One of the best things about going on a long-distance walk is meeting new people. Conversations along the trail can range from everyday topics (weather, trail conditions, where to spend the night) to deeply personal (family relationships, health, and reasons for walking the trail).
Often, the people you encounter on a long-distance walk have done other long walks. And that’s how we heard about The West Highland Way. In 2015, when Chris and I were walking the Camino de Santiago, we met a delightful man named Reggie (from Australia, by way of Ireland). Reggie told us about The West Highland Way–and how much he enjoyed hiking it. He highly recommended it as a future walk.
That got us thinking. And planning. And getting in touch with, Kirstin, another wonderful friend, from Scotland, who we’d met on the Camino. Kirstin had also walked the West Highland Way, and she was a great source of information and encouragement. A bonus was that we had a chance to visit Kirstin and her husband before starting the hike. We also took a 10-mile hike with Kirstin in the beautiful hill country near Selkirk.
The West Highland Way is a 96-mile trail that begins in Milngavie, a village north of Glasgow, and ends in Fort William. We walked it in eight days. Our daily distances ranged from about 9.5 to 15.5 miles.
Some of the hikers we met were camping. They had packs with sleeping bags and tents. Campers have several options: they can stay in developed campgrounds along the way, farms where they can pay a small fee to pitch a tent, or wild camp–stay on undeveloped land along the trail.
We stayed in B&Bs and small hotels along the way, and we had our bags transported so we could carry just our day packs.
All the web sites and guidebooks that deal with planning for a walk along The West Highland Way emphasize the need to be prepared for rainy weather. We began our hike on June 21st, but in the Highlands, even summer hikers need to be ready for cold, wet, windy weather. We packed stocking hats, layered clothes, rain coats, and rain pants. Fortunately, our hike occurred during a time of unusually warm and dry weather. We didn’t have a drop of rain the entire walk.
Midgies, small biting insects, are the bane of summer hikers in the Scottish Highlands. The trail along Loch Lomond is known for its midgies, and we were prepared with midgie nets. But, there was enough of a breeze on the days we hiked along Loch Lomond to keep most of the midgies away. Our midgie encounters occurred most often in the evenings when we were taking walks near our lodging.
The photo galleries below recap each of the days of our walk. To our friends we met along the way, we hope the photos bring back some good memories. And, for anyone who hasn’t yet been on the walk, we hope the pictures provide an enjoyable look at this beautiful trail across the Scottish Highlands.
- Gallery – Milngavie to Drymen
- Gallery – Drymen to Rowardennan
- Gallery – Rowardennan to Inverarnen
- Gallery – Inverarnen to Tyndrum
- Gallery – Tyndrum to Inveroran
- Gallery – Inveroran to King’s House (Glencoe)
- Gallery – King’s House (Glencoe) to Kinlochleven
- Gallery – Kinlochleven to Fort William