Walking the West Highland Way

Wonderguide by

Kira Isabelle

Walking the West Highland Way

Head out on one of the best known hikes in the UK, this walk has definitely earned it's fame. Connecting some of the best places in Scotland this hike really gives you a nice look at the country while being signposted very well. We hiked it in 5 days carrying all our stuff and camping in April.

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Day 1

We did Milngavie to Balmaha (Milarrochy Bay) on day 1 after taking a train from Glasgow, it is quita a challenge if you aren't used to hiking and quite a long walk to start with.

Image - Glasgow
Kira:If you've not already been to Glasgow I absolutely can recommend spending some time here before or after you're hike and having a look at this wonderful city!
Image - Glasgow Queen Street
Glasgow Queen Street
Kira:This is where our journey began with a train ride to Milngavie. If you're really keen you could walk the Kelvin Walkway from Glasgow to the start of the hike.
Image - Milngavie
Image - Trossachs
Image - Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond
Image - Balmaha
Image - Travelade Image
Kelvin Walkway
Kira:Here, the walk I mentioned if you want to add an extra day to your hike.
Image - Conic Hill
Conic Hill
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These are for the 5 day version and although we camped all of them offered huts too if you want a more comfortable time. As a backpacker you don't need to prebook any, just show up at the office, as you never really know how far you're actually going to walk(apart from the hostel).

Image - Milarrochy Bay Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Milarrochy Bay Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Kira:Our first stop, right on Loch Lomond. This campsite offered an indoor area that was warm, and had showers/toilets indoors. There were newspapers for wet shoes, a microwave, sinks, a big table and lockers inside. Also quite a few people left cooking gas in the hut for people to use. There's also a small shop at the entrance. Site was flat and tent pegs went in easily. Due to the hut it's a nice place to meet other hikers so use that opportunity, you might find someone to walk with or someone who you'll meet again at every campsite. This site seemed to only be used by 5 day hikers so it was quite empty and we were easily the youngest(19&20) and the only girls but in Summer this would be fuller I expect.
Image - Beinglas Farm Campsite
Beinglas Farm Campsite
Kira:Our second stop, just past the end of Loch Lomond in Inverarnan. There were quite a lot of people here already so we got a very slightly slanted site. Still easy to pitch the tent despite a few roots. There's a small indoor area to cook but it's cold and the stove costs a bit. There is also a small restaurant and nice toilets though to warm up a bit. From reviews I've heard it gets a bit swampy in rain and is full of midges, but as the weather was nice and we hiked in early April we avoided both, so I can't confirm either. We also had breakfast at the restaurant before setting out which was a nich break between all the dehydrated camping meals.
Image - Bridge of Orchy
Bridge of Orchy
Kira:On the third night my recommendation is to wild camp near Bridge of Orchy. There is a hotel and a hostel but that was over our budget and one wikd camp during the walk seemed like a nice adventure. I think we saw some glamping pods online but you'd need to book those well in advance and we weren't sure how far we'd actually go each day so we let that be but might be an option for others. A camping cooker and warm food will make this a lot more enjoyable though.
Image - Fort William Backpackers
Fort William Backpackers
Kira:On the last day we decided to stay in a hostel as we wanted to actually finish the hike on day 5 and weren't too keen on walking back to the campsite. If you aren't an experienced trekker and decide to hike the WHW in 5 days you'll probably have plenty of blisters and be quite tired by the time you get to Fort William and will be quite happy to stay somewhere indoors, especially if like us you camped and got most of your energy from slightly crunchy dehydrated pasta cooked on a gas stove­čśé. For the hostel we booked in advance, you'll need to, especially during Summer. We also stayed 2 nights as we were hiking on afterwards and I can absolutely recommend spending a full day in this beautiful town.
Image - MacDonald Hotel & Cabins
MacDonald Hotel & Cabins
Kira:There are two options for day 4 in Kinlochleven, I'd recommend draging yourself through the town and staying here to shorten day 5 the slightest bit. This site is right on the route and in the morning you can start straight up the hill.
Image - Blackwater Hostel, Glamping & Campsite
Blackwater Hostel, Glamping & Campsite
Kira:This is option 2 in Kinlochleven and the one we ended up staying at. It was nice and quiet but lacked an indoor area apart from the toilet/shower part. There were plenty of sockets to charge phones and the pods they have looked nice, I'd just recommend the other campsite due to it's location, as the next morning we walked past it and wished we had walked a tiny bit further in the evening. Not to say this wasn't a good place to stay at all.
Image - Glen Nevis Caravan & Camping Park
Glen Nevis Caravan & Camping Park
Kira:This is your other option for Fort William but it is slightly out of town so you'll either not quite finish the WHW or have to walk back after crossing the finish line. Walking past it looked very nice though.

My Recommendations

Wonderguide map

  1. Glasgow
  2. Glasgow Queen Street
  3. Milngavie
  4. Queen Elizabeth Forest Park
  5. Trossachs
  6. Loch Lomond
  7. Balmaha
  8. Kelvin Walkway
  9. Conic Hill
  10. Milarrochy Bay Camping and Caravanning Club Site
  11. Beinglas Farm Campsite
  12. Bridge of Orchy
  13. Fort William Backpackers
  14. MacDonald Hotel & Cabins
  15. Blackwater Hostel, Glamping & Campsite
  16. Glen Nevis Caravan & Camping Park

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High Five Kira