The West Highland Way is the most popular long-distance trail in Scotland – not at last because it leads through and past some of the most iconic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. This guide to walking the West Highland Way contains all the information you could need along the route, a detailed FAQ with trail information and some tips for tackling this incredible hike in Scotland yourself.

This post contains affiliate links which I may make a commission from. Find out more here. Walkabout Scotland provided us with free luggage transfer from Crianlarich to Fort William and VisitScotland covered the cost of our hotel in Fort William. All opinions are my own.

I hiked part of the West Highland Way in 2017 – solo hiking the whole WHW had been on my bucket list for years, but when two friends from Berlin decided to join me, I quickly rearranged my plans. Together, we hiked just over half the distance of the entire West Highland Way and spent 4 days on the trail from Crianlarich to Fort William.

This guide is based on this personal experience on the northern half of the WHW, but also an in-depth knowledge of the areas the West Highland Way leads through between Milngavie and Crianlarich.

The West Highland Way is a great activity to include in an outdoorsy and active Scotland itinerary- or dedicate an entire holiday to. It does not require a huge amount of preparation or logistical experience, but there are many things to consider when planning your holiday on the trail. This guide contains everything you need to know:

  • a detailed FAQ about the West Highland Way,
  • day-by-day trail descriptions and suggested itineraries,
  • recommendations for restaurants and places to stay,
  • budgeting tips,
  • a useful packing list,
  • my top tips for guidebooks and map material,
  • and notes on solo hiking in Scotland, especially as a woman!

Dreaming of Scotland? Listen to my immersive travel podcast Wild for Scotland!

West Highland Way FAQ

Where is the West Highland Way?

The West Highland Way leads from the southern edges of the Highlands into the heart of the Ben Nevis mountain range. It begins in Milngavie, a suburb just outside of Glasgow and ends in Fort William, the gateway to the Western Highlands.

Along the way it leads along the bonny banks of Loch Lomond, runs through the woodlands of the southern Highlands, across the wilderness of Rannoch Moor and into the dramatic mountains on the Nevis Range. It offers a variety of landscapes and some of the most remote views you can get in the Scottish Highlands.

West Highland Way Map

Check out this map for al West Highland Way recommendations:

Getting to and from the West Highland Way

Milngavie is very easy to reach by train from Glasgow Queen Street. You could also walk along the Kelvin Walkway which connects Glasgow’s West End with the West Highland Way.

Arriving in Fort William, you can either continue to explore the Scottish Highlands by public transport, or return to Glasgow by direct train. This train line – the West Highland Line – is supposedly one of the most scenic train journeys in the UK.

How long is the West Highland Way?

The West Highland Way is 96 miles (154 km) from Milngavie to Fort William.

How long does it take to walk the West Highland Way?

On average, most hikers take 6 to 8 days to complete the West Highland Way. However, if you have more time, you could easily fill a two-week holiday along the route, as there are many mountains you could climb along the route, such as Ben Lomond, Ben More, Buachaille Etive Mor or Ben Nevis. Fort William also makes for an excellent base to explore more of the Highlands by car, train, bus or on foot.

Some even hike the West Highland Way in 5 days, but that requires a very fast pace and many long days on the trail. The record lies somewhere around 35 hours and has been achieved during the annual WHW race. Challenge accepted?

Two women in the Scottish Highlands.

Budget for hiking the West Highland Way

Depending on your budget, you can go all out or do the hike on a shoestring budget. How much you spend depends mainly on two factors – where you stay overnight and where you eat.

Camping and preparing your own meals all the way are the cheapest option while staying in comfortable hotels or B&Bs and eating out every night bring up the price tag. Additional costs may include luggage transfer services, post-trail drinks in the pub or activities such as ice climbing or boat cruises along the way.

We tried to keep our budget at a low level for accommodation but were happy to spend more on warm meals, well-deserved pints and the comfort of luggage transfer.

We paid between £14 and £30 per night per person in the hostels. We usually booked private rooms and the rate always included bedding. In pubs, we spent around £15 per meal per person including an alcoholic beverage. Luggage service costs about £45 for the whole Way.

When to hike the West Highland Way

The best time for hiking West Highland Way is Spring and early Summer or Autumn. At the height of Summer, there is no denying that this is one of the most popular walking trails in Scotland, and it gets busy!

In Spring the trail is not as busy as in during the summer. Baby lambs can be spotted everywhere along the trail for added cuteness, and the dreaded Scottish midges are yet to emerge. March can still bring quite some snow, but April is a suitable month to start the hike. Just watch out for the Easter holidays, as accommodation might be busier then.

Waiting until May can have the benefit of drier weather – May is after all the driest month to visit Scotland. However, the traffic on the trail increases and early swarms of midges frequent can become a nuisance, particularly on drizzly days and around dusk. Despite May being quite a busy month for hiking the West Highland Way, fellow hikers quickly disappear behind the next corner or over a hill. The winding route of the trail constantly gives you the illusion of being alone on the trail.

You might also like: A guide to dealing with Scottish midges

A lamb in the Scottish countryside.

In autumn, from September to November, the Scottish Highlands change colours. The green grass and fern swap place with the orange bracken and purple heather. First sprinklings of snow high up in the mountains create a mysterious atmosphere. Some accommodation providers may close up early for winter and camping might get a little chilly, but hiking at this time of the year is still really spectacular.

No matter when you go, remember that this is Scotland and the weather in the mountains can change swiftly. Most of the northern half of the West Highland Way, in particular, leads through a treeless landscape. Be prepared for mercilessly sunny days as well as horrendous rainy days – there is often no shelter from the rain or sun whatsoever. Make sure you check out my packing list below!

If you want to hike Scotland during the summer months, but can’t stand the idea of crowds, check out these other ideas for long-distance trails in Scotland.

Booking with West Highland Way Tour Companies

There are many tour companies that offer West Highland Way accommodation packages for self-guided hikes as well as guided walking holidays with an experienced mountain leader. These packages usually include accommodation suitable to your budget, daily route descriptions, door-to-door luggage transfer, additional transport if your B&B is off route (e.g. in Glencoe Village) and map material.

WHW packaged can make planning and preparing for your hiking vacation a lot easier – but personally, I also think they take away the fun of planning. I like having full control over the places I stay at and how many miles I walk each day. I also like to know that what I pay goes 100% towards the businesses I deal with, and not to some middleman agency.

It can be intimidating to plan your own walking holidays in Scotland, but if you’re up for the challenge, follow my “6 Easy Steps” guide!

West Highland Way Luggage Transfer

I’m a huge fan of making my life easier where possible – especially when I’m trying something new. Why would you hike the entire West Highland Way with a heavy backpack, if you can get cheap door-to-door luggage transfer to all your accommodations, and hike only with a bay bag?!

We decided against carrying everything ourselves. We packed two bags between the three of us that we filled with spare clothes and food, and had them transported from hostel to hostel by Walkabout Scotland. Walkabout Scotland is a company providing walking holidays in Scotland, among which you can find the West Highland Way. While we drafted our itinerary and booked all accommodation ourselves, going through an experienced company like Walkabout Scotland can save you a lot of hassle navigating the many options along the way.

There are many companies offering luggage transfer:

A woman walking the West Highland Way.

How hard is it to walk the West Highland Way?

The West Highland Way is a physically and mentally challenging walk, yet it requires neither particular hiking experience or navigational skills nor extensive physical preparation. The West Highland Way is manageable with a reasonable level of fitness and a great sense of determination.

It is a great long-distance hike for enthusiastic beginners and experienced trekkers alike. It is clearly waymarked and the trail is always recognisable as such. It comes with perks such as B&Bs and pubs along the way, affordable luggage transfer services, and plenty of drop in/drop out points accessible by public transport.

That said, you will probably get blisters on your feet and a sore back from carrying your backpack. Since this is Scotland you might also have to walk through rain and storm. This is where your enthusiasm for hiking will kick in, and get you through that mental challenge.

The West Highland Way Guidebook

The West Highland Way guidebook by Charlie Loram is an invaluable source along the trail, as is the West Highland Way map by Harvey.

The map is great to get an overview of each day’s distance and terrain – we frequently checked it to get an idea of where we are and how long we had to go. While the waymarkers en route minimise navigation requirements, it is essential to have a map and know how to read it. In case of an emergency, you have to be able to tell Scottish Mountain Rescue where you are to ensure quick assistance.

The guidebook provides detailed descriptions of the trail and lots of practical advice – it’s a great resource when preparing for your trip. The only thing I would add is that the book’s estimated walking times (even with the suggested 20-30% added on for breaks) must have been calculated for very fast walkers. It usually took us longer than suggested in the book, even though we didn’t take extensive breaks.

Two women walking the West Highland Way.

Solo hiking the West Highland Way

My initial plan of solo hiking the West Highland Way never came true, but still, I asked myself, would I hike the West Highland Way by myself?

The short answer is YES.

The longer answer is that on the first day I might have been a bit nervous – it was drizzling and humid, guys hiking in groups passed by us and disappeared along the forest trail, the thought of carrying everything by myself, rather than splitting the load with my friends made my backpack seem even heavier. BUT in the end, I knew that those feelings of uncertainty were only an effect of being on a long-distance hike for the first time ever.

Since then, I have hiked solo a lot in the Scottish Highlands – both long-distance trails and summitting mountains. From these experiences, I can whole-heartedly say, that I find the West Highland Way a very safe and suitable route for female solo hikers.

I was happy to be able to share every moment of the trail with my friends, but I absolutely would encourage any woman to hike this trail on her own. There is regular phone reception, no necessity to wild camp, there are plenty of other (solo) hikers on the trail who can help you in an emergency and there are luggage transport services providing cheap transfer of your bag so you only have to carry a day bag. It could not be easier to dip your toes into solo trekking!

You might also like: The Power of Hiking Alone as a Woman

A woman in hiking clothes on the West Highland Way.

West Highland Way Trail Route Planner

The West Highland Way guidebook by Charlie Loram offers a variety of route options for 6, 7 or 8 days depending on whether you camp, stay in hostels and bunkhouses or in B&Bs and hotels. Where you overnight not only depends on how many days you have for the entire route but also what kind of accommodation is available in a given village.

Since we stayed in hostels and bunkhouses all the way, I will consider this accommodation type in my route planner.

West Highland Way in 8 days

Day 1: Milngavie to Drymen – 12 m / 19 km Overnight at Kip in the Kirk

Day 2: Drymen to Rowardennan – 14 m / 22 km Overnight at Rowardennan Lodge Youth Hostel

Day 3: Rowardennan to Inverarnan – 13.5 m / 22 km Overnight at Beinglas Farm camping pods or Drovers Inn

Day 4: Inverarnan to Tyndrum – 12.5 m / 20 km Overnight at By the Way Hostel & Bunkhouse

Day 5: Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy – 7 m / 11.5 km Overnight at West Highland Way Sleeper

Day 6: Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse / Glencoe – 13 m / 21 km Overnight at Kingshouse Bunkhouse, Glencoe Youth Hostel or Glencoe Independent Hostel

Day 7: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven – 8.5 m / 13.5 km Overnight at Blackwater Hostel

Day 8: Kinlochleven to Fort William – 15 m / 24 km Overnight at Glen Nevis Youth Hostel or Fort William Backpackers

As you can see, this is a fairly relaxed approach to walking the West Highland Way and it is the route I would have followed on my planned solo hike. There are several shorter days in the itinerary and the longest day doesn’t come until the end, which means your body can acclimatise to the physical challenge of a long-distance hike before you ask too much of it.

Our route was very similar to the second half of this breakdown, the only difference is that we started in Crianlarich which added 6 m / 10 km to our first day on the trail (day 5 in this breakdown).

You might also like: 15 Things to do in Fort William

A trail leading towards a cloud-covered mountain in Scotland.

West Highland Way in 6 Days

Day 1: Milngavie to Balmaha – 19 m / 30.5 km Overnight at Oak Tree Inn or Balmaha Bunkhouse Lodge

Day 2: Balmaha to Rowardennan – 7 m / 11.5 km Overnight at Rowardennan Lodge Youth Hostel

Day 3: Rowardennan to Inverarnan – 13.5 m / 22 km Overnight at Beinglas Farm camping pods or Drovers Inn

Day 4: Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy – 19.5 m / 31.5 km Overnight at West Highland Way Sleeper

Day 5: Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven – 21.5 m / 34.5 km Overnight at Blackwater Hostel

Day 6: Kinlochleven to Fort William – 15 m / 24 km Overnight at Glen Nevis Youth Hostel or Fort William Backpackers

Comparing this to the 8-day itinerary, it is clear how much more challenging it is to do the West Highland Way in just 6 days. There are several long days around 20 miles including the first day on the trail. Worst case, if you get blisters from over-challenging your feet on the first day, it might interfere with your enjoyment of the rest of the walk.

Personally, I don’t enjoy walking more than 15 miles per day, and I certainly would not want to push that boundary several days in a row. If this is your first long-distance trail, I recommend you take it easy and if you have less than 8 days for the trail, rather just do a section of it, than rush yourself through the entire walk.

If you only have a few days and want to experience some of the best sections of the West Highland Way, without hiking the entire distance, I recommend following my 4-day WHW route from Crianlarich to Fort William.

If you have more than 8 days, I’d recommend adding a few break days to your West Highland Way route not only to give your body a break but also to explore more of the beautiful regions you hike through. A great place to take an extra day is Loch Lomond. Balloch near Balmaha is the perfect starting point for a cruise on Loch Lomond and from Rowardennan you can climb Ben Lomond, the southernmost Munro in Scotland.

You could also break in Glencoe where you can choose from a variety of activities, such as easy walks, challenging hikes, water activities or a cycle along Loch Leven.

You might also like: 13 Munros for beginners

The West Highland Way finish line in Fort William

West Highland Way Accommodation

Overall, there is a lot of accommodation along the West Highland Way and as long as you plan and book early enough, there is a place for any budget.

The cheapest way to stay along the West Highland Way is camping. There are many campsites on the trail and apart from the eastern shore of Loch Lomond – which is part of a national park – you can also wild camp as long as you stick to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

You might enjoy my guide for wild camping in Scotland!

On the other end of the spectrum, there are lovely hotels such as the traditional Bridge of Orchy Hotel or the newly renovated Kingshouse Hotel. In between, you will find a plethora of walker-friendly B&Bs, guesthouses, hostels and bunkhouses. However, not every village has the same variety of accommodation types available. Places like Rowardennan, Inverarnan, Bridge of Orchy or Kingshouse, for example, have very limited options and can book out way in advance.

No matter where you stay, I therefore highly recommend booking several months prior to your trip. If you hike the West Highland Way during high season, which is from May to August, during school holidays like Easter, or over bank holiday weekends you should look into booking accommodation by January at the very latest.

Here are the hostels we stayed at during our 4-day hike along the West Highland Way:

For our first night, we chose the SYHA Hostel in Crianlarich. It is right next to the train station and in walking distance to nearby pubs serving food. However, there are also self-catering facilities! We had a room with three single beds, out own sink and shared bathrooms just down the corridor. As per usual with hostels of the Scottish Youth Hostel Association, the hostel was clean, all facilities in great condition and the staff really helpful.

Book at SYHA Hostel in Crianlarich here!

Bridge of Orchy hotel in Scotland.

Our next stop was the West Highland Way Sleeper bunkhouse in Bridge of Orchy, which could do with an upgrade (and cleaner showers). Still, the uniqueness of sleeping in the middle of an operating train station won me over. It is also the only budget accommodation in Bridge of Orchy, apart from camping.

I was happy to return to the Glencoe Independent Hostel in Glencoe for our next night. The village is slightly off the trail, but since the bunkhouse at the Kingshouse Hotel is currently undergoing renovation (due to re-open in 2019), there is no other option than making your way to Glencoe. I spent a cosy October night at the hostel a few years ago and was not disappointed this time around. We stayed in a 4-bed dorm with shared bathroom and self-catering facilities.

Book at Glencoe Independent Hostel here!

Our favourite hostel along the way was definitely Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven. It is located in beautiful surroundings and has great self-catering facilities while also being nearby the restaurants in town. Nearby, you can even go for a refreshing dip in the icy cold river behind the hostel!

Book at Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven here!

In Fort William, we stayed at Muthu Hotel (previously, West End Hotel), a traditional highland hotel that could do with a bit of modernisation and more generous vegan breakfast options. The hotel’s location & views however, as well as the exceptionally helpful reception staff easily make up for that. We had a triple room with a bathtub – there is not more you could ask for after a long-distance hike!

Book at Muthu hotel in Fort William here!

Glencoe Independent Hostel in Scotland.

Places to eat: Vegan food on the West Highland Way

Hiking the West Highland Way as a vegan is absolutely doable. I generally prepared my own breakfast (muesli with coconut milk) and packed my lunches with bagels, store-bought hummus, snack veggies, fruit and high protein snacks like nuts and Trek bars. Most accommodation providers on the West Highland Way offer packed lunches for walkers, but satisfying vegan options are a rarity.

Vegan-friendly restaurants on the West Highland Way

On the way towards Tyndrum, we were surprised to stumble across an adorable artisan cafe called Country Mumkins. It is located a few minutes off the trail in an old church and makes it a great stop for coffee & cake or fresh lunch. Remote as it seemed, they fixed up a soy latte for me.

Also in Tyndrum, you could stop at the Real Food Cafe – an award-winning fish & chip shop with a separate vegan menu. I love their vegan burger!

Dinners were much easier sort and we ate out a lot. Most pubs we found on the West Highland Way (in Crianlarich, Bridge of Orchy, Glencoe, Kinlochleven) had a vegan option available or could prepare a vegan meal for me. Surprisingly, Fort William was the hardest town to navigate and finding coffee with plant-based milk was almost impossible.

The staff at The Grog & Gruel was very accommodating though and helped me create a vegan evening meal, and the Wetherspoon’s at the finish line also has a vegan menu. With the opening of The Wildcat cafe, there is now also a vegan cafe in Fort William!

Vegan burger and chips at the Clachaig Inn in Scotland.

Supermarkets along the West Highland Way

There are plenty of shops along the West Highland Way, although there can be up to two days between them. It is best to stock up on snacks and anything you might need before you leave – either in Glasgow or Milngavie. We packed some of our food supplies in the bags we had transported to our accommodations.

There is, for example, no shop between Tyndrum and Kinlochleven, unless you do a detour to the Glencoe Village shop 14 miles off route. Also consider, that many of the small shops along the way will have a very limited selection of supplies and might be more expensive.

You might also like: How to travel Scotland as a Vegan

West Highland Way Packing List

Packing for long-distance hiking is an art form. When you have to carry everything you need on your back, you think twice about every single piece of equipment you pack. Having your luggage transferred from door to door takes a lot of weight off your shoulders (pun intended), but you still have to put some significant thought into what to pack on your day bag.

I have written a full packing list for walking holidays in Scotland which contains all the kit I bring on my hikes, but here are some essentials you should definitely bring.

The most important piece of equipment to bring on a walking holiday is, of course, a good pair of hiking boots. I recently replaced my trustworthy, but worn-out hiking boots with a brand new pair of Zamberlan Ultra Lite boots.

Hiking with new boots comes with a great risk of blisters and worse, but the Zamberlan boots surprised me with a perfect fit, even though I only managed to take them out for two little walks prior to hiking the West Highland Way. The wrong footwear can cause an early end to any hiking adventure, so make sure you have suitable footwear and break it in before your hike!

Sturdy hiking boots, like these Zamberlan boots, are a must on your packing list for Scotland.

Just as crucial is a good backpack with a hip belt. I used my Osprey Tempest 30 daypack but I have larger backpacks for hikes where I need to bring my camping equipment.

One of my friends had brought her regular backpack from home, and while it was more stylish than my hiking pack, it lacked a hip belt. Her shoulders were thus considerably sorer due to the distribution of weight on her back. Hiking is a time when practicality is worth more than style.

You might also like: 10 Features that Make a Perfect Trekking Backpack

I bet you have heard about the dreaded Scottish midge – a tiny black insect that moves in swarms and can easily ruin your hiking holiday. They hatch sometime in May and stick around throughout the summer. They are most active in the morning and the evenings but can be annoying all day if the conditions are right. They particularly like wind-still and overcast days.

I highly recommend a midge repellent called Smidge, which was specifically developed with the Scottish midge in mind. You can pick it up at any shop in the Scottish Highlands or in outdoor shops in Glasgow.

If you decide to camp on the West Highland Way, consider investing in a midge net to protect your face – remember that the mesh of regular mosquito nets is too big and lets them right through).

Hiking the West Highland Way had been on my bucket list ever since I moved to Scotland. This photo essay is a one-stop source for inspiration and advice!

Many visitors cover the distance between Glasgow and Fort William in less than three hours by car, rushing through some of the most beautiful landscapes Scotland has to offer. Walking the West Highland Way is a unique way to explore the Scottish Highlands in a slow pace and explore these iconic mountains in-depth. This guide will set you up with everything you need.

Have you hiked the West Highland way before? Share your story in the comments!

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68 thoughts on “A Complete Guide to Walking the West Highland Way

  1. John says:

    This was a wonderful read. Thanks for spending the time to write your trip and itinerary for us to enjoy and learn from. I’ll definitely put this trip on my list. I especially like the transfer companies….

    • Kathi says:

      Hi John, thanks for reading my guide! The baggage transfers are one of the biggest benefits of the WHW – makes it so much easier, especially for beginners who don’t want to carry too much on their backs!

  2. scott says:

    i am planning to do the hike mai 2024, i usually hike with my dog 3 to 4 days
    and we usually wild camp.
    any tips for dogs / wild camping


    • Kathi says:

      I’ve never hiked with a dog, so don’t have any tips for that; but in terms of wild camping, there are definitely spots to do that along the route. Just bear in mind that it’s a popular route, so you may not find the same solitude along the West Highland Way as in more remote parts of the Highlands. We stayed in hostels along the way which was a nice compromise for not having to carry too much, but I know there are lovely wild camping spots around Bridge of Orchy and the Kingshouse – I’m sure there are more! Cheers, Kathi

  3. Anna says:

    Thank you for the guide – very useful. My dream is to hike the west highland way, but I worry about the food, I’m vegan due to health reasons. It sounds doable, but not easy. Do you know if its possible to buy vegan freeze dried food on the route?

    • Kathi says:

      I’d say it will be pretty easy – but maybe not the most exciting culinary experience ? I doubt you’ll find vegan freeze-dried food en route – it’s already hard enough to find that in the shops in Glasgow; I usually order it online because so much freeze-dried food has milk or egg powder through it…

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  5. Andrew says:

    Love the West Highland Way! My favorite stage is from Bridge of Orchy to the Kingshouse. Did you do the Great Glen Way as well?

    • Kathi says:

      Not yet, but it’s on the list!! I also loved that section – the path around Rannoch Moor is so beautiful!

    • Kathi says:

      I hiked this after a 7-week dry spell + heatwave so there were barely any midges for most of the way. I’d imagine they’d be worse in a rainier and cooler weather. I didn’t have any ticks either, but it’s always good to check as you’re walking through tall grass a lot.

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  7. Deborah says:

    Thanks for the great post, Kathi! Do you know if there is a shop in Milngavie where I can buy a propane canister for my MSR pocket rocket camp stove? I’ve tried googling but can’t find anything !

    • Kathi says:

      Hm, I’m not sure about Milngavie, but there are many outdoor shops in Glasgow near the train station from where you get the train to Milngavie. On Buchanan Street there is a Tiso and on Sauchiehall Street there is a mountain warehouse – both might stock the right kind of canisters!

  8. Anna says:

    Thank you! This is so helpful. Planning on going on a solo hike in October. Can’t wait and I will be using your advice

  9. willemijn louws says:

    thank you for your lovely blog, really helpful! want to do the hike as a solo female and because of your post i gained some confidence doing it alone 🙂 maybe a stupid question, but seeing you are also a photographer, may i ask what lense you used for those lovely pictures?

    • Kathi says:

      Yay, go you – it’s such a wonderful walk!! I carried my Canon 5d on this hike with a 17-40mm lens. Last time I did a multi-day hike with such a heavy camera…! Now I have a Canon m3 with the kit lens and love the photos! Have a great hike – let me know how you got on!

  10. Melissa Boswell Munoz says:

    I am so glad i came across your blog! I will be doing this trek quite soon but almost talked myself out of going, little bit of “what if i get lost” panic happening! I’m in my late 40s and this is my first time going solo on a long distance hike. The information you included in your post was exactly what I have been looking for, which is information about signage/trail markers, what type of experience is required, what type and how much equipment to bring, etc. Thank you for this post:)
    Melissa .

    • Kathi says:

      Hi Melissa, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m very happy I could convince you otherwise and provide so much useful input for your hike! It’s a wonderful journey and I think it is very very hard to get lost on the WHW 😀 Have a wonderful hike and I’d love to hear how it went! Cheers Kathi

  11. Louise Cameron says:

    Hi. Really enjoyed reading this on the West Highland Way. I am planning this for next May with my sister in law. How did you split the days – did you do a 7 day itinerary. Would you recommend this? We are in our 50s, pretty good walkers but want to enjoy it and not feel like we’re on a route march! Thank you!

    • Kathi says:

      Hi Louise, oh you’ll have such a wonderful time on this trail! We only walked the northern half from Crianlarich to Fort William in four days. The hiking guide book I link to in the post has itinerary suggestions for faster and slower hikers, and in this post you’ll find the breakdown of our 4-day trek: I hope this helps with planning your trip – I’d love to hear how you get on!

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  13. Courtney says:

    Hi Kathi! Thanks for writing such a helpful post on the WHW. I’m doing it later this month and am considering a new day pack – is your Osprey waterproof? With the weather we’ve been having I’m not anticipating a terribly dry walk!

    • Kathi says:

      Hi Courtney, I would say the backpack is pretty water-resistant, but I would definitely get a rain cover for it, just in case! It is made from fabric, so if it’s pouring, it will leak through. These rain covers aren’t expensive and don’t take up much space or weigh loads. It’s worth buying! Have a great trek!

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  20. Bruce Rossi says:

    Love the site, the wife and I hiked WHW in 2016, May time frame late enough for the midge hatch! Only bummer of the trip. Your photos bring back so many memories, lunch at the bridge on Rannoch Moor!!!! Thanks.

    • Kathi says:

      It was my favourite lunch spot – so serene! Too bad about the midges though – they can really ruin an evening… We were so lucky, and not camping helped too!

  21. Heather Sythe says:

    Anyone hiking in the Highlands this summer, grab a few bottles of the midge lotion. Best stuff on the market and not too pricey either.

    Second summer up there and the midge never bothered us, buy from Mary Jean ( highly recomended.

  22. Katrin says:

    Hi Kathi
    Vielen Dank dass du deine Geschichte und die tollen Bilder mit uns teillst.
    Es zog mich richtig hin. Ich will jetzt los…
    Ich werde alleine losziehen habe das vor 10j. Auf dem Jakobsweg auch gemacht. War ne suuuper tolle Erfahrung.
    Ich hätte nur noch ne Frage. Gibt es genügen übernachtungs möglichkeiten hotels, herbergen, bed and breakfast…
    Ich möchte nicht zelt und schlafsack… mit schlepen.
    Ja und ich möchte wenn alles klappt jetzt ende Juli losziehen.
    Vielleicht siehst du das ja und kannst mir noch nen tipp geben.
    Alles gute dir
    Liebe grüsse

    • Kathi says:

      Hi Katrin, super – freut mich, dass ich dich inspirieren konnte! Übernachtungsmöglichkeiten gibt massenhaft – in manchen Orten sehr viele, in anderen nur ein paar – aber du findest alle entweder in dem verlinkten Reiseführer, den ich echt nur empfehlen kann, oder auf dieser Webseite: Ich würde so schnell wie möglich zu buchen beginnen, weil die Unterkünfte oft lange im Vorhinein ausgebucht sind! Ich hoffe, es klappt trotzdem!! 🙂

  23. Camila @ Adventitious Violet says:

    You know, I don’t like walking much less hiking, but you’re making me want to hike part of the West Highland Way! A friend of mine hiked the whole thing for her 30th birthday and she said it was amazing but tiring of course haha the train between Crianlarich and Forth William is the best bit, so I can only imagine hiking it must be amazing!

    • Kathi says:

      It was the best experience I’ve had in the highlands so far. I think the views beat any feeling of dislike you might have for hiking 😀

  24. Leah says:

    What an awesome guide! This is the first I’ve heard of this hike but I can definitely see myself doing it if/when I travel to Scotland (still high on my bucket list!)

    • Kathi says:

      Oh you should – it’s so beginner- and traveler-friendly, because all you really need is a pair of hiking boots, waterproofs and a daypack; and most travelers in Scotland will have all of this already 😀

  25. Sonja says:

    Well I’m sold! Now to convince Phil to come with me… I’ve been wanting to do this for ages too but never looked at the practicalities. I had no idea you could stay in hostels and that there are PUBS. I think I’ll emphasize the pubs bit haha.

    • Kathi says:

      Haha I won’t ever get Thomas to do that with me – despite the pubs… But yeah, you can do it pretty much as luxuriously as you want (also cute B&Bs and hotels on the way); you only have to walk yourself, everything else can more or less be taken care of! It’s a lot of fun to do with a group of friends, in case Phil can’t be convinced 🙂

  26. Susan R says:

    This sounds like an epic walking holiday and with beautiful scenery along the way. I love your photo of that cute lamb! Never knew that midges were such a pain in Scotland, we were clearly lucky as we visited in May.

    • Kathi says:

      Lucky you – the midges are terrible in the Highlands and on the islands! Lamb season is my favourite time of the year to hike – even though it’s sad to think about what will probably happen to them… But for the time being, they’re just too adorable not to enjoy!

  27. Ariana del Río says:

    Your Photos are making my longing for Scottish adventures real!!! I’m not big on hiking for days., but there is definitely something beautiful about being completely immersed in nature with great friends or just your own will and thoughts! Inspiring!

    • Kathi says:

      The good thing about the West Highland Way is that you can even just do day sections of it, if you’re not into long-distance hiking – so you still get all the beauty 🙂 Of course there are also lots of other shorter walks for a taster – is a great resource for that! Hope you get to visit one day!

  28. Emily says:

    Such a comprehensive and useful guide! I’m always toying with the idea of doing a proper long-distance hike but I think I still need to work up to it a bit. This definitely gives me a bit of motivation to do so!

    • Kathi says:

      Honestly, with all the amenities and perks of the West Highland Way, it’s a great LD trail for beginner’s – it was my first and I was surprised how easy to was. Not having to carry all my stuff certainly helped and you don’t get that in too many other places 🙂 Hope you work up the motivation to do it!

  29. Caroline says:

    Fabulous photos – love the reflection in the ones of the Lagangarbh hut.

    All my childhood holidays were to Scotland, so it’s not a novelty to me, but the more I see of the world, the more I appreciate what is on my doorstep. The Highlands are truly the most stunning area in the world. Just magical. Glad you had such a good time – I’m sure whisky may have helped!

    • Kathi says:

      Thank you! I’m always so happy when people like my photos 🙂 Sometimes it takes a while to appreciate the places you know from your childhood – I’ve certainly learnt appreciating the city where I’m from more, since I moved away. It’s not as beautiful as Scotland, if you ask me though!!

  30. Emma says:

    What a helpful post. I’ll be saving this one for later. I’ve always wanted to do the WHW, but just never gotten round to it. Was thinking of even just doing it in parts, so will keep this in mind for future tips!

    • Kathi says:

      It’s so easy to split up into several trips or even just 1-2 day sections – it’s perfect for a taster of long-distance hiking. Can only recommend it 🙂

  31. Jade Jones says:

    Hi, i love this post. I am a long distance walker, and this is one of the last ones on my long long list as I want to include it on my walk Lands Ends to John o groats walk. Ill bookmark this to help me plan! 😀 thankyou for a great post

    • Kathi says:

      That’s awesome! You’ve got quite a big walk ahead of you – how long does it take to hike from Lands End to John O Groats? I’m hoping to do the Hebridean Way next year – 150 miles, let’s see how that goes 😀

  32. Kristine Li says:

    So gorgeous views all around! Love your tip about hiking boots and blisters – I’m considering buying a good pair of hiking boots for my future hiking trips and certainly that tip to wear them out first will come in handy!

    • Kathi says:

      Thanks for your comment! I’m soon going to publish a review of my new hiking boots I took on this trail – watch this space! Wearing them in is an absolute must – no matter which boots you end up buying 🙂

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