plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. From here, the route meanders alongside the lake, dipping down to secluded bays and rising up through the native woodland which hugs the shore to the hamlet of Rowardennan.
15 miles (24km), 765m (2,509ft) of ascent
Day 4 - Rowardennan to Crianlarich
Standing on the shore at Rowardennan take a moment to savour the quiet beauty and tranquillity of the loch. The vast lake extends over 23 miles and is dotted with 38 islands, many of which used to be inhabited. To your back towers the majestic Ben Lomond, some 974m above sea level which makes an excellent side trip if you wish to add a free day to your itinerary. The route to Inverarnan takes you along a forest track passing many waterfalls gushing down from the mountain and yields glorious glimpses of the loch through the trees. At Inversnaid, you enter the RSPB’s nature reserve. This ancient oak woodland is home to a wide array of wildlife including redstarts, red deer and black grouse. You might even encounter a wild goat. The route then climbs away from the loch to Dubh Lochan and down into Glen Falloch. The landscape feels very different as the valley narrows and you walk beside the raging river to the busy village of Crianlarich – the half way point of the trail.
20 miles (32km), 1,125m (3,690ft) of ascent
Day 5 - Crianlarich to Bridge of Orchy
From the village, you walk up through woodland, where you get good views of two great mountains, Ben More and Stob Binnein, before heading down to the River Filla and the interesting remains of St Fillian’s Priory. It’s then a pleasant walk along the valley past evidence of the area’s lead mining heritage and through glades of native trees to the tiny village of Tyndrum, a traditional stopping place for travellers heading to Oban and Fort William. The valley narrows considerably northwards as you walk beneath great majestic mountains with views straight ahead of one particularly impressively shaped mountain, Beinn Dorain. The railway is a companion to Bridge of Orchy, where you leave the valley and enjoy a lovely walk up to the top of a small ridge, where you get to see an incredible view over Loch Tulla, Black Mount and Rannoch Moor (tomorrow’s walk). Then, there is a short descent down to Inveroran, before reaching Bridge of Orchy and your accommodation for the night.
14 miles (22km), 677m (2,221ft) of ascent
*This itinerary features an overnight stay in Bridge of Orchy. The only accommodation available in this area is The Bridge of Orchy Hotel (a 4 star hotel). If you wish to stay here, a surcharge will be added. Alternatively, we can arrange a return taxi transfer to the nearby village of Tyndrum where you will stay the night. This is included in our standard price.
Day 6 - Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven
A superb day’s walking awaits you today, as you head up and over the beautiful and remote Rannoch Moor. This wild expanse is designated a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and has inspired many authors and poets. Dotted with innumerable lochans (small boggy pools), the plateau rises to around 500m (1,650ft) and is surrounded by mountains. Leaving Inveroran, the trail ascends Black Mount, an expanse of high moorland and crosses over Rannoch Moor, climbing to 445m (1,460ft). Be prepared on this section of the route. It is a good clear route across the moor, but the weather can change rapidly and it’s not the place to get caught out. The route then descends gently past the Glencoe ski station and down to Kingshouse. From here, there’s a steep walk up to the top of the Devil’s Staircase. It is a daunting name, but the reality is actually a fairly straight forward walk up to 548m (1,800ft). Your efforts are rewarded with glorious views over the Mamores and Ben Nevis peeping behind. It’s then a gentle descent down to Kinlochleven at sea level across the rugged mountainside amidst stunning Highland scenery.
20 miles (31km), 786m (2,578ft) of ascent
Day 7 - Kinlochleven to Fort William
Leaving the hustle of Kinlochleven, our final day’s walk has a mix of regret that the walk is nearly over and anticipation to reach the end. It’s a tough, but rewarding day to finish with some of the best scenery the Scottish Highlands have to offer. Starting with a steep ascent out of Kinlochleven, the trail levels off ascending gently with wonderful views over Loch Leven as you climb up to the top of the Lairigmor Pass. To your right are the Mamores, a ridge of mountains approximately 15km in length and rising steeply on the far side of the loch is the Aonach Eagach, one of the most challenging ridges in Great Britain. After the pass, it’s a gentle walk down beside a cascading mountain stream to a conifer plantation. The final leg takes you through Nevis Forest and into Glen Nevis, where you get glimpses of Ben Nevis standing 1344m (4,406ft) above sea level, with a final push into the centre of Fort William. The trip ends at the end of the walk unless you have booked extra nights or other optional services with us.
15 miles (24km), 719m (2,358ft) of ascent
We will always endeavour to accommodate you in the locations detailed in the above itinerary. Due to very high demand, some accommodation providers may occasionally have limited availability and so we may need to accommodate you in an alternative location, nearby. In this case, we will arrange a taxi transfer for you to take you from the trail to your accommodation and back again the following morning. We will notify you of this when confirming your booking.
Please note: This itinerary is a guide only. Timings are approximate.