+ Scotland's essential long-distance trail
+ Trek in a group led by an expert leader
+ Varied paths lead to increasingly bold views
Latest news September 2019
Please ask us about a trip. We are now taking bookings for our 2020 season. Thank you!
The West Highland Way runs for 152km (95 miles) from Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, to Fort William, the hub of the Highlands under Ben Nevis.
In the course of 7 stages, your leader takes the group along twisting wooded paths beside Loch Lomond, later breaking out into the Highlands to skirt Rannoch Moor on old military tracks. The final approach to Glen Nevis runs through a high valley. The terrain is not unduly technical and the WHW's emphasis is on the daily distance.
We cover the whole route from Milngavie to Fort William, missing out nothing. Our approach is focused on knowledge of the route itself, to give what we hope is the best experience on this magnificent trail.
The group stays in a mix of friendly guesthouses and B&Bs, characterful inns, and comfy small hotels.
WHWg West Highland Way (Guided)
5 May to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
|Scheduled guided trips|
|Private trips only||
|Private trips only|
|Private guided trips|
Here is our normal schedule of 7 stages:
Arrival day: Arrive in Milngavie
The trip starts on arriving at your guesthouse in Milngavie. This quiet suburb of Glasgow is about half an hour by train from Glasgow Queen Street station. The centre of Milngavie has plenty of shops, pubs and restaurants; the group goes out to eat.
Guesthouse in Milngavie
Stage 1: Milngavie to Drymen
Blue3 grade, 19.5km with 225m ascent, 225m descent
Wake up to your first breakfast of the trip. It's a short walk to the official start of the WHW at Milngavie station. This first stage is through rolling pastoral terrain, first in the Mugdock park and then alongside the Campsie Fells. It's an easy introduction to life on the trail. The village of Drymen provides a welcoming base at the end of the day, shops and hotels around the green.
B&B in Drymen
Stage 2: Drymen to Rowardennan
Red3 grade, 22km with 720m ascent, 760m descent
The big feature of today's stage is Loch Lomond. Before reaching the loch, it is an option to climb Conic Hill (361m) for high views. The WHW meets Loch Lomond at Balmaha, a lively village for lunch, then heads North along the shore to Rowardennan. This path twists in and out of wooded promontories with glimpses of the Highlands ahead.
Hotel at Rowardennan
Stage 3: Rowardennan to Inverarnan
Red3 grade, 22.5km with 480m ascent, 480m descent
Loch Lomond is the theme for almost the whole of today's stage. You have left behind the loch's wide Southern end and now follow its narrower Northern stretch. The high mountains cluster around the glen as it narrows, first opposite Ardlui then at Inverarnan. The walking is on wooded paths mostly by the loch shore. There are some twisty and rocky sections today, just above the shore.
Hotel at Inverarnan
Stage 4: Inverarnan to Tyndrum
Red3 grade, 18.5km with 475m ascent, 255m descent
Having left Loch Lomond behind, your stage winds through Glen Falloch to the village of Crianlarich. This is an important interchange for the West Highland railway. Turning North West the way ahead is towards Tyndrum along valley tracks sometimes in woods and sometimes in the open. In Tyndrum you'll find good options to eat and to stock up on provisions before the WHW sets off for wilder ground.
Guesthouse in Tyndrum
Stage 5: Tyndrum to Kingshouse
Red3 grade, 30.5km with 610m ascent, 595m descent
One of the most notable sights on the route, Beinn Dorain, is a feature this morning as you follow the tracks towards Bridge of Orchy. It's a triangular-looking mountain looming above the road and railway. Past Bridge of Orchy and Victoria Bridge you enter different country again, skirting the huge expanse of Rannoch Moor before dropping down to Kingshouse in its wild setting near the top of Glencoe. This is a long day but the miles fly by on the smooth solid tracks.
Hotel at Kingshouse
Stage 6: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven
Red3 grade, 14.5km with 375m ascent, 610m descent
Tackle the Devil's Staircase today, the Way's toughest climb. It is a zig-zagging path to a col, and at the col are revealed huge views to the North. We see Blackwater Reservoir and more of Rannoch Moor. All the way up, weather dependent, you have views of Buachaille Etive Mor, the bold hill at the entrance to Glencoe. After the climb, drop down on wide tracks to the friendly village of Kinlochleven in its peaceful setting at the head of Loch Leven.
Hotel in Kinlochleven
Stage 7: Kinlochleven to Fort William
Red3 grade, 24.5km with 520m ascent, 520m descent
Gear up for today's final stage. This is a long but satisfying day, first running through a high valley on the Southern side of the Mamores range. Towards the end of the day, if you're lucky with the weather, you'll be treated to unusual views of the huge slopes of Ben Nevis. A final section of the Way drops into Glen Nevis. Walk through the glen floor to Fort William, pass the leisure centre and railway station and along the high street to the official WHW end post. Congratulations!
Hotel or guesthouse in Fort William
Departure day: Depart from Fort William
Enjoy your last breakfast in Fort William and look round the shops. There is excellent shopping for outdoor kit, plus good coffee options. We advise on the regular trains and buses to Glasgow and we love to suggest further travel in Scotland.
Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.
Our baggage option on the WHW takes your bag to each night's accommodation. Each morning simply leave your bag with your host or at reception. If your first night is in Glasgow instead of Milngavie (an option, or if due to availability) then your group will drop bags in Milngavie before 9am.
If you join us as a private group instead of joining our scheduled treks, then we can adjust your WHW in various ways.
+ Faster treks like our 6-stage schedule, or longer
+ Stay in hostels at locations where these are available
+ See Glasgow by adding a night beforehand
Of course, on a private trip you can come on the dates that suit you. Except for the composition of the group and the dates, everything else is the same as on our scheduled treks.
Our approach to the WHW
Your route follows the official West Highland Way. Set off from Milngavie, a small town at the Northern edge of Glasgow, at the start of your holiday. Pass rolling terrain on the way to Loch Lomond. Climb Conic Hill and descend to Balmaha on the shore. Follow the Loch for a long stretch, later walking inland to Crianlarich. Along Strath Fillan at Tyndrum the Highlands really show themselves. Trek to Bridge of Orchy and beyond it cross the edge of wild Rannoch Moor. Walking to Kingshouse and over the Devil's Staircase to Kinlochleven gives potentially the best views of the route, to a still-distant Ben Nevis over the Mamores. For a final stage ascend a high valley and drop down through trees to Glen Nevis and Fort William.
The West Highland Way runs on good clear paths. For some long stretches of the route, the track underfoot is a double-track old military road. At other times you might be walking along narrow forest paths. A few short sections are rockier and twistier, for example between Inversnaid and Inverarnan. The route does not climb any mountains apart from Conic Hill at 360m; the sharpest and highest climb comes on the crossing of the pass between Glencoe and Kinlochleven, but there is no great difficulty.
The landscape should be treated as wild terrain in which you will need to be self-reliant. We strongly recommended that you know how to navigate with a map and compass; the skills are easy to learn and your notes include details of some good books.
How to get there
Your holiday starts in the small town of St. Johann-in-Tirol and ends in the ski resort of St. Anton. The most convenient airports are Munich and Innsbruck with several transfer options available by train, but Basel and Zurich also work for the return.
Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
Key information Summer 2019
Trip name: West Highland Way
Dates Summer 2019
Scheduled trips 2019
Private trips 2019
Please join us any time in our season from
5 May to 15 September 2019
Scheduled trips: Starting 2 May 2020
Season: 3 May to 18 September 2020
Research Summer 2019
To Inveroran (Photo gallery)
Alpine Exploratory's service
Find out more
Ready to book?
Our booking form to get things started: