Book with confidence for 2021
The Black Mount Hills on the way to Glen Coe

West Highland Way
Self-guided walking holiday


Key information Summer 2021

Start: Milngavie near Glasgow
End: Fort William in the Highlands
Season dates: 2 May to 17 Sep 2021
Length: 7 days' walking
Typical walk: 21.5km, 400m ascent
Total distance: 152km or 95 miles
Highest altitude: 548m
Grade: Red 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: Any, from solo trekkers to groups

The West Highland Way runs for 152km (95 miles) from just North of Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, to Fort William which is the hub of the Western Highlands.

Hike beside Loch Lomond into the heart of the Scottish Highlands and finish at the foot of Britain's highest mountain Ben Nevis (1,344m). On the way is the famous crossing of Rannoch Moor to Kings House and the head of Glen Coe.

Part of why the WHW is a classic trail in Scotland is the gradual introduction of the Highlands, in a manageable series of stages with good stopping points. Alpine Exploratory's approach is focused on the trail and the smooth organisation. We cover the whole route from Milngavie to Fort William and we love to advise on varying approaches such as shorter trips or extra sights. We can also move your baggage between stops, as an extra, to reduce your load.

Walk at your own pace on a self-guided trip, or please email us for details of walking with a leader.



Map

Alternative Scottish trip options
Prefer a different style or length of trip?
Hebridean Way - 12 stages, 13 nights
Affric Kintail Way - 4 stages, 5 nights
Great Glen Way - 6 stages, 7 nights
Options
Make the trip shorter
Make your WHW more challenging by hiking the whole route in 6 or even 5 stages. This is suited to experienced hikers who are willing to hike for more than 30km on consecutive days. Our 6-stage trip combines the stages 3, 4, 5 and 6 into 3 days, with nights in Crianlarich and Inveroran (or Bridge of Orchy). Our 5-stage trip is a feat for the strongest walkers and condenses the first 3 stages into 2 days.

Make the trip longer
The 7-stage West Highland Way suits most trekkers but contains one long day, of 30.5km over Rannoch Moor. Our 8-stage schedule breaks this long day with a night in Inveroran or nearby Bridge of Orchy. To make the trip longer still, we suggest splitting the long day beside Loch Lomond with a night in the quaint village of Balmaha. It's harder to recommend longer trips than 9 stages due to the spread of villages; there would be some days still at the usual pace.

Visit Glasgow
Milngavie (the official start of the West Highland Way) is close to the great city of Glasgow which is well worth a day if you have time to visit. It is also possible to walk to Milngavie from Glasgow along a suprisingly scenic route! Please do let us know if you'd like to walk this stage also or would like to stay a night in Glasgow before your hike. We'll be happy to book a hotel for you and recommend things to do!

Hike with a guide
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and arrangements taken care of. You're welcome to walk on any date within our season and we can adjust the hike to suit your needs. Please get in touch for more details.
Prices
West Highland Way
2 May to 17 September 2021
Hutty Classic Comfy
Self-guided
6 stages
(7 nights)
Please ask
GBP 680
Singles 175
70 per dog
GBP 760
Singles 220
70 per dog
7 stages
(8 nights)
Please ask
GBP 750
Singles 200
80 per dog
Main Trip
GBP 870
Singles 250
80 per dog
8 stages
(9 nights)
Please ask
GBP 820
Singles 225
90 per dog
GBP 970
Singles 330
90 per dog
Private guided
7 stages
(8 nights)
Group of 4 or more
Please ask
GBP 1550
Singles 200
80 per dog
GBP 1670
Singles 250
80 per dog
8 stages
(9 nights)
Group of 4 or more
Please ask
GBP 1720
Singles 225
90 per dog
GBP 1870
Singles 330
90 per dog
7 or 8 stages
(8 or 9 nights)
Group of 1, 2 or 3
Please ask us
Options
Baggage transfer
To all stops
GBP 50 per bag
Baggage transfer
Direct
GBP 30 per bag

Accommodation
Where we stay
This holiday stays in a mix of pleasant guesthouses, hotels, bed & breakfasts or inns along the route. We place most value on a friendly welcome, comfortable standards and a good location within the village or town. We book ensuite accommodation where possible.

At the Kingshouse, our classic option stays a short way off the route at the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe as opposed to a night at the Kingshouse Hotel. We think this is a better option for a number of reasons: the famous walkers' bar at the Clachaig Inn is fantastic with its open fire and its whisky; plus you travel down Glencoe in your taxi with outstanding views not seen from the West Highland Way. We will book (and pay for) a taxi to pick you up from the Kingshouse Hotel at the end of your stage to take you to your accommodation in Glencoe. The following morning, the taxi would take you back at the Kingshouse for you to continue your hike. If you'd perfer to stay at the Kingshouse Hotel, please let us know and we can advise.

Comfy
For a touch of luxury whilst you trek, our ‘Comfy’ option upgrades your accommodation on a few nights. We book a lovely 4* hotel in Glasgow as opposed to our option in Milngavie, and at Drymen you'd stay in the hotel rather than our B&B. We'd also swap your acocmmodation in Tyndrum for a hotel just off-route in Crianlarich and we'd book (and pay for) a taxi to and from Tyndrum for you. At Kingshouse, we'd book for you to stay at the Kingshouse Hotel rather than off-route at Glencoe. We would also upgrade your accommodation in Fort William. If opting for a schedule which includes Bridge of Orchy/Inveroran (typically our 8-stage trip) then we book the Bridge of Orchy Hotel instead of the more basic hotel at Inveroran.

As standard on our Comfy trips, we book for you to stay at Rowardennan Hotel which is on the route. If you'd prefer something a little comfier, we can book for you to stay at Balmaha instead. You'd walk to Rowardennan as normal and then take a taxi back to Balmaha (payable locally) for the night.

Hutty
We don't have any ready-made 'Hutty' options for our West Highland Way. However, it may be possible on some nights to opt to stay in more basic accommodation or hostels. Please ask us for details if you are interested in a more basic option.

Single Supplement
The single supplement covers the difference in cost between a single room and sharing a double/twin room.

Bring your dog
In common with most of our UK trips, we're delighted that you can walk with your dog! Our dog friendly itinerary allows your dog to stay with you in your room each night and walk alongside you each day. We ask for an extra cost of GBP 10 per dog per night. Please just let us know when you book if you'd like to bring a dog.

Route
Views down Glencoe
Stage 6: Views down Glencoe
Our approach to the West Highland Way
We follow the official West Highland Way route from Milngavie to Fort William. You'll set off from a small town at the Northern edge of Glasgow, passing through rolling terrain on the way to Loch Lomond. You'll then climb Conic Hill and descend into Balmaha on the shore. On the next stage you follow the loch for a long stretch, later walking inland to Crianlarich. Once you reach Strath Fillan at Tyndrum, you'll notice that the Highlands really start to show themselves. Trek to Bridge of Orchy and beyond as it crosses the edge of wild Rannoch Moor. Our favourite stage is walking to Kingshouse and over the Devil's Staircase to Kinlochleven. This part reveals some of the best views of the route, as you look out onto a still-distant Ben Nevis over the Mamores. For the final stage, you'll ascend a high valley and drop down through trees to Glen Nevis and Fort William.

People at Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory's 2020 research on the West Highland Way was led Hannah Wright in July


The Terrain
The walking is excellent underfoot. Enjoy the mix of old military tracks over the Highland moors, solid narrow paths in forests, and lochside trails. A few short sections are rockier and twistier, most noticeably between Inversnaid and Inverarnan, on the banks of Loch Lomond. The route does not climb any mountains apart from (optionally) Conic Hill at 360m; instead it meanders amongst the feet of the higher hills (3,000ft and over) known as the Scottish Munros. The sharpest and highest climb of the West Highland Way comes on the crossing of the pass between Glencoe and Kinlochleven towards the end of the trip, but there is no great difficulty.

Is it for me?
The West Highland Way is a long-distance trail, suited to most walkers. Being just 20 minutes away from Glasgow the start point is easily accessible to all. The route eases you in gently, as you leave the lowlands behind to enter the wild Highlands.

The route is well marked and maintained throughout. For the first half of the trip, until Tyndrum, the route never strays too far from the road. After Tyndrum the route becomes a little wilder, and over Rannoch Moor the route can feel quite remote. 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.

Difficulty
The West Highland Way is a great introduction for walkers new to long distance trails. It’s not technically difficult and, taking the standard stopping points, none of the days are exceptionally long. The going is generally flat, especially when compared to Alpine walking, with only a couple of sections which reach over 300m.

We describe alternatives to vary the level of the walk a little. Some of the hardest sections along Loch Lomond between Rowardennen to Inversnaid can be avoided by an alternative high path. Or for walkers up for a challenge, the West Highland Way lends itself to further exploration of the Highlands and the Munros. (Please ask us to book you extra nights to climb Ben Lomond or Ben Nevis). While your routecards make up the walking for the trip, you are of course free to walk wherever you choose, taking side trips or going by a different route of your own choice. Please note that if you follow your own route you will have left the holiday for the duration.

West Highland Way Walking Guide - for more background
How to get there
Arrive by train or plane into the city of Glasgow
The River Clyde and Glasgow City


Your holiday starts in Milngavie, a suburb of Glasgow, and ends in the Highland town of Fort William. The most convenient airport to reach the WHW is Glasgow Airport with several transfer options available by bus or train. The train from Fort William back to Glasgow offers fantastic views and for many is a highlight of the week. You'll also find that trains link with London if you are heading down South. Alternatively, you can also reach Milngavie from Edinburgh by a direct train, and it is easy to travel from Fort William to Inverness at the end of your trip. That would make a cross-Highlands route of great contrasts, covering the area of the Great Glen Way.

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.
Included
  • Bespoke accommodation and Itinerary - tailored to your preferences
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Detailed Routecards WHW1-7 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 2 UK topographical maps needed
  • Expert advice and local information
  • A comprehensive Season Update following our pre-season recce
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (8am until 8pm in the UK)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport during the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals
  • Baggage transfer (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

Our baggage option on the West Highland Way takes your bag to each night's accommodation. Each morning simply leave your bag with your host or at reception and it will arrive at your next accommodation. If your first night is in Glasgow instead of Milngavie (an option, or if due to availability) then we give you details about handing your bag to our baggage partners by 9am at Milngavie station; this requires an early train. Alternatively we offer a direct baggage transfer from Milngavie to Fort William for GBP 30 per bag, for those continuing into the Highlands.

Booking form - West Highland Way
2021

Your dates

Arrival day


First walking day


Departure day


Your party


Please add any more people in the Comments box below.
If you are adding to an existing booking, please give the main contact's details and just the new people. Thanks.

Number of people in your group


Main contact

Party member 2

Party member 3

Party member 4

Party member 5

Party member 6

Party member 7

Party member 8

Contact details


Address and post/zip code (For the delivery of your pack)


Email address


Telephone (Mobile)


Telephone (Home)


Party's details


Medical conditions relevant to a walking holiday?
(Please tell us in confidence. Thank you.)


Vegetarians, special diets or allergies?


Room types?


Dogs?


Please could we ask your dogs' type (breed or size?) Thanks


Baggage transfer


Baggage transfer?


Differences from the normal trip


Differences if any (extra nights, comfy or hutty mix, fewer rest days, etc.)?


Party's walking experience


Please may we ask for details of everyone's experience?
Especially helpful are names of trails, national parks, peaks or regular hikes. Thank you.


Main contact


Party member 2


Party member 3


Party member 4


Party member 5


Party member 6


Party member 7


Party member 8


Please add any more people in the Comments box below. Thanks.

Emergency contact


Please tell us about a friend or relative who we can contact in the event of emergency during your holiday.

Name


Telephone number


Relationship to you


Comments or questions?


Please ask any questions or tell us anything else:

Optionally, to help us


Optionally, where did you first hear about us? We're always curious!



If a friend recommended us may we ask who it was? We might send a thank you!


Check and submit


Payment
We will reply to your booking form with a confirmation email giving the details of your balance and deposit amounts.
We'll send you instructions to pay your deposit by card, bank transfer, or cheque.
Your deposit will be 20% of the cost of your trip with a minimum of GBP 200 per person.
Your balance is due 8 weeks before your trip and we'll email you with a reminder.


Terms and Conditions
By submitting this form you confirm that you have read and agreed to Alpine Exploratory's Terms and Conditions (PDF).
In particular, as the main contact you confirm that:
+ Everyone in the group has read and agreed to the T&Cs.
+ Everyone in the group has the fitness and experience for the trip.
Please ask us if you have any questions. Thank you.



Got questions about the West Highland Way?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Hannah, Steph, Hannah, or Nicky will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.


West Highland Way enquiry form

Your name


Your email address


Optionally, where did you first hear about us? We're always curious!


Your intended arrival date on the West Highland Way? (This helps us give you an idea of availability and doesn't need to be exact)


How many people will you be?


Any questions or preferences?


If you prefer, please feel welcome to email or call us. Thanks!

Contact Alpine Exploratory
Email info@alpineexploratory.com
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
Our times 9am to 5pm UK time
Monday to Friday
Australia 02 8319 2266
Canada 416-548-4819
Hong Kong 25 803 0282
New Zealand 04 889 4515
USA 646-757-1102

Open to the world
Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.

View onto Blackrock Cottage
  View onto Blackrock Cottage    Photos from the West Highland Way


Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.

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