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West highland Way
Self-guided trekking holiday


Key information Summer 2020

Start: Milngavie near Glasgow
End: Fort William in the Highlands
Length: 7 days' trekking
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 of North of Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, all the way to Fort William, the hub of the Western Highlands. Hike along lochs and into the heart of the Scottish Highlands with your walk finishing at the foot of Britain's highest mountain; Ben Nevis.

There are many attractions to this famous walk - the scenery being foremost among them. Starting in the rolling hills north of Glasgow the scenery builds up before reaching the shores of Loch Lomond. A long stretch on the lochside leads walkers into the mountainous country that is the theme for the rest of the route. Further on, the Way skirts Rannoch Moor to reach the head of Glencoe, lastly approaching Glen Nevis through a high valley with Ben Nevis ahead.

As a walking holiday, the West Highland Way excels due to the convenience of the staging posts, the interest along the way, and the easy access to the start and finish. This holiday covers the whole route from Milngavie to Fort William, missing out nothing and giving you true hiking satisfaction. We can also move your baggage between stops, as an extra, to reduce your load.



Map

Alternative trip options
Prefer a different style of trip? Why not try one of these:
Guided West Highland Way - walk the trail with one of our guides
Options
Make the trip shorter
Make the trip more challenging by hiking the whole route in 6 or 5 stages. This is suited to experienced hikers who are willing to hike for more than 30km consecutively. Combine stages 3, 4, 5 and 6 into 3 stages, with nights in Crianlarich and Inveroran (or Bridge of Orchy) for 6 stages, and condense the first 3 stages into 2 for a 5 stage trip.

Make the trip longer
The 7-stage West Highland Way suits most trekkers and 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.

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 and we'd be happy to book a hotel for you and recommend things to do!

Prices
West Highland Way (Self-guided)
3 May to 18 October 2020
2 May to 17 September 2021
Hutty Classic Comfy
6 stages
(7 nights)
Please ask
GBP 650
Singles 175
70 per dog
GBP 740
Singles 220
70 per dog
7 stages
(8 nights)
Please ask
GBP 720
Singles 200
80 per dog
Main Trip
GBP 800
Singles 240
80 per dog
8 stages
(9 nights)
Please ask
GBP 790
Singles 225
90 per dog
GBP 900
Singles 320
90 per dog
Specialised schedules
5 stages
(6 nights)

Please ask
GBP 580
Singles 150
60 per dog
GBP 660
Singles 190
60 per dog
9 stages
(10 nights)
Please ask
GBP 860
Singles 250
100 per dog
GBP 980
Singles 350
100 per dog
Options
Baggage transfer
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.

Comfy
For a touch of luxury whilst you trek, our ‘Comfy’ option would upgrade your accommodation on 3 nights. For example, in Drymen you'd stay in a Hotel rather than a B&B. We'd also swap your acocmmodation in Tyndrum for a hotel just off-route in Crianlarich. We would also upgrade your accommodation in Fort William. If you'd like more information, please do just ask! Please ask if you would like more details.

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 do ask us for details of your are interested in a more basic option.

Single Supplement
The single supplement covers the difference in cost between a single room and a double room on a per person basis.

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 you to have your dog stay with you in your room each night and walk along-side you each day. We ask for a small additional cost of GBP 10 per dog per night as charged by the hotels and Inns. Please just let us know when you book if you'd like to bring a dog.

Route
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. The next stage sees you following 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 People at Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory's 2020 research on the West Highland Way will be led by Nicky Mount and Hannah Grimmel in May


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 Conic Hill at 360m, instead it meanders amongst the feet of the higher hills known as 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 there being 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 Scottish munros. 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.

   For an even more detailed read, please see our West Highland Way Walking Guide
How to get there

Arrive by train or plane into the city of Glasgow


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 too. The train back from Fort William back to Glasgow offers fantastic views. You'll also find that trains link with London if you are heading down South. Alternatively, you can also reach Milngavie from Edinburgh, and it is easy to travel from Fort William to Inverness at the end of your trip.

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 itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Detailed Routecards WHW1-7 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 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 (9am until 9pm in the Alps)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals in the towns (this would be 8 nights on our main trip)
  • Baggage transfers (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. We can transfer baggage to all your stops for GBP 50 per bag, or opt for direct baggage transfer from Milngavie to Fort William for GBP 30 per bag.

Booking form
2020 and 2021

Your holiday

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 Tour du Mont Blanc?
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    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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