Myself and Sue, have recently returned from our own West Highland Way adventure. Needless to say, it did rain a lot, although it is Scotland! However, we still enjoyed our own challenge and updating our route instructions as we went along. We met so many wonderful people along the way, including a number that we bumped into several times at our accommodation and while out eating in the evenings.
Many walkers were carrying their luggage/accommodation with them which meant they looked even more exhausted than us! We had our luggage transferred as standard as part of our West Highland Way walking holiday and also stayed in some really lovely accommodation. Take a read of our trip report below.
Our West Highland Way Trip Report
Milngavie to Drymen – Stage 1
Yes, it rained…all day in fact. The rain didn’t let up once. This meant we were pretty soaked by lunchtime, and that was even with our waterproofs on! The walking today was pretty easy going with only a few short climbs to get the lactic acid going in the legs. We took a break from the rain and enjoyed a cup of tea at the Beach Tree Inn (make sure you stop here for lunch/cuppa) The rain didn’t ease up at all, so we set off again towards Drymen.
Eventually, we made it about 3 pm, which was too early to check in to our accommodation. We decided to have another cup of tea at the Clachan Inn before heading up for check-in. While we were there we booked a table for our evening meal, which was lucky as they were booked out when we arrived for dinner and turning people away.
Drymen to Rowardennan Stage 2
Today’s walking started off well. However, the weather couldn’t make up its mind what it was doing. This meant by the time we reached Conic Hill, it was raining and hot! Slowly we made our way up and down Conic Hill. Which was a hard slog and Sue realised halfway up that she had left her inhaler in her suitcase. We cut the pace to a bare minimum as we didn’t want to cause her to have an asthma attack. Sitting and relaxing in the Oak Tree Inn for our lunch we thought the next stage of the walk would be ok.
This part of the walk actually took us by surprise. It seemed to go on forever and the heat was becoming a little unbearable. We are not used to heat in Scotland! We were not enjoying this part of the walk and wanted to get to our hotel as quickly as we could. Eventually, we made it in at 5.30 pm which made it a very long day. We checked in and headed to our rooms to get freshened up. Over dinner, we spoke to several other guests before heading to bed for stage 3.
Rowardennan to Inverarnan – Stage 3
After yesterday we didn’t really know what to expect. Heading off following the track we then turned off following the signposts. We realised about 20 minutes later that this was indeed the low route which meant a lot of steep descents and slippy in the rain. Eventually, we joined the main high route. If you are wanting to keep this day a bit shorter in time then stick to the high route as it is a much better path. The halfway point was Inversnaid where we stopped for a drink and to rest our feet. We knew there was a tough section to come so we decided to head off and get it done with. What we didn’t realise was just how rough the section was going to be, as it was raining the rocks were very slippery and we met many walkers struggling along the way.
This was definitely a hard slog and our accommodation was a welcome sight. After dinner, we decided to head for an early night to get some rest for the next days walking.
Inverarnan to Crianlarich – Stage 4
Compared to the last few days, today was pretty simple. Walking through the valley over undulating terrain, the only problems we faced were muddy sections, water crossings and cows. The latter being the most problematic! We couldn’t decide whether to walk towards them, stand still and wait or make a noise. We didn’t want to disturb a mother and her calf. Eventually edging our way passed the cows we made our way into Crianlarich where we headed to the Crianlarich hotel for a pot of tea (or two). Once it reached 4 pm we headed off to our accommodation before heading back to the Crianlarich Hotel for a Sunday Roast. If you arrive here on a Sunday then the Sunday Roast is AMAZING!
Crianlarich to Bridge of Orchy – Stage 5
After a short day yesterday, we had recovered slightly from the previous days walking. We made sure to have a full breakfast which we enjoyed a lot before heading out back on the West Highland Way. The climb out of Crianlarich was a shock to the system first thing in the morning (it isn’t too bad, just wakes your legs up). The route to Tyndrum was pretty wet and muddy, but by now we were getting used to walking in the rain. While in Tyndrum we stopped for a bite to eat and to stock up on supplies. It is a great place for stocking up on outdoor supplies and bandages. There is a shop called the Green Welly Shop which is one of the biggest shops along the way and has an outdoor shop too.
From Tyndrum, we headed to Bridge of Orchy which goes along the old military road before heading down into Bridge of Orchy. Arriving at our hotel in the pouring rain, it was a welcome sight for our day’s end.
Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse – Stage 6
After a comfy nights sleep we set off towards Kingshouse. Today we would be walking through Rannoch Moor where we thought the route would be a little flatter. However, the terrain was again undulating through the valley. We stopped for our lunch (which we had ordered at the hotel the evening before) on a rock, where we rested for 15-20 mines. Soon we got our energy levels back up and headed on the last leg of the day towards Kingshouse. Spotting a sign for the Glencoe Ski Centre we diverted off track for a cup of tea (we do love our tea!) before heading to the Kingshouse Hotel for our taxi transfer.
Tonight we stayed in Kinlochleven where we found the whole village had no WiFi and no cards could be used due to someone cutting a wire somewhere in the town. It was like going back in time not being able to use the internet. Luckily we had some cash on us to pay for our evening meal.
Kingshouse to Kinlochleven – Stage 7
After a hearty breakfast, we took our taxi transfer back to Kingshouse Hotel where we set off back to Kinlochleven. Today is the day we climb the Devil’s Staircase. Which personally was not as bad as I thought it would be. The views are well worth the climb, and you certainly won’t be disappointed. The worst section for us was the long downhill section back to Kinlochleven. Our knees were hurting pretty bad by the end of the walk and our walking time extended quite a bit due to having to slow down. Upon reaching Kinlochleven we headed back to the Tail Race Inn for a well earned drink and dinner. Tomorrow is our final day!
Kinlochleven to Fort William – Stage 8
It’s here! The LAST day! It was raining (nothing unusual there) so we kitted up and left our accommodation. Unfortunately, the rain soon stopped and the pesky midges were out in force. I have never seen so many. The climb out of Kinlochleven wasn’t too bad but those midges made it a lot worse.
The next section we managed to pick up some speed and walked over 8 miles in 3 hours. Which for us is pretty quick! We sat and ate some lunch (in the rain!) before tackling the forest section. Although the quite a bit of the forest has now been felled. We reached the point where the Dun Deardail Hillfort is and knew we were edging closer to the finish. We diverted off the track to the Visitors Centre for a much-needed toilet break before the last mile or so into town. Finally, we made it to the guest house soaked and ready for a hot shower and a cup of tea.
Now that was a challenge!
We were so glad that we took on this challenge in memory of my brother (Sue’s son). We didn’t manage to fit in any training before we started (check out our post on preparing for the West Highland Way). Which if we did the West Highland Way again we would certainly make sure did some miles beforehand. I take my hat off to anyone who does this long-distance walk in less than 8 days. We met many walkers along the way who were doing it in less than 8 and were regretting it big time. For us doing it in 8 days meant the mileage was just about right for us.
We really enjoyed the challenge that the West Highland Way offers. The scenery is amazing and you can see why Scotland is a natural beauty.
You can check out the official West Highland Way website for more tips and advice.
Thank you for reading our West Highland Way trip report, if you made it all the way to the end then you deserve a certificate too!
If you are looking for some top tips for walking the West Highland Way then we had a few to offer you.
Our West Highland Way Video
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