Hiking Project Logo

West Highland Way

Difficult
 4.0 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

The West Highland Way is a classic trail through the Highlands of Scotland extending over 96 miles.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

96.6

Miles

155.5

KM

Point to Point

1,750' 533 m

High

29' 9 m

Low

8,327' 2,538 m

Up

8,482' 2,585 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

30%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

The West Highland Way is a linear long distance footpath in Scotland, with the official status of Long Distance Route (LDR). It is 154.5 km (96.0 miles) long, extending from Milngavie north of Glasgow to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, with an element of hill hiking on the route.

Need to Know

When deciding the time of year to attempt the Way, it is good to know that midges and mosquitoes begin swarming in May and last well into August, some years even September. Also, because Scottish weather can be particularly variable, and often unforgiving, it must be respected with proper forecasting and gear (rain coats), etc.

Description

The path uses many ancient roads, including ancient drovers' roads, military roads dating to the Jacobite uprisings, and old coaching routes. It is traditionally done from south to north.

The path officially starts in Milngavie town centre, where a granite obelisk is located. It proceeds by way of country roads, an abandoned railway, the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and scenic Conic Hill on the Highland Boundary Fault, to reach Balmaha on Loch Lomond. From here, the route follows the isolated, wooded, eastern shores of the loch via Rowardennan and Inversnaid to Inverarnan.

The Way follows Glen Falloch northward to Crianlarich then northwest along Strathfillan to Tyndrum. North of Tyndrum the Way enters Glen Orchy before crossing the desolate yet beautiful Rannoch Moor and descending into Glen Coe. From here, the route climbs the Devil's Staircase before a great descent to sea level at Kinlochleven.

The final stage skirts the Mamore Mountains on an old military road and descends into Glen Nevis before finishing in Fort William. The last stage passes the foot of Ben Nevis and many crown their achievement of hiking the Way by climbing it, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom.

Due to the large number of users being constrained to a singletrack, some parts of the Way have become badly eroded. However, a considerable amount of work is undertaken to maintain the route. Those seeking solitude should consider starting their journey away from the weekends.

Flora & Fauna

Notable wildlife that may be seen includes feral goats (descendants of those left from the Clearances), red deer, and around the peaks sometimes golden eagles. Heather and wildflowers appear throughout the route.

History & Background

The trail was conceived by the late Tom Hunter from Glasgow and approved for development in 1974. It was completed and opened in October 1980, becoming the first long-distance footpath in Scotland.

Shared By:

John Martin

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#3364

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
100%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3,364

Overall
43 Views Last Month
1,056 Since Apr 28, 2018
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
100%
0%

Photos

Top of Conic Hill looking toward Balmaha
Jun 14, 2018 near Balloch, GB
Traveling through Glen Coe, Scotland.
Sep 25, 2017 near Spean B…, GB
Who is watching who by Loch Tulla?
Sep 25, 2017 near Spean B…, GB
Conic Hill Trail
Dec 6, 2017 near Balloch, GB

0 Comments

Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jun 28, 2019
Joy Shaikh
Began in Milngavie 24June. Bridge of Orchy 28 June
Jun 7, 2016
Elisabeth Longshore
96.6mi