> Hillwalk Tours Blog > Featured Posts > Ultimate Guide to the West Highland Way
POSTED BY December 2, 2022
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Route Overview

 

Where is the West Highland Way?

The West Highland Way is one of the most popular long-distance hiking trails in the world. The 155km (or 96 mile) trail, which can be found in Scotland, covers the ground reaching from Milngavie, Glasgow right through to Fort William allowing walkers to acquaint themselves with the stunning Scottish Highlands along with the magnificent beauty they encompass. It is common for people or websites to abbreviate the West Highland Way trail as WHW.

Why should you walk the West Highland Way?

The West Highland Way impresses with its rugged natural beauty. The former military trail leads you deep into the Scottish Highlands and allows you to experience remote, wild, & natural landscapes. You will witness astonishing scenes as you look over the landscape with volcanic origins, Glen Coe. You will pass the endless water masses of Loch Lomond, wander through quiet valleys, and even climb the “Devil’s Staircase”. The West Highland Way also ends in Fort William, at the foot of Ben Nevis, Great Britain’s highest mountain at a height of 4,412ft / 1,345m above sea level. As you walk along the finishing line at Fort William, you are met with the well-known statue of a ‘man with sore feet’.

Simply put, the West Highland Way is the greatest of Scotland’s Great Trails. It offers spectacular scenery that truly represents the Scottish Highlands, one of the many reasons why over 100 million people visit Scotland each year. It is also one of the most legendary and iconic long distance hiking trails in the world with more than 35,000 people taking on the entire route every year. In addition, you will experience a special bond with the fellow hikers you meet along the route.

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When is best time to walk the West Highland Way?

The West Highland Way trail is so popular that it attracts hikers all year round due to the highland’s unique beauty and breath-taking peaks. Every season has its own charm, but indeed some months are better for hiking than others. Of course, hours of sunshine, probability of rain, wind and temperature depend solely on the respective season in Scotland. Due to its popularity, it is advised that you book your hiking holiday early along the West Highland Way to avoid disappointment.

Spring (March, April, and May)

Average temperature: 7-13C

There is a possibility that snow may still fall during March and April which give the mountain peaks a picturesque white blanket, but May is the most popular month for walking the West Highland Way. This is mostly due to approaching the longest days of the year that gives daylight late into the evening, giving you the opportunity to cover plenty of ground. Also, May is a month that often produces the least amount of rainfall.

Summer (June, July, and August)

Average temperature – 18C

Typically, July and August tend to be the warmest months on the West Highland Way. Although the average temperature is generally around 18C during these months, it becomes cooler at higher altitudes. The warm, humid climate also means the arrival of midges, which can be pretty active along the West Highland Way. However, with Scotland being the windiest country in Europe just one gust of wind can get rid of the little tormentors. Worth the risk for the long magical summer nights!

Autumn (September, October, and November)

Average temperature – 8-14C

The months of September and October are ideal months to hike the West Highland Way for a few reasons. Firstly, the summer vacation months have passed meaning that the trail is much quieter. This gives hikers who enjoy the silence the chance to witness animals in their natural habitat. Secondly, and most notably, September typically sees the end of the midge season.

Winter (December, January, and February)

Due to high likelihood of snowfall during these months, it is only recommended that very experienced hikers take on the West Highland Way during this time of year. If the valleys and paths are covered with snow, one must be well able to navigate with a map and compass. Certain sections are at times completely buried and must be closed. It is also important to note that many of the normal accommodation and luggage transfer companies are also closed for the winter months after a busy working period during the main March to October season.

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Loch Leven during winter

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

With a length of 155 kilometres (96 miles), the West Highland Way is a moderate length long-distance hiking trail. Depending on your fitness level and preferred pace you can complete the route in a varied number of days. This also depends on how many photos of stunning natural beauty you like to take while hiking!

Many walkers will complete the full route in between 6 to 8 walking days with some even only taking 5 days. Thanks to the many small villages and towns along the trail, you have the option of creating many different route options and stopover locations. Hillwalk Tours offers three different levels of difficulty: Gentle, Moderate and Challenging. Within these levels, you can choose between 4 to 10-day hiking tours completing either the full route or part of it.

West Highland Way Passports and Stamping Stations

A West Highland Way ‘passport’ is a way of recording your achievements of completing the trail, allowing you to get it stamped at certain points throughout the trail. The passport is made out of recycled materials and is a lovely touch for those who would like memorabilia of their incredible achievement. These passports can be purchased on several websites online. For those who book their West Highland Way hiking holiday with us at Hillwalk Tours, you will receive an extensive walking pack which will include one of these unique passports, so you don’t have to purchase one!

In total, there are 21 stamping stations where hikers can receive stamps as proof of reaching certain parts of the trail.

Contents hide

Tour Route

Types of Trails

Choosing the right hiking tour for you can be, at times, tricky. It is always important to consider your own physical capability and comfort levels.

For example, at Hillwalk Tours, we have grouped each trail route we offer into three categories depending on personal preference and fitness levels. These are – gentle, moderate, and challenging. Each of these categories, depending on the destination, will include 4-day to 10-day itineraries, with customers given the option to add days where they see fit.

Our gentle hikes are perfectly suited for those who would consider themselves as a part-time hiker who enjoy taking photos and meeting locals while taking in the spectacular scenery. Our moderate hikes will suit people who are used to regular exercise and appreciate the opportunity of covering plenty of ground each day without going beyond their limits. Finally, our challenging hikes are for hikers who look to set off early in the morning and not stop until they have reached their destination.

With regards to our West Highland Way trail, it is important to note that each hiking tour we offer along the trail follows the same official hiking trail. Each of our hiking category covers the following average hiking distance and time each day:

Gentle: 12-15km or 7.5-9 miles and between 3-5 hours

Moderate: 18-22km or 11-14 miles and between 4-7 hours

Challenging: 26-30km or 16-19 miles and between 5-8 hours per day

 

Hillwalk Tours Guide Notes

Walking the West Highland Way is considered one of the most popular trails in Europe, even the world, there is an abundance of guidebooks you can avail of before setting off on your trail.

If you decide to walk the trail with Hillwalk Tours, you will receive a detailed walking pack once you have fully booked your hiking holiday. This walking pack will include detailed maps and unique route notes and walking directions written and constantly updated by our route development team. By personally walking each trail and creating our own detailed route notes, it allows us to provide more itineraries, route options and alternatives than what you will typically find across generic guidebooks. It also includes GPS tracks meaning you will never have to worry about getting lost.

Starting and Finishing Point

The starting point of the West Highland Way is just beyond Glasgow, in a town called Milngavie. For those travelling from outside of Scotland it is important to note that Milngavie is just 30 minutes by car or bus from Glasgow airport. Milngavie is only 25 minutes from Glasgow by train and there is a regular service every day. The starting point is right behind the train station and is well signposted, while the hiking trail then ends in the highland town of Fort William

Fort William itself is framed by the waters of Loch Linnhe. You will know you have reached the climax of the trail when you see the ‘Man with Sore Feet’ statue – a statue recently erected to signal the end of the West Highland Way! The town attracts many tourists with its small cafes and souvenir shops selling local products such as incredible, nutritious homemade soap. What’s more, day-return trips on board the Jacobite Steam Train, which goes to Mallaig from Fort William, are also incredibly popular among visitors to Fort William. This train is particularly famous for being the ‘Hogwarts Express’ from the Harry Potter films. Upon finishing the West Highland Way, it is popular among hikers to go to Platform 9 ¾ and experience this magical journey for themselves.

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Jacobite Steam Train

For departing Fort William, there is a regular train service from Fort William to Glasgow. This is the most popular option, and the journey takes about 4 hours with several services each day. There is also a regular bus service between Fort William and Glasgow which just takes 3 hours. Furthermore, there are also local private transfer companies who will taxi you to and from the route start and end points. These are often a good value option for groups of four or more. They are also a nice way to get some additional local knowledge.

Fort William is also the gateway to Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain. So, if you feel like hiking even more at the end of your hike, you can crown your adventure with an ascent. However, climbing Ben Nevis should only be attempted in favourable weather conditions. These include good visibility, low winds, bright and clear weather. Hikers should also be in good physical shape as it is a demanding climb and will need excellent navigational skills. This is in the event of bad weather unexpectedly affecting visibility which can happen on this unpredictable mountain.

Sample West Highland Way Itineraries

The following are examples of Hillwalk Tours Gentle, Moderate and Challenging itineraries of hiking the West Highland Way.

Gentle 6-Day

Day 1: Arrival in Inveroran

Day 2: Inveroran to Kingshouse (9.9 miles/16km)

Day 3: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven (8.7 miles/14km)

Day 4: Kinlochleven to Lundavra (7.8 miles/12.5km)

Day 5: Lundavra to Fort William (7.5 miles/12km)

Day 6: Departure from Fort William

Gentle 7-Day

Day 1: Arrival in Tyndrum

Day 2: Tyndrum to Inveroran (9.3 miles/15km)

Day 3: Inveroran to Kingshouse (9.9 miles/16km)

Day 4: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven (8.7 miles/14km)

Day 5: Kinlochleven to Lundavra (7.8 miles/12.5km)

Day 6: Lundavra to Fort William (7.5 miles/12km)

Day 7: Departure from Fort William

Gentle 9-Day

Day 1: Arrival in Inverarnan

Day 2: Inverarnan to Crianlarich (6.8 miles/11km)

Day 3: Crianlarich to Tyndrum (6.8 miles/11km)

Day 4: Tyndrum to Inveroran (9.3 miles/15km)

Day 5: Inveroran to Kingshouse (9.3 miles/15km)

Day 6: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven (9miles/14km)

Day 7: Kinlochleven to Lundavra (7.8 miles/12.5km)

Day 8: Lundavra to Fort William (7.8 miles/12.5km)

Day 9: Departure from Fort William

Moderate 10-Day

Day 1: Arrival in Milngavie

Day 2: Milngavie to Drymen (12.5 miles/21km)

Day 3: Drymen to Rowardennan (15 miles/24km)

Day 4: Rowardennan to Inverarnen (15 miles/24km)

Day 5: Inverarnen to Tyndrum (12 miles/20km)

Day 6: Tyndrum to Inveroran (9.25 miles/15km)

Day 7: Inveroran to Kingshouse (10 miles/16km)

Day 8: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven (9 miles/14km)

Day 9: Kinlochleven to Fort William (15.5 miles/25km)

Day 10: Departure from Fort William

Challenging 8-Day

Day 1: Arrival in Milngavie

Day 2: Milngavie to Drymen (12 miles/20km)

Day 3: Drymen to Rowardennan  (15 miles/24km)

Day 4: Rowardennan to Crianlarich (21 miles/34km)

Day 5: Crianlarich to Inveroran (16 miles/26km)

Day 6: Inveroran to Kinlochleven (19 miles/30km)

Day 7: Kinlochleven to Fort William (15.5 miles/25km)

Day 8: Departure from Fort William

Interested in checking out sample itineraries for some of our Gentle, Moderate and Challenging tours? Check out our website for more information.

Hillwalk Tours West Highland Way Map

Here is a map of the Hillwalk Tours West Highland Way route:

 

 

West Highland Way Terrain

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View from Devil’s Staircase

Waymarking

 

Waymarking on the West Highland Way is so thorough, there never really is any doubt if you are headed in the right direction. In fact, at key points, signposts stand about 1.5m high, making it near impossible not to see, even if you deep in conversation or thought!

If you are ever in doubt, you can also check the Hillwalk Tours turn by turn directions and route notes which also include everything you need to know about local information and history as you pass, along with trail alternatives. Want to know more on how to read a map? Check out this blog post.

Difficulty

The West Highland Way, as hikes go, is considered to be a moderate to difficult trail, depending on how you intend to walk it. The beginning of the trail is fairly easy with plenty of flat sections and only becomes more difficult as you traverse into the more remote Highlands.

The hike along Loch Lomond towards Inverarnan can be considered one of the most challenging parts of the trail, even during good weather. There are some narrow paths winding up and down during the woods, often involving a bit of climbing making it a much harder walk than the distance alone.

At Hillwalk Tours, we believe everyone, and anyone deserves to take on this trail, no matter the difficulty, which is why you can also find numerous ‘Gentle’ level itineraries for the West Highland Way trail, making it more manageable.

Sights & Attractions

Conic Hill

Once you embark from Milngavie and pass by the flat plains of Drymen, you are met with the first of many glimpses of the spectacular Scottish Highlands. No matter how enchanting the trail has been so far, the view coming down from Conic Hill presents you with a foretaste of what lies ahead of you.

Loch Lomond

The West Highland Way takes you along the east bank of Loch Lomond through flourishing forests and past rugged rock formations. The luscious Loch Lomond is commonly known as the queen of the Scottish lakes and is the third deepest in Scotland. The lake stretches for 35km from north to south (or vice versa) and is known for its beauty attracting hikers, holidaymakers, and day-trippers alike.

Rannoch Moor

The majestic moorland that is Rannoch Moor allows you to dive deeper in the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. It covers approximately 50 square miles of boggy moorland to the west of Loch Rannoch and extends north to Lochaber. Rannoch Moor encompasses blanket bog, lochans, rivers and rocky outcrops that support a wide variety of flora, fauna, and wildlife.

Glencoe Valley

Hikers are met with spectacular views of numerous tall mountains as they traverse through the Glencoe Valley. The glen holds volcanic origins, and the trail is known for its spectacular views of Meall a’ Bhùiridh, the highest peak in the “Blackmount” mountain range. A special atmosphere is created by the sheer remoteness of this valley and the mighty mountains that reminds hikers just how small a person can feel when surrounded by such impressive beauty.

Devils’ Staircase

This path marks the highest point of the West Highland Way at 550m. Despite the altitude and what the name may suggest, the path zigzags up to this peak, making it easy to manage. The highest point of the Devil’s Staircase is marked by two pyramids made of piled stones. Once climbed, you are rewarded with a breath-taking view back over Glencoe and the Blackwater Reservoir.

Magical Valleys such as Glen Nevis

There is no shortage of breathtakingly beautiful valleys when you walk the West Highland Way. In fact, the word Glen means a valley. As you traverse along the shadowy yet stunning Glencoe to Glen Nevis, you will also pass the impressive Glen Etive. The views in and around these valleys are so out of this world and picturesque that numerous high-profile films used them as backdrop locations to shoot certain scenes in movies such as Braveheart, Highlander, and Harry Potter.

The Man with Sore Feet

The Man with Sore Feet is a bronze sculpture which is located at the end of the trail as you enter Fort William. The statue was erected in 2010 and marks the end of the West Highland Way trail. It is no wonder why the sculpture is called this as 190,000 steps later, it is quite common to have sore feet. It has become a hiker’s tradition to take a photo sitting next to the statue to mark the great sense of accomplishment of completing the trail.

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Fort William Bronze Sculpture

Wildlife

There is an abundance of Scottish wildlife that can be observed while walking the West Highland Way. Walkers are given the opportunity to see a host of different types of animals such as birds including ospreys, woodpeckers, and eagles. There is also a high likelihood you will see different types of deer including small roes to the well-known, red deer. Probably the most popular animals that can be seen along this trail are Highland cattle.

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Highland Cow

It is of course great to see a squirrel jump from tree to tree or come face to face with a deer, however, to maintain these experiences as much as possible, it is important that hikers interact as little as possible with the wild animals.

The dos and don’ts regarding wildlife are self-explanatory. Feeding is of course out of the question, but also try not to run after animals for a photo. Leave the animals alone as much as possible – after all, you are visiting their “home”.

Midges

These miniscule biting flies get a special mention. Although their reputation is often worse than they actually are, they can become a complete nuisance while walking the West Highland Way. They mostly appear on the trail from late spring to summer but are easily deterred by wind. We assure hikers walking this trail that there is nothing to worry about if bitten by one of these insects, but bites may cause red itchiness. That is why we advise anyone taking this Hillwalk hiking holiday to bring insect/midge repellent. Our route development team recommend Smidge as their go to insect repellent. A midge net would also come in handy!

History of the West Highland Way

The West Highland Way became Scotland’s first ever official long-distance route when it was opened in 1980. The idea for this trail was formulated by Glaswegian, Tom Hunter and received approval for the development of the route from Lord Mansfield in 1974. Hunter, a World War II veteran, originally came up with the idea of this trail to partly protect the eastern shore of Loch Lomond from development. Geographer, Fiona Rose played a significant part in the development of the now famous trail as she surveyed the route on her own in the early 1970’s, amassing 1,000 miles by foot. In 2010, the West Highland Way was co-designated as part of the International Appalachian Trail, which features trails from all over the world including Iceland, Ireland, Norway, and Morocco.

Did you know?

The Devil’s Staircase was given its name by the soldiers responsible for the road building programme of the 17th century because of the sheer difficulty of transporting building materials up that stretch of road. Years after, workers who were building the Blackwater Dam would use the road to travel to and from the pub at Kings House Hotel. Supposedly, the devil ‘would claim his own’ as workers would disappear on the return trip.

West Highland Way Pop Culture

Films and TV

Due to its vast wilderness, diverse terrain and the enchanting magic of the Scottish Highlands, it is no wonder why filmmakers use the variety of landscapes as backdrops for their films or tv series. Here are just a few notable movies and tv shows that you might recognise on the trail:

Braveheart (1995)

This epic blockbuster is based around the story of Scottish legend, William Wallace played by Mel Gibson. Loch Leven, Glen Coe and the Mamores mountains near Fort William were used as backdrops for sections of the film.

Trainspotting (1996)

Although this film is predominantly filmed in Glasgow City, certain parts were filmed on Rannoch Moor and the train station used was the station near Loch Ossian and Loch Treig. You can relive the movie at the station, which has since been converted into a restaurant!

Harry Potter (2001-2011)

The famous Hogwarts Express steam train that took the students to and from Hogwarts passes over the incredible Glenfinnan Viaduct. You are able to experience this amazing journey as the Jacobite steam train departs Fort William every day.

Outlander (2014)

The TV adaption of Diana Gabaldon’s book, Outlander uses many locations along the West Highland Way such as Glencoe, Rannoch Moor, Doune Castle, Drummond Castle Gardens and Loch Katrine. If you would like to know more about the exact scenes, check out our blog on the whereabouts of where Outlander was filmed.

The spectacular scenery is not just present along the West Highland Way, check out other films which were filmed along other Scottish trails.

Books

Waypoints – My Scottish Journey by Sam Heughan (2022)

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Hollywood actor, Heughan, uses the famous trail as the backdrop as he tells the story of his life while exploring his own personal outlook, values, and interests.

Three Men on the Way Way by Hamish Brown (2013)

three men on the way way

From looking at the cover of this book, it could easily be mistaken as another guidebook. However, it is an amusing anecdotal account of three men from Fife and their experiences walking along the West Highland Way. The term Way Way is the nickname they gave this popular Scottish trail.

Food and Drink

Below are just some of the food and drink unique to the country of Scotland and something to consider trying while hiking the West Highland Way:

Haggis

When you think of Scottish cuisine, Haggis is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. It is a savoury pudding which is made up of a delicious combination of sheep’s pluck (organ meats), oatmeal, onions, salt, and spices. To some, haggis isn’t often the prettiest of foods, but makes up for it with its palatable taste.

Tattie Scones

Whenever you see tattie in Scotland, you can be quite sure they are referring to potatoes. Tattie scones then are traditional potato scones made in Scotland. They are made from mashed potato, flour and butter which is then rolled out and put on an ungreased griddle to cook. It is said that no Scottish breakfast is complete without a Tattie scone – and we wholeheartedly agree!

Full Scottish Breakfast

Depending on where you go, a full Scottish breakfast is typically made up of sausages, bacon, baked beans, hashbrowns, black pudding, mushrooms, tattie scones, fried eggs, tomatoes, and toast. Found in B&B’s, restaurants, and cafes up and down the country, it is the ideal breakfast to set you up for a great day of exploring one of our Scottish trails.

Seafood

The seafood caught in the surrounding waters of Scotland is known for its highest fresh quality. So much so that it is served in many of the finest restaurants across Britain and Europe. Examples of this fabulous seafood includes smoked salmon, seatrout, scallops, lobsters, and oysters. For all of you fish and chip lovers out there, you have not lived until you have tried a Scottish fish ‘n’ chip!

Tablet

Commonly mistaken for fudge, tablet is a medium-hard sweet which originated in Scotland. The sugary confection is typically made from butter, condensed milk, and butter. It is then often flavoured with anything from vanilla, chocolate, raisins or even rum.

Shortbread

Shortbread biscuits, otherwise known as shorties, are a traditional Scottish biscuit which are unique as baking powder or soda is not used in the process of making them. Instead, the scrumptious shorties are made with sugar, butter, and plain flour. We highly recommend that you ‘dunk’ yours into your tea or coffee…thank us later!

Scotch Whisky

It is hard to ever mention Scotland without ever thinking of their world-renowned scotch whisky. It can be made from malted barley, wheat and/or rye with every whisky having to be aged in an oak barrel for at least three years. With the first written record of whisky recorded in 1494, there are now around 140 whisky distilleries currently operating in Scotland. Fancy a tipple? You will be able to visit Ben Nevis Distillery upon your arrival at Fort William. If you’d fancy more than just a tipple then check out our Speyside Way Whisky trail.

Irn-Bru

Often referred to as Scotland’s second national drink, Irn-Bru is an orange-coloured soft carbonated drink that holds a distinctively sweet, tangy taste. It is so popular throughout Scotland that it has long been the best-selling carbonated drink ahead of Coca-Cola and is the third largest selling soft drink across the United Kingdom. The Scots are such fans of this fizzy pop that they even use it to glaze their ham or to make cupcakes!

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Irn-Bru flavoured Tablet

Are you interested in learning more about where to eat while on the trail? Here are 25 places to eat on the West Highland Way.

Is the West Highland Way Vegan Friendly?

The vegan diet has become more and more popular throughout Europe in recent years, and you will find that there are plenty of vegan options available in most eateries. Each of the B&B’s we work with at Hillwalk Tours have given us their guarantee that vegan breakfasts will be catered for once they have been informed. That being said, some of the more rural locations of the trail may have limited options so we advise bringing certain items such as plant-based milk, nut butters or protein powders if you so choose.

In addition, the following apps show restaurants which offer vegetarian and/or vegan options:

  • Happy Cow (€0.99)
  • Vanilla Bean (free)

Nearby Trails

There are various other Scottish trails available to you once you have completed the West Highland Way. Here are the other Hillwalk Tours Scottish hiking tours we offer:

West Highland Way Tips and FAQS

What should I pack to prepare for walking the West Highland Way?

Probably the most common question asked when walking the West Highland Way or planning any hiking holiday is – what will I pack?
Once you have fully booked your Hillwalk Tours hiking holiday, you will receive a detailed ‘recommended equipment’ list inside your walking pack. For those of you who are still unsure, here are some of things we advise you bring with you along the West Highland Way:

– Waterproof Clothes
– Fleece and other warm clothing
– Base Layer
– Light and comfortable trousers
– Wicking Socks
– Suitable Hiking Boots
– Backpack/Rucksack
– Hat and Gloves
– First Aid Kit & Foil Blanket
– Whistle & Torch
– Insect Repellent & Midge Net
– Mobile Phone
– Plug Adapter/Converter

For more on what to pack – check out these packing musts.

Are dogs allowed along the West Highland Way?

If you are thinking of bringing your four-legged friend with you, it is important to note various situations. It is advised that dogs are always kept on a short lead and close to their owners. While walking along the West Highland Way, there are certain periods where you will cross and come close to farmland areas. Unfortunately, the Scottish National Park Authority receives reports every year of lambs being attacked or killed so it is imperative to keep an eye out for signage along the way that may forbid dogs on certain parts of the trail. Dogs are forbidden from entering fields where fruit or vegetables grow unless there is a clear path.  Realistically, it may be more hassle than it is worth, and it might also distract you from taking in the spectacular views and remaining in the present moment.
In addition, due to most of the accommodations we work with not accepting pets of any kind, it is not possible to bring any pets, such as your dog, on a Hillwalk Tours hiking holiday.

How safe is the West Highland Way?

As it is such a popular trail, you will never be alone as such while walking the West Highland. You will always meet people along the way with the only exception of course being in the depths of winter.
As a result of this, the trail is also deemed highly safe for female solo hikers.
Depending on what trail you take, conditions may deem strenuous as you progress towards the highlands with certain points remote from roads and services. There are numerous online resources and services hikers can avail of:

The British Mountaineering Council – promotes the interests of every kind of hiker.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland – representatives for hikers that live in Scotland who also provide practical advice on how to stay safe on your journey.
The Ramblers Scotland – a charity whose aim is to promote and protect people’s ability to enjoy the freedom and benefits of walking outdoors.

If you experience any difficulty or an emergency of any level, it is advised that you phone the relative emergency services on 999. It is also important to note that mobile/cell phones can call this number with or without mobile/cell phone reception.

For those who have fully booked their Hillwalk Tours hiking holiday on the West Highland Way, we provide 24/7 on-call support to all of our customers and you will also receive a detailed description on how to remain safe on your hike.

Is the West Highland Way suitable for solo hikers?

Due to its popularity, it has become increasingly difficult to book a single room along the West Highland Way. Many Hotels & B&Bs along the famous trail do not have single rooms and are also simply unwilling to take solo hikers in their double/twin rooms. The only exception that they may do so is if there is a solo walker part of a group of three.

As a result of this, Hillwalk Tours offer walking tours for solo hikers along the West Highland Way in the months of March, April and October only. However, we will continue to try and book a maximum of one single room for a solo hiker who is part of a larger group throughout all months of the walking season.

How to train for the West Highland Way?

We believe that the beauty of the Scottish countryside should be enjoyed by everyone. With this in mind, we designed our hiking tours to cater for practically all levels of fitness. Our range of ‘Gentle’, ‘Moderate’ and ‘Challenging’ hikes in all regions allows you to decide how far you wish to walk each day and the pace you set. So, whether you are a novice walker or an experienced hiker, we have the tour to suit you.

Can I cycle the West Highland Way?

It is possible to cycle the West Highland Way but it is also important to note that West Highland Way is designed as a long distance walking route so you will frequently come across terrain, underpasses and gates specifically for walkers. It might be best to leave the bicycle at home this time!

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About Us

Hillwalk Tours is an award-winning walking tour operator which specialise in self-guided walking holidays in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Our goal is to create happy experiences for all of our customers, suppliers & staff.

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Leave No Trace

We like to walk in nature and since you are reading this – we believe you do too! It is important to ensure that our impact on the environment is limited so that hikers can enjoy the same view after us. The rule applies: when you leave, make sure that nature looks the same as when you arrived or simply put “leave no trace.” As more and more people take to the great outdoors, our collective mark on the environment increases.

What does this mean in reality? Of course, do not leave any rubbish or waste behind. Do not collect stones, flowers, or other “souvenirs”. Don’t carve your name on a tree or break branches… I think you get the drift. It is imperative for walkers to play their part in making sure litter, damage to vegetation and all forms of pollution are limited.

Noise can also be a form of pollution. Whoever walks through a forest talking and laughing loudly, for example, ruins the peace and quiet of other walkers, who can no longer hear the birds. The same goes for cell phones that suddenly start ringing. Keep the volume down and respect your surroundings. Ultimately, the point is to ensure that as many people as possible can enjoy walking through nature. So that applies to you, but also to those who tread the path after you.

Hillwalk Tours proudly supports sustainable tourism and loves the countryside as it is – wild, peaceful and clean. We are proud to support the “Leave No Trace” initiative that aims to preserve the natural beauty of each nations countryside where we offer hiking holidays. We try to create happy experiences for our accommodation too, and the restaurants, shops and taxi companies that serve our walkers. These are often small businesses located in isolated areas that have been left behind by urban migration and a lack of investment in rural regions. Their warm hospitality and friendly welcomes epitomise the magic of a Hillwalk Tour and we’re dedicated to helping keep these rural communities alive.

The Benefits of Hiking

In recent years, walking and hiking outdoors has been widely reported to have numerous physical and mental health benefits. The following are examples of some of these benefits:

Improve strength and fitness

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle gain
  • Improve metabolism
  • Improve digestion
  • Better quality sleep
  • Increase in Vitamin D
  • Improve discipline
  • Sense of achievement