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Holidays

Self-Guided Walking: West Highland Way

Scotland
Walk & Trek
Self-Guided
MODERATE MODERATE

Tackle one of the world’s greatest trails through the magnificent Scottish Highlands on this self-guided walking holiday

Trip Code: MWH8
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Self-Guided Walking: West Highland Way

Highlights
  • A world-class route through some of the Scottish Highland’s most dramatic and awe-inspiring scenery
  • Walk the banks of Loch Lomond and the shores of Loch Linnhe surrounded by views of the mountains
  • Tackle the wilderness of Rannoch Moor and the Devil’s Staircase on this challenging self-guided walking holiday
  • Extensive route notes, recommendations for local meals, and B&B in local guesthouses included in the holiday price

At a Glance
  • Self-Guided
  • 7 days walking
  • Average of 21km walking per day
  • Packed lunches available on request
  • Recommendations for excellent local meals
  • Join In Milngavie / Ends in Fort William

Accommodation & Meals
  • 8 Breakfasts
  • 8 nights Guesthouse
Overview

The West Highland Way was Scotland’s first long-distance footpath and quite rightly is considered to be a world-class walking ambition. Covering 95 miles of some of Scotland’s finest Highland scenery the path starts just outside Glasgow and ends on the shores of Loch Linnhe at Fort William.


The trail follows in the footsteps of drovers, pilgrims, soldiers, clansmen and cattle-thieves through sometimes inhospitable but beautiful terrain. It joins the Scottish lowlands and Loch Lomond with the wilds of the Scottish Highlands. Rannoch Moor’s vast open spaces and menacing mountains are unforgettable and the infamous Devil’s Staircase will take you to the highest point of the trail. This is self-guided walking in some of the world’s most remote and wild places and is not to be underestimated. The trip includes all accommodation, breakfast and full luggage support meaning you can walk with a light rucksack and concentrate on savouring the walk through the magnificent scenery.  


We offer a range of itineraries for the whole route depending on your preferred daily walking distance between 6 days and 9 days walking. It’s also possible to choose shorter breaks on one of our Highlights holidays.

Is this holiday for you?

Thousands of regular walkers complete the WHW every year – but remember this is a challenging route passing through increasingly remote and mountainous terrain. There are some longer days too. This is a route for experienced walkers.Terrain: Varied – lowland meadows, foothills, loch sides, remote moorland, and high mountain passes – it has it all! What’s it like underfoot? The r …

Thousands of regular walkers complete the WHW every year – but remember this is a challenging route passing through increasingly remote and mountainous terrain. There are some longer days too. This is a route for experienced walkers.Terrain: Varied – lowland meadows, foothills, loch sides, remote moorland, and high mountain passes – it has it all! What’s it like underfoot? The route is generally well maintained but there are sections where the going is rougher, and others where it can get muddy. The side of Loch Lomond is infamous for its difficult tree roots. How Much Up & Down? Not too much considering where you are! Over 4000m of ascent in total, with climbs of 300 - 500m on most days. The 2 biggest climbs – 500m up the Devils’ Staircase, and 700m out of Kinlochleven, are saved for the final 2 days. Signposting: Good. Navigation: Signposting is good and the route follows well defined paths, so no particular difficulties. But there are sections of remote wilderness (Rannoch Moor), and higher mountain terrain (where you may be in the mist on a bad day) so you need to be able to navigate – these aren’t places you want to get lost. Weather: Some people complete the whole route in fine weather, but most will encounter at least some rain, and possibly hill fog on the higher ground. Early or late in the season hail or snow are possibilities. Good clothing and waterproofs absolutely essential, even if you end up not needing them too often.

Why KE?

We operate this trip in collaboration with our sister company Mickledore Travel, which is also based in Keswick in the Lake District. Mickledore have a long tradition of operating self-guided walking holidays along some of the finest trails in England, Scotland and Wales. Route notes, maps, luggage transfers and bed & breakfast accommodation in the best B&Bs, guesthouses and inns along the way are all included. Recommendations are also made for the best places to find delicious local meals at each night stop. 


Mickledore have a near perfect customer satisfaction score (99%), and we have no doubt that you will find their knowledgeable and friendly team able to answer even the most detailed of questions. 


Different durations of this holiday are available on request.

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Itinerary

Arrive at your hotel in Milngavie, a suburb of Glasgow.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

This is an easy pleasant walk along the valleys of Blane and Endrick. At Craigallian Loch take time to soak up the magnificent views of the rugged Campsie Fells.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B

Ascent

325 M

Distance

19 KM

Today's route follows a mixture of good woodland paths and hillside tracks onto Conic Hill, rewarding you with stunning views of Loch Lomond and the surrounding countryside. Once on the banks of the Loch the path gently rises and falls as it journeys through native woodland interspersed with rocky coves and tiny beaches.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B

Ascent

680 M

Distance

23 KM

Today is mainly rugged walking over loch side rocks and tree roots with some scrambling. This can be a wild and demanding section of the Way, especially north of Inversnaid. The reward for your endeavor however is time spent in splendid oak woods and superb lochside views.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B

Ascent

824 M

Distance

23 KM

This is typical highland walking through glens and over low passes with moderate ascents and descents. Well surfaced paths and tracks follow the delightful River Falloch before a short section of moorland leads into the village of Tyndrum. There are many fine mountain views to be enjoyed today.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B

Ascent

549 M

Distance

21 KM

A memorable day surrounded by amazing scenery as you pass Bridge of Orchy and cross the atmospheric Rannoch Moor. This desolate landscape is undoubtedly the wildest and most remote stretch of the Way with little in the way of shelter and with no escape route. Kings house offers stunning views of the iconic Glencoe mountains.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B

Ascent

678 M

Distance

31 KM

A moderate to hard day with a climb over the Devil's Staircase, the highest point on the West Highland way. The terrain is mainly good underfoot but it is highly exposed and can be difficult in bad weather! From the top of the pass there are good views of the Glencoe mountains and in favourable weather, over the Mamores to Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B

Ascent

456 M

Distance

14 KM

A challenging but rewarding final day starting with a steep climb out of Kinlochleven following rough paths and offering stunning views over Loch Leven. The Way rises and falls through conifer plantations before forest tracks lead you down into the Nevis Forest and beyond there a short walk to Fort William.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

Meals

B

Ascent

712 M

Distance

23 KM

Enjoy a relaxing breakfast at your accommodation. You may wish to take a stroll around Fort William before making your onward journey.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Point Point
Direction Direction
Trek

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Self-guided information pack containing your map and route notes
  • Luggage transport

  • Travel Insurance
  • Evening meals
  • Packed lunches (can be booked at an additional cost)
  • Off road parking (available at most locations on request)
  • Transport to the start and away from the finish
  • Personal equipment
  • Any additional activities/excursions indicated as optional

This holiday is operated by our sister company, Mickledore Travel. KE is not acting as an agent, but is marketing the holiday on Mickledore’s behalf. All bookings and payments will be processed by Mickledore, and you will enter into an agreement directly with them under the terms of their booking conditions.

You will be posted your self-guided holiday pack once we have received the balance (normally around 8 weeks before the start of your holiday).  We supply one holiday pack per booking and this will be posted to the person that made the booking. Extra packs can be purchased at £30 per pack. Please contact us a minimum of 6 weeks in advance if you require an extra pack. 

Your holiday pack comprises of:

  • Your itinerary with details of each night’s accommodation; information on your evening meals, as well as luggage transport and transfers, (where applicable).
  • Directions and detailed maps to each accommodation
  • A guidebook that describes the route in detail, and covers the whole route with a series of maps, as well as providing a wealth of background information.
  • Map(s) which cover the entire route(s).
  • Luggage Tags (if luggage transport booked) which the luggage courier will use to identify your bags.
  • Information on local facilities, such as cafes and other recommended places to eat, cash points, taxi companies, etc.

As part of the standard charge we will issue the following:

  • 1 guidebook and map for up to 4 people
  • 2 guidebooks and maps for 5-7 people
  • 3 guidebooks and maps for 8 people or more

You may purchase extra copies from us at a discounted price.

This holidays starts at your accommodation in Milngavie. All of our self-guided holidays are sold on a land only basis allowing you the flexibility to choose the travel method which best suits you.

Detailed instructions on getting to your first night’s and returning from your last night's accommodation by car, or on foot from/to the nearest train or bus station, will also be included in the holiday pack on individual accommodation maps.

This holiday is on a B&B basis. Packed lunches are available on request and we offer recommendations for each evening meal.

Water is drinkable from the taps on this holiday. Please fill your personal bottles for your day in the morning. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

Evening meals aren't included in the package, but we include details and recommendations for each night of your itinerary. You will normally be within walking distance of a pub and/or restaurant, or where there is good food available at the accommodation, we’ll book that for you. Allow about £20.00 per night.

Pack lunches can be provided on this holiday for an additional cost from £51. We recommend this as there will not always be a handy shop or cafe on the route.

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

One of the great features of our West Highland Way holidays is the quality of the accommodation, including small country house hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfasts and farm house accommodation. In selecting the accommodation we look for helpful, friendly hosts with good quality, characterful accommodation close to the trail. We always try to arrange en suite accommodation, i.e. rooms with their own bathrooms for each night of your stay. However, in some of the more remote locations accommodation is limited and occasionally we may have to book rooms with shared bathrooms for one or two nights of your holiday, (especially if the booking is made at short notice), but we will always let you know if this is likely to be the case.

Single Rooms
We are happy to book single rooms on this walk but cannot normally book more than 2 for any one group. Single room bookings include a supplement.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

Vaccinations

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations.

GHIC / Medical cover

UK residents should carry a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment when you're visiting an EU country or Switzerland. This is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is vital when travelling overseas.

Severe Allergies

Please inform our KE Sales and support team of any severe allergies you may have before travel. We will always do our best to help but we are unable to guarantee an allergy free environment on our KE trips. We advise that you always carry your own treatment for the allergy with you such as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' if required.  We also recommend that you discuss this with your accommodation on arrival so that they can better assist you.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please note that a paper copy of your travel insurance is required if you are travelling to Huaraz and the Huayhuash region.

Where luggage transport is included in the price, this will be a standard of 1 piece of luggage per person, usually up to 20kg in weight. On some routes the weight limit may be less, but we will advise you if this is the case. If you leave your luggage at your accommodation in the morning, it will be waiting for you on arrival at the B&B that evening. Any extra bags can be transported (at an additional charge) as long as they are pre-booked.

On certain holidays we also offer a storage service for extra luggage not needing to be transported for the holiday. Please contact us for for information on which holidays and a quotation.

All you need to carry is a small day sack to hold your waterproofs, personal items, packed lunch, map, guidebook and camera. You should be prepared for all weathers, at all times of year.

YOU SHOULD BRING THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:

  • Walking boots – need to be comfortable and well broken in
  • Several pairs of thick walking socks
  • Mittens/gloves
  • Warm hat and/or sun hat
  • Raincoat: (waterproof and windproof with a hood)
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Thermal long-johns & thermal top
  • Jacket
  • Fleece tops
  • Fleece or polypropylene trousers (no denim or cotton)
  • Spare clothing for the evening
  • Shorts and t-shirt (ideally made from synthetic fibres)
  • Map case
  • Compass
  • Torch: with spare batteries
  • First aid kit: insect repellent, sunscreen, blister kits, pain relief and assorted bandages
  • Water bottle
  • Walking poles (if you already use these)
  • Small day sack (20-30L) for carrying your personal items
  • Day sack liner / black bin bag / day sack waterproof cover
  • Camera and memory card
  • Phone and charger
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses
  • Whistle
  • GPS (if you already use one)

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

DATES & PRICES
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