West Highland Way, Scotland

 

 

 

 

The West Highland Way is described as one of the top ten walks in the World, with approximately 30,000 people completing it each year.  It is a linear walk of  96 miles (154km), from Milngavie just north of Glasgow to Fort William, in Western Scotland. The route mainly follows paths, old Military roads, and drovers paths. The scenery is varied throughout, from the banks of Loch Lomond, through forest, over Rannoch Moor to Glencoe, crossing a ridge to Loch Leven, and following Glen Nevis to Fort William. The average walker takes between 6 and 9 days to complete it, the only constraints being the lack of suitable accommodation along the way. Extra days of walking could be added, e.g. Ben Lomond, mountains in Glencoe and finally Ben Nevis.

It is essential to choose the time of year carefully taking into account: Scotland's weather, the midges and a week of motorbike trials that take place at the beginning of May each year. It is advisable to book all accommodation in advance, as there is a shortage (except if you fancy camping or wild camping).

This walk had been recommended to us by various people. After looking at the ten day advance weather forecast we decided the week before we set out to undertake the walk, booking all accommodation/campsites and luggage to be carried prior, to leaving home.

Monday 13th May Milngavie to Balmaha, Day 1

We had travelled up to Milngavie, Glasgow the night before by train from Manchester (where we live). We checked into the Premier Lodge (there are 2 very close to each other), where our luggage would be collected from and carried for us to our next destination. It was a beautiful sunny day, with a good weather forecast for the week.

We left the hotel at 7.30am and went to the nearby Tesco to purchase sandwiches, fruit etc for lunch. The walk begins from an obelisk in the centre of town, which the locals are more than happy to give you directions to. We called in Greggs Bakery nearby, and sat on a bench by the start of the walk, eating our breakfast whilst watching many excited walkers arrive. After taking the customary photos we set off on the clearly marked path, and soon left the town through miles of beautiful bluebell woods.

Greggs Bakery, Monday to Saturday 6.30am- 5.30pm. Sunday 9am-4pm  6 Douglas Street, Milngavie, G62 6PB https://www.greggs.co.uk/

We continued, passing a picturesque lake on the right an hour later, arriving at
Beech Tree Restaurant and Cafe Bar at 10.40am. This looked lovely, with breakfast served from 10.30am-12, and an extensive food menu. There is an attractive picnic area, if you are eating your own food. The cafe is set in the old station, the line was shut in 1951. We continued as we had eaten earlier. http://www.thebeechtreeinn.co.uk/

We passed Turnip the Beet Cafe at 11am, they had a lunch time deal on and drinks and cake. https://www.turnipthebeet.co.uk/  Again we passed by. Many walkers spend day one walking from Milngavie to Drymen a distance of 12 miles, we had decided this would be too short a day so continued. We ate our lunch at 12.30pm, with the first fantastic views of Loch Lomond. Loch Lomond is the largest lake in Great Britain and provides Central Scotland with its drinking water. The walk continues through fields and forests, until at 2.15pm we reached a split in the path. The road to the left can be taken to Balmaha, which is a great alternative if you are tired or the weather is poor. The main West Highland Way path goes to the back of Conic Hill. We took this following gravel and earth paths, with sustained steep sections, some steps and a stile and finally attained the top of the path at 3.30pm. We thought this was well worth the effort with tremendous views over Loch Lomond. From here there is a path to the left which goes to the top of the Hill (361m), we opted not to do this, and sat looking at the views instead.

The path is not easy going down, being steep and stony. We reached the car park in Balmaha at 4.15pm. Conic Hill is a popular walk from Balmaha, and we passed many people walking up.

In Balmaha there is a village shop which is open every day from 7.30-10pm, useful but quite expensive. We bought bread, salmon, and tomatoes for tea. There is a coffee and ice cream shop next door to the village shop that shuts at 6pm, also The Oak Tree pub, which has accommodation and a lovely if slightly expensive menu.  https://www.theoaktreeinn.co.uk/

We stayed at the Balmaha Inn booking in advance on Bookings.com,  expensive at £99.00 for a very small modern room, but with fantastic views over the lake. When we checked in we found that the breakfast is not served till 8am, and having another long days walk would have preferred breakfast earlier.  https://www.balmahainn.com/

However, day one had gone better than we thought, it was a beautiful day, with fantastic views, great weather and new friends to meet.

Distance Miles 20.41

Duration of Walk Hours  9.11

Average Pace Min/Mile  27

Steps 56260

Elevation gained in feet 1844

Tuesday 14th May Balmaha to Beinglas Campsite, Inverarnan, Day 2

 

 

 

 

Apprehensive of the long day ahead we were up at 7am, packed, and dropped 2 bags off for collection. Sometimes we skip breakfast and leave early but having paid £99 to stay we waited till 8am for breakfast. The very cosy breakfast room opened at 8am on the dot, scuppering our thoughts of trying to leave early!! Fortunately it was a buffet breakfast, we ate quickly whilst chatting to fellow walkers, and eventually left at 8.30am, at least an hour later than would have been ideal.

We followed the path along the lakeshore and after 1.5 miles a car park and toilets are reached at Milarrochy Bay. After a further half a mile Milarrochy Bay campsite, followed shortly afterwards by Cashel campsite with a shop claiming to be the last one for 20 miles. In hindsight we would have stayed here instead of at the Balhama Inn, saving ourselves money, and saving us an hour's walk today. If camping, food for dinner could have been bought in the village shop in Balmaha. A further campsite comes into view at Sallochy with water and toilet facilities, with lovely pitches overlooking the lake.
https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/ukcampsites/campingintheforest/camping-in-scotland/cashel/

After 7 miles we arrived at the Rowardennan Hotel which serves food all day, with a lovely beer garden backing onto the lake and has accommodation. We ate our sandwiches on the jetty with fantastic views of the lake, then continued the walk along the lake. After about half a mile, a sign is reached, which points the West Highland Way down along the lake. Our breakfast companions had mentioned this split to us, they were taking the flatter path straight on, the one not signposted, which is the alternative route. However this misses the views of the Lake. We were unsure so took the path down following the rocky shore line, again with fantastic views. If the weather is bad, or you are tired, or just don't fancy a rocky undulating walk continue along the upper path, until the paths meet again in about 2/3 miles. We were happy that we chose the one by the lake, but there is a lot of lake to come later.

https://www.rowardennanhotel.co.uk/

Another 7 miles/3 hours from Rowardennan Hotel we reached a fantastic waterfall. Crossing the bridge over this we came to Inversnaid Hotel. The bar was open, snacks could be bought and there was an outside drinking water tap. We bought orange cordial (a bargain at 25p a pint) and cake, and sat outside with fellow walkers, enjoying sublime views of the lake. 

https://www.inversnaidhotel.com/

With a further 7 miles to walk we set off again following the lake along a very rocky undulating path, making it difficult to go at any speed. If you have booked a hotel on the other side of the lake there are various points where one can hoist the ball to call the ferry from Ardleish to Ardlui for the ferry to come to collect. With ten ferries a day, we personally did not see this in action, nor meet anyone who took this option, and went for the safe bet of continuing our walk. After 9 hours of lakeside walking at 5pm, the path leaves the lake to the right going up and down a hill. We arrived at our home for the night, Beinglas Campsite at 6.40pm. Again another fantastic day. We camped in the field, adjacent to the very clean shower/toilet block. If you don't want to camp check out the camping cabins. We visited the small shop, and ordered steak pie in the lovely onsite pub, again meeting fellow walkers. The walk passes through the campsite, alternatively there is The Drovers Inn pub with food and accommodation at Inverarnan, slightly off the track.
https://www.droversinn.co.uk/ Inverarnan

https://www.beinglascampsite.co.uk/

Distance Miles  22.30

Duration of Walk Hours  10.35

Average Pace  Min/Mile  28

Steps 63554

Elevation gained in feet  1762

Wednesday 15th May Beinglas Campsite, Inverarnan to Tyndrum, Day 3

 

 

 

 

After a quiet night camping we were up at 7.15am. There was morning dew on the grass and lots of midges whilst we packed up the tent. We treated ourselves to breakfast in the onsite pub, sharing a breakfast roll and coffee. £6.50

As it was a shorter day we eventually left at 8.45am again with fantastic weather, following the track by the river, railway line and main road. After about 2 hours of walking the path goes under the road leaving the valley passing an honesty box and continues on the old military road. Again with sublime views. As soon as the trees are met (11.30am) there is a 3 way split. The right goes downhill to Crianlarich, with accommodation and a shop, and straight on to the main road. We turned left through the forest signposted towards Fort William, following waymarkers up the hill, stopping to eat our lunch under the shade of the trees. 6 miles walked and 23 degrees C. We passed signs for Ewich Bed and Breakfast 200m off the track http://www.ewich.co.uk/wp/

After an hour's walking through the forest the path emerges under the railway line, and crosses the main road.  Take care as this is a busy road without a crossing.
At 1.30pm we arrived at Strathfillan Wigwam holiday site where there is a shop, cafe, food, souvenirs, toilet etc and also has camping, showers and camping cabins. https://www.wigwamholidays.com/strathfillan

After a further 5 minutes walk we saw signs for Artisan Cafe, open 7 days 10am-4pm. Shame that this was not signed before. http://artisancafetyndrum.co.uk/

We arrived at 2.30pm, at tonight's destination-Muthu Ben Doran Hotel, Tyndrum, a short day of 13 miles. I would really recommend this hotel as it was very good value for money, and certainly lovely to rest in a hotel room. If you need to leave the walk Tyndrum is on the Oban/Fort William/Skye/Glasgow bus route.

We walked round Tyndrum which is a small village, but has all you could need, with 2 shops, 3 restaurants, a pub and cafe. We ate at the Tyndrum Inn, steak pie and gammon, good value for money. http://thetyndruminn.co.uk/ Just to inspire us for further walking, we watched The Wild film on our tablet, which is about the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA a total of 2500 miles. 

 https://www.muthuhotels.com/ben-doran-hotel/en/index.html

Distance Miles 12.28

Duration of Walk Hours  6

Average Pace  Min/Mile 29

Steps  35536

Elevation gained in feet  1506

Thursday  16th May Tyndrum to Glen Coe, Day 4

 

 

 

 

We left Tyndrum at 7.45am following coffee and malt loaf for breakfast in our room. We visited Brodies shop which sells groceries, maps etc, posted as the last shop for 44 km to Kinlochleven, buying yoghurt, cheese and bread, and chatted to fellow walkers going the same way.  http://brodies.webeden.co.uk/


Again the walk is well signed with an obvious path to the right of the shop. We reached Bridge of Orchy station after 7 miles or 2 and a half hours. A rather unfriendly sign says toilets at the station are only for train customers. We called into the Bridge of Orchy hotel for coffee, meeting a lovely young American couple, regaling tales from their Pacific Crest Trail - a coincidence since we watched the film the night before.
http://www.bridgeoforchy.co.uk/

 

We left The Bridge of Orchy at 11am, taking the path which goes up hill with tremendous views over Loch Tulla with mountains in all directions. Alternatively again, given walkers' and weather conditions, an old road can be taken giving a flat walk, rejoining the WHW at Inveroran Hotel. We stopped to chat to fellow walkers we had met earlier, who were having drinks outside Inveroran Hotel. https://www.inveroran.com/

We followed the path up through the trees, sitting in the shade to eat our sandwiches. The path was an old Parliamentary road built by Thomas Telford in 1803  for the movement of cattle and sheep being driven to market, and used in this fashion until 1933. The temperature must have been 25 degrees, fairly warm for walking, I had my umbrella up to keep the sun off!! The trees end to reveal the vast expanse of Rannoch Moor, again truly magical with views in all directions. We followed the old drovers path again taking our time to enjoy the views and chat to walkers, being in no hurry to reach our campsite.

Eventually at 4pm, we came over the last crest to see the expanse of Glencoe before us. We were camping at Glencoe Mountain resort, which can only be described as a bit of an eyesore in such sublime scenery. We arrived at 4.30pm and paid  £6.00 to camp, and a £1 each for a shower. There is a cafe which shuts at 8.30pm, where we ate dinner. The menu was limited, with burgers, baked potatoes etc, but I really enjoyed my tuna baked potato. There are fantastic views, a phone charging station in the cafe, free WIFI  is available for 2 hours. This is a fairly small campsite with not much space between the tents. When we stayed there was a fair amount of noise from fellow campers, and people in camper vans.

https://www.glencoemountain.co.uk/

 

Distance Miles 18.09

Duration of Walk Hours  8.5

Average Pace  Min/Mile  29.17

Steps  52516

Elevation gained in feet  2000

Friday 17th May Glen Coe To Kindlochleven,  Day 5

 

 

 

 

Today is a shorter day of 12 miles to Kindlochleven. We were up at 7.15am packed the tent and dropped the luggage off to be collected later. Disappointingly the wifi had been turned off and the cafe did not open till 9am. We started the walk at 8.15am arriving at Kingshouse Hotel at 9am. Kingshouse was originally built in the early 1750s as a barracks and a safe house for travellers. Most of the premises have recently been re-built, people that we met really enjoyed staying there. We later found that there is free camping available behind the hotel, together with free showers and toilets. Had we known about the camping we would have camped there.

We had a delicious full Scottish breakfast for £7.50 in Kingshouse, served by the very friendly Mark. This is the only food and toilets for the day. We left Kingshouse at 9.30am following the obvious path over the bridge continuing along the easy path for an hour to a car park (No facilities). After the car park the path turns right and heads up a hill taking us 45 minutes to reach a cairn on the top of the ridge. This is one of the few points of the walk where it is not signed, and the path splits. We checked our map and followed the path straight on downhill .

 https://www.kingshousehotel.co.uk/

Leaving Glencoe behind, fantastic views to the north opened up, with a view over to the huge reservoir built originally for the aluminium smelting plant in Kinlochleven. When the reservoir was built in1904 at 8 miles long it was the largest reservoir in Europe. The Aluminium plant shut in 2000, part is now a brewery and part an ice- climbing centre-The Ice Factor. The walk follows a track for a few miles, then follows huge water pipes into the village, where the path splits, we took the left turn to The Ice Factor, arriving at 1.45pm. The cafe in the Ice Factor  Climbing Centre had been recommended, we had delicious soup, and drinks. There is also a walking shop here in case you have lost any equipment. If wishing to fill the afternoon, The Ice Factor includes the world's biggest indoor ice climbing facility, the UK's largest purpose built rock climbing wall, outdoor climbing ropes etc, looked like fun to me. It was quiet when we were there, but competitions are regularly held here, and activities can be booked in advance.
https://www.ice-factor.co.uk/

We went to the Co-op store in the pretty village, then walked about a mile to check in at the McDonald Hotel. We had booked a cabin in advance for £40. This had 2 bunk beds in it, sharing the shower block with campers. The staff here were very friendly, with a lovely bar serving dinner, and breakfast from 7am. For campers/cabins there is a laundrette, £5.00 for wash and dry, and a kettle in the kitchen. Certainly a step up from Glencoe campsite the previous night. Rooms are also available, but were full when we booked. The cabin had beautiful views down the lake. Dinner was bought from the Co-op in Kinlochleven. It was lovely just  to relax in the cabin.  https://www.macdonaldhotel.co.uk/

Maybe in hindsight, if we had camped at Kingshouse the night before, and skipped eating breakfast there, we would have arrived in Kinlochleven at lunch time. We could have then walked the final stage to Fort William in the afternoon. This would make it a 5 day walk - just a thought. Especially as we had beautiful weather for the first 5 days. But our accommodation and bags being carried had been booked in advance, so we could not change our plans. We did meet many people who were carrying all their kit, and wild camping (which is legal in Scotland), enabling them to have more flexibility.

 

Distance Miles 10.57

Duration of Walk Hours  5.34

Average Pace  Min/Mile  31.4

Steps 32276

Elevation gained in feet  1232

Saturday 18th May Kinlochleven to Fort William, Day 6

 

 

 

 

Today was the last day of the walk so mixed emotions, but always looking forward the achievement of completing a walk. So far we have had 5 days of beautiful weather, however today the weather has turned, and it started to rain as soon as we left the cabin at 8am. The first day of not wearing our shorts.  Still the clouds were high, and as we walked up hill, there were fantastic views back over Kinlochleven and to the path we had taken the previous day. The path goes steeply up through the trees  climbing 250m (820 feet), after an hour reaching a junction to turn right.

The path then enters a beautiful deserted valley with the remains of old cottages. This certainly would have been a peaceful place to live. This is known as the big pass at 330m (1082 feet) a route used since the time of cattle drovers. Another hour passes, the path going round a sheep pen by trees. We stopped here to put on more waterproofs. After another 15 minutes the path splits. If the weather is very bad there is an option at this point to go along a road following the map shown on a very useful notice board. This shows the final stretch of the official walk through Glen Nevis, passing Ben Nevis on the right hand side which we took. Unfortunately it was wet weather and the cloud was right down. At 1pm we were at the top of the ridge with views down into Glen Nevis valley where we stopped for a quick sandwich, even though it was still wet. 

We had booked 2 nights camping in Glen Nevis campsite (it turned out booking was  not necessary). We continued down, checked in at the campsite, picked up our bags which had just been dropped off, and put up our tent. We then continued along The West Highland Way which passes the campsite, along the main road for 2 and half miles to the finish in Fort William.

We walked into Fort William coming across the old sign signifying the end of the walk, by a big shop and a roundabout. The end of the path has subsequently been moved a mile down the road. We followed the path past the station, supermarkets, and along the pedestrianised shopping street to the new finish. There is a bench with a statue of a walker, a finish line and a map on the floor depicting our route. We were pleased to have finished.

Overlooking the finish is the ever reliable Wetherspoons pub where we went for food, and had a lovely table in the window watching fellow walkers arriving. We went to the Crofter pub to watch the English F A Cup final. https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pubs/all-pubs/scotland/highland/the-great-glen-fort-william

Following this we visited Tesco to pick up the next day's provisions, then as we were not looking forward to walking back down the main road in the rain caught a taxi back to the campsite. There is a taxi rank outside Tesco and a very friendly driver charged us £9.00 for the journey back. In Fort William there are many shops, bars, cafes and walking shops.

We had already decided to have the true end of our walk on the top of Ben Nevis, so were looking forward to walking up that the next day. 

 

Glen Nevis campsite is a very nice place to stay, with a shop open from 8am till 8pm, outdoor cafe onsite serving hot drinks, breakfast and snacks for dinner, open according to season, breakfast 8am-10am, and dinner  5-9pm. 300 metres along the road is a bar/restaurant, open from 11am till 11pm. Overall a lovely site in a quiet location a two and a half mile walk from Fort William. The campsite is a very convenient place to stay, being on the WHW path and very convenient for an ascent of Ben Nevis. It is very clean, and has laundrette, hot showers and sinks in a kitchen, but sadly no cooking facilities. . http://www.glen-nevis.co.uk/campsite

 

Distance Miles  16.53

Duration of Walk Hours  8.10

Average Pace Min/Mile 29.41

Steps  48390

Elevation gained in feet 1966

Sunday 19th May Ben Nevis, Day 7

 

 

 

 

Following on from completing the West Highland Way and whilst we were in Fort William we decided to extend the trip by an extra day and walk up Ben Nevis. At 1345m (4403 feet) it is Britain's highest mountain climbed by about 125,000 people each year. There is one main path known as "The Tourist Path" a misnomer in itself, as it is a hard walk.


After a night at Glen Nevis Camping and Caravan park, we ate a delicious bacon roll and coffee from a dispensing food van onsite, next door to the shop. The weather forecast had looked good earlier in the week but since then had been changed. We were now told rain, showers, low cloud, but probably drying up later. Seeing this we left a bit later than we would normally do.

We turned right out of the campsite and followed the road past the restaurant, crossing over the road by the youth hostel. We crossed the bridge over the river, commencing the walk at 9 30am by a very useful information board. This path climbs steeply by a copse and after about 20 minutes turns right to join the main path coming from Glen Nevis Visitors Centre. Here is a sign for Ben Nevis, and a bench, from which we had our last view for many hours.  Low cloud was experienced from here onwards. 

The path was busy with people most of whom started at the visitor centre. The path is obvious, and we reached a tarn at 10.45am, turned right and came to a very pretty waterfall. We continued up the zigzag path, most of the first section has been improved over the last few years with signs saying not to use the old path to avoid further erosion. It was raining most of the way up with no views at all, so apart from talking to people coming down, and going up, we listened to podcasts on our phones. 

We had been told there was snow near the top, but we were still surprised to see it completely covering the path. It was fairly tricky using a walking stick for balance. With further patches of snow, fog, and steep cliffs to the left of the path which need to be avoided, it is not a route for novices. We reached the top at 1.30pm, exactly as the guide book says, 4 hours after leaving. The rain managed to stop whilst we ate a quick lunch, it was rather cold even in my 5 layers of clothes. On the top is the highest war memorial in Great Britain, a trig point, a weather station which has been there since 1902  and the ruins of a shelter. It is a shame given the weather and the number of people who climb the mountain each year there are not more facilities. We have walked extensively in Germany and many times come to a welcoming refuge with hot food and drinks sold, it is a shame these don't seem to be available in the UK. 

As it was so cold we left the summit after a quick sandwich, and even quicker photos. It began to rain again and with the wind chill made it quite cold. The fog had got worse too. There are a couple of large cairns marking the path, even so we met a couple of walkers who had got lost. Beware of the steep cliffs either side of the path.
We hurried down, and one and a half hours after the summit we were sitting by a waterfall, when suddenly all the mist cleared. We enjoyed the vista of the valley, Loch Linnhe and mountains and lochs beyond. We continued down passing a huge tarn (Red Burn) which had been completely shrouded in mist on the way up. I was surprised to see so many people still making their way up. I was in two minds whether to tell them about the awful conditions on top, and as it was now 3pm they probably would not reach the top before 5pm. Still this is summer and it is light till after 9pm, and the weather did seem to be improving. 

We continued down on the well constructed path, arriving at the information board at 5pm. It had been at long day of 4200 feet of elevation, 9.7 miles of walking, together with some very bad weather. We met many friendly people. We then ate a delicious dinner in the Glen Nevis restaurant, before returning for showers and another night in our tent. http://www.glen-nevis.co.uk/food-and-drink


A very enjoyable day. We wore boots, warm clothes, waterproof coats and and ponchos, and took plenty of food and water. Many people had fewer clothes, no hats and gloves on and wore trainers, I could only assume that they were cold and had very wet feet!! 

 

Distance Miles 9.7

Duration of Walk Hours  8.45

Average Pace  Min/Mile 54

Steps  43381

Elevation gained in feet  4261

 

Accommodation we stayed in for the West Highland Way

https://www.balmahainn.com/ Balmaha

https://www.beinglascampsite.co.uk/ Inverarnan

https://www.muthuhotels.com/ben-doran-hotel/en/index.html Tyndrum

https://www.glencoemountain.co.uk/ Glen Coe

https://www.macdonaldhotel.co.uk/ Kinlochleven

http://www.glen-nevis.co.uk/campsite Glen Nevis/Fort William

 

Places to eat along the way

https://www.greggs.co.uk/ Milngavie

http://www.thebeechtreeinn.co.uk/ Dumgoyne

https://www.turnipthebeet.co.uk/ Dumgoyne

https://www.theoaktreeinn.co.uk/ Balmaha

https://www.rowardennanhotel.co.uk/Loch Lomond

https://www.inversnaidhotel.com/ Loch Lomond

https://www.wigwamholidays.com/strathfillan Strathfillan

http://thetyndruminn.co.uk/ Tyndrum

http://www.bridgeoforchy.co.uk/ Bridge of Orchy

https://www.inveroran.com/ Inveroran

https://www.kingshousehotel.co.uk/Glencoe

https://www.ice-factor.co.uk/ Kinlochleven

http://www.glen-nevis.co.uk/food-and-drink Glen Nevis

https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pubs/all-pubs/scotland/highland/the-great-glen-fort-williamFort William

 

Books Used

Walking the West Highland Way, Terry Marsh - Cicerone publications, including a very useful 1:25,000 route map booklet. This has a similar format to books we have used previously.

West Highland Way, by Charlie Loram and Joel Newton. This book took a bit of getting used to being in a more unusual format using sketched maps, etc But it is definitely very useful once this has been overcome with very detailed descriptions.

The walk itself is very well signposted, so maybe the books are not strictly necessary, however  they provide a very useful source of information, with planning the trip, accommodation, shops, features of historical interest etc.

Ordnance Survey maps are available of the whole path, but I feel that these are not necessary, but would have been interesting to find areas of interest off the walk, i.e. the names/heights of surrounding mountains.

For Ben Nevis we used Ordnance Survey Map 41, Ben Nevis, Fort William and Glen Coe. However once the initial path had been found, we did not use it again.

Advice

 

The West Highland Way is a fantastic walk, and one that cannot be recommended highly enough - providing you get the weather. I can only imagine how bleak places like Rannoch Moor are in bad weather. 

Scotland has a reputation especially in this area for midges(small biting insects,) which tend to come out in the morning or evening, but all day if the weather is damp. We walked prior to the main midge season of June,  and still we saw them. We used insect repellent to try to keep them away. The taxi driver in Fort William said at times his car is black with them. 

It has to be said that this is a walk through countryside, not really visiting any centres of population. Tyndrum had tourist facilities and Kinlochleven was pretty. We met some Americans who were disappointed, as they expected there would be more small villages like on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. 

Many people we met had booked up to a year in advance unlike ourselves, who had watched the weather forecast the previous week. There is a lack of hotel rooms along the way, and we managed to book into 2 hotels, one cabin, and then camped for 4 days. The camping was made so much easier as we had all kit transported for us. We met other people (younger) who were carrying all their kit and wild camping, i.e. just staying where the whim took them. 

This walk can be broken down into smaller stages if hotels are booked well in advance. This together with the bag carrying service makes the walk accessible to more people. We did not find the walk particularly difficult as there is not much altitude involved, however we did choose to walk some long stages. The path alongside Loch Lomond is beautiful, but quite tricky, with lots of rocks on the path. 

It is 95 per cent very well signposted, together with clear paths. All our luggage was efficiently transported for us, booking it through Sherpa transport, as we had previously used them. I think that there are possibly cheaper companies, and many adverts along the way, in case you have a change of heart. 

We met some walkers who to us seemed to be carrying very heavy bags. Some we met later with injuries, one couple had to give up, and said they would return next year with less kit. To make the walk more enjoyable bring lighter packs, or have the luggage carried for you. We realised when walking the Coast To Coast Walk last year, that the majority of people had bags carried, including young people who were camping.

We walked the path in mid-May which has the benefit of attractive spring flowers, huge banks of bluebells, and lovely long evenings.  

Websites Used

https://www.westhighlandway.org/

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/bennevis.shtml

http://www.sherpavan.com/trails/west-highland-way.asp

https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

https://www.mapmywalk.com/

http://www.mwis.org.uk/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather

www.bookings.com