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The West Highland Way Route Planning

Stage one of the West Highland Way

Milngavie to Drymen / approximately 12 miles / easy going / paths and B roads

Milngavie to Carbeth - 5M / Easy going.
The start of the path is right at the station in Milngavie, there are shops, restaurants and pubs here as well as good accommodation facilities.

 
Carbeth to Beech Tree Hotel -4M / Very easy going
 Carbeth has an inn which is a welcome stop for the hungry and thirsty and of course the Beech Tree as well.

Beech Tree Hotel to Drymen  -3 miles
D
rymen has shops, a bank, pubs and hotels as well as other accommodation.

 

The West Highland Way starting point in Milngavie Town Centre

Places of Interest on route
Mugdock Country Park lies between Milngavie and Carbeth and has an interesting Castle and other attractions including toilet facilities.
You may want to detour to the Glengoyne Distillery which is a short walk from the Beech Trees Inn. Opening times of the distillery are 10am to 4pm with tours on the hour. You can phone in advance on
+44 (0)1360 550 254 .


Stage two of the West Highland Way

Drymen to Rowardennan / approximately 15 miles / easy going / mostly paths

Drymen to Balmaha -8M / Easy going.
Balmaha is on the east shore of Loch Lomond and has a few facilities. This a beautiful spot and popular resting place for walkers.

Balmaha to Rowerdennan
-
7M / Easy going.
Rowerdennan marks the end of the road for vehicles and your path will now no longer have cars nearby. The inn at Rowerdennan is a very popular place for walkers and other visitors.

 

Loch Lomond
Photographs Courtesy of Photographscotland.com

Places of Interest on route 
Conic hill for those with some energy, is an alternative route to Balmaha from Drymen, it adds some ascent to the route but it is worth the panoramic views of south Loch Lomond.
At Rowardennon there is a path that leads to the top of Ben Lomond (1006m) this is Scotland's most southerly Munro. The path is pretty good and of course the views are wonderful. As with all mountains in Scotland do not attempt in winter without the correct equipment. This climb should only take about 2 hours 10mins to the summit.

Stage three of the West Highland Way

Rowardennon  to   Inverarnan  / approximately 15 miles / Medium to hard going / mostly paths

Rowerdennan to Inversnaid-7M / medium going.
This part of the way is all on foresty tracks and paths with quite a wee bit of undulating ascent and descent. In fact the total climbs add up to about 550m. Inversnaid has a hotel and welcomes walkers in the back bar.

Inversnaid to Inverarnan-7M / hard going.
This part of the Loch Lomond paths are quite hard going with a degree of care needed in places. However the views are quite spectacular even in bad weather. The track is fairly sheltered in most places due to the trees.

 

Loch Arklet
  Photographs Courtesy of Photographscotland.com

Inverarnan - camping is available at the farm where the "way" arrives also there are wooden wigwams. A short distance away there is the Drovers Inn and a Backpackers Hostel. The Drovers is probably the most memorable pub on the West Highland Way with its variety of stuffed animals including a bear and a shark.

Places of Interest on route
Rob Roy's cave is marked just a short distance from the Inversnaid Hotel.

To most walkers travelling from the south, this is their first encounter with the great outdoors in such stunning vistas. As such we would say that all of this wonderful section is a place of interest.

Stage four of the West Highland Way

Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy / approximately 19 miles / Medium to hard going / mostly paths

Inverarnan to Crianlarich - 6M / medium going.
The paths are well surfaced in the most part and the scenery is outstanding. At Crianlarich there is a small path to the village where there are accommodation, youth hostel, shop, and a station.

Crianlarich to Tyndrum - 6M / medium going
If you have visited Crianlarich go back up the path and rejoin the main route. Tyndrum has places for camping, bed and breakfast and restaurants as well as a couple of good shops.

Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy - 7M / medium going
Good paths to Bridge of Orchy and the scenery starts to change as the path rises out of Tyndrum. Much more rugged area.

 


Loch Tulla
Photographs Courtesy of Photographscotland.com

Bridge of Orchy - A small hamlet with a station which is also a bunkhouse. There is also a hotel with a reputation for good food. A good place for camping at the side of the river. Be Very Careful when crossing the main road. See our sister site for Bridge of Orchy Accommodation

Places of Interest on route
The track to Crianlarich rises up through Glen Falloch and during this rise follows the river Falloch through a magnificent gorge with waterfalls and pools. This is spectacular after any period of rain.

At Kirkton Farm lies the ruins of St Fillans Chapel dating back to 1318 and Robert The Bruce.

Stage five of the West Highland Way

Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse / approximately 12 miles / Easy to Medium  going / mostly paths

Bridge of Orchy to Inveroran- 2M / easy going
A straight forward path over a small hill to Inveroran. The Inveroran Hotel is a popular spot and may have been the destination if you overshoot in stage 3.

Inveroran to Kingshouse- 10M / medium going
The route now follows the old military road and traverses parts of Rannoch Moor. It can be a little exposed as there is no shelter on the moor from any inclement weather.

 



 

Kingshouse  is a hotel in the middle of the moor and there are no shops. However it is a very popular place for climbers and walkers, particularly in the back bar where you can have a wee drink and usually some excellent food. Those that want to camp can do across a small river just beside the hotel. If you are planning on staying in the hotel, you must book in advance or risk being very disappointed.

Places of Interest on route
Victoria Bridge is a beautiful bridge very near the start of the route.

The White Corries Ski centre is about 2 miles from Kings House and may offer quick access to the mountains above for a cup of tea or coffee and splendid views.

Stage six of the West Highland Way

Kingshouse to Kinlochleven / approximately 9 miles / Hard  going / paths

Kingshouse to Kinlochleven- 9M / hard going
This is an arduous part of the route with an easy start followed by a hard climb from Glen Coe to the hills above up the Devils Staircase before a long descent to Kinlochleven

 



 

Kinlochleven is a small town which used to produce high quality aluminium. There are shops, post office, bank, hotels, B&Bs and of course restaurants and pubs.

Places of Interest on route
The views from the Devils Staircase are outstanding on a clear day. This is the highest point of the route at around 550m or 1850ft.

The old aluminium factory had to channel water from the hills in large quantities to generate electricity. These water courses are quite interesting particularly after heavy rain.

The old aluminium factory has now been turned into a climbing centre with a large ice wall. Definitely worth a visit even if only to watch.

Stage seven of the West Highland Way

Kinlochleven to Fort William / approximately 14 miles / Hard  going / paths

Kinlochleven- Fort William 14M / hard to medium going
The path starts in the town and immediately starts a steep climp up into the Mamore mountains. After this the paths are less steep. Eventually you arrive in Fort William.

 



 

Fort William- This is a large and semi industrialised town and the end of the West Highland Way It has many shops hotels and other facilities. Here you can get your bus or train back to the Central belt, or if you want some more walking then the Great Glen Way starts here and you can walk to Inverness.

Places of Interest on route
This end part of the West Highland way has great paths and the scenery is just to die for. The path winds its way through the beautiful Mamore mountains of which 11 of them are over 3,000 feet.

 

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