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Walking The West Highland Way – 5 Days Itinerary

Walking the West Highland Way in 5 days

The West Highland Way is one of the best hikes in Scotland. Why? Because revellers trek through the rolling hills and by the calm lochs of the west coast of Scotland which is deemed to be one of the most beautiful areas in the country.

This 96-mile hike starts just outside of Scotland’s friendliest city, Glasgow at the town of Milngavie (pronounced Mill-guy) and ends at the outdoor capital, Fort William.

Walking the West Highland Way – 5 days is the most popular time frame however many visitors like to take longer, covering fewer miles in each day and spending more time in the towns, villages or campsites of the west coast.

This guide includes

  • The West Highland Way route(s)
  • Advice on accommodation
  • West Highland Way packing gear list

West Highland Way – 5 days Route

The longest day of the 5-day route is 22.5 miles with the shortest being the last (15 miles).

Refreshment stops and a variety of types of accommodation can be found in most areas.

There is no strict way of planning your West Highland Way hike but all routes begin in Milngavie.

Kingshouse Hotel West Highland Way

Day 1: Milngavie To Balmaha (20 miles)

The first day is relatively easy.

The West Highland Way starting point takes places in Milngavie and is identified by a large cement monument on Douglas Street.

Next head through a small car park behind Milngavie’s town centre shops.  

The first stretch takes you along fields and farmland all the way to Dumgoyne where you can buy refreshments at The Beech Tree Inn and then on to Drymen for another refreshment or overnight stop.

The next stage is on to Conic Hill, which is a little trickier to find.

Conic Hill Balmaha in Loch Lomond path

Keep an eye out for the signposts (marked with the thistle) which take you through a forest then up and over Conic Hill with stunning views of Balmaha.

Alternatively, keep walking through the village to Rowardennan.

Personally, I found this leg relatively easy, hopes were high and the weather was dry!

Unfortunately, one member of our group could not go on at this stage and was picked up in Balmaha (she rejoined us at Bridge of Orchy).

We stayed at Bay Cottage and recommend it highly. There’s a hot tub and the breakfast is superb. 


Read more | Day 1 of the West Highland Way (blisters and Balmaha)


Conic Hill Balmaha Loch Lomond views

Day 2: Balmaha to Inverarnan (21.5 miles)

Leaving the beautiful town of Balmaha with Loch Lomond at your side, walk past the shores to Inversnaid with refreshments at Inversnaid Hotel.

Here a small passenger ferry runs to the opposite side of the loch for non-hikers.

Next, it’s on to Inverarnan, sleeping options are limited to a popular and pricey hotel so WHWers often opt for the town of Tyndrum which has more options such as Tyndrum Lodges or Beinglass campsite.

Read about WHW accommodation options in detail, here.


Read next | Day 2 boots, boats and automobiles


Balmaha West Highland Way Walk

Day 3: Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven (22.5 miles)

This is the longest day of the West Highland Way hike and if it is raining you really can suffer.

The first leg takes you through farmland and on to Strathfillan (refreshment stop/small shop) then easier terrain to Tyndrum for the famous touristic Green Welly Stop serves food and snacks.

Green Welly Tyndrum Scotland

Some Wayers may choose to stop here for the night to break the hike into 6 days.

Others may continue on to Bridge of Orchy which has one hotel and a couple of guest houses.

A bus from Glasgow runs to and from Bridge of Orchy. The village also has a train station.


Read more | The day of doom – Achilles pain ruins the day


Deer with one antler Kingshouse

Day 4: Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven (18.5 miles)

This day includes walking over Rannoch Moor which can be brutal if the weather is poor (no coverage) and then on to visit the friendly deer at Kings House (refreshment stop).

Kingshouse Hotel has a snug with pies and casual dining, indoor seating at its restaurant and outdoor pods for food and drinks.

It is quite pricy so save your pennies.

This is where our party stopped for the night as we completed the West Highland Way in 6 days.

However, if you choose to power through, head behind the King House Hotel to the Devil’s Staircase which is not as scary as it sounds!

Again, the weather can be against you at this leg.

The descent leads you into Kinlochleven which has a handful of restaurants, accommodation and a Co-op shop.

It really is cool getting to sleep in a valley for the night.


Read more | Out last day of the WHW


Rannoch Moor Scotland West Highland Way

Day 5: Kinlochleven to Fort Willian (15 miles)

The final day starts with a tough climb which rewards you with views of the valley.

As you head towards Fort William, views of Ben Nevis become apparent. Will get to see the tip? It’s often hidden!

Some Wayers rest for the night in Fort William then tackle the UK’s highest mountain the next day. Will you?

End the Way with a picture of the man resting his feet.

Dine and have a celebratory drink at Tavern (try the skewers), The Volley Arms or The Crofter.

Pick up some pastries at Rain for breakfast the next day or snacks later.

West Highland Way Finish Fort William

Frequently Asked Questions About the West Highland Way

How long is the West Highland Way?

The hike is 96 miles starting at Milngavie and ends in Fort William.

What is the West Highland Way weather like?

You can expect four seasons in one day in Scotland. The west coast can be especially wet.

May tends to be one of the nicer months, April-October will be more pleasant that October-March.

Dark nights creep in around 4pm during winter.

Is the West Highland Way wild camping friendly?

Wild camping is legal in Scotland which is great for those looking to keep costs down.

Be sure to read the Scottish Outdoors Access Code for rules which include being respectful of locals and animals, picking your rubbish after you, not parking close to roads.

We talk extensively about this in our camping guide to the North Coast 500 (very popular road trip in Scotland).

Do I need to carry my own bag?

There are companies that help you transit with their West Highland Way baggage transfer options.

This means they collect in Milngavie and your bags arrive at your accommodation each day before you do (usually).

If you would prefer to carry your own bag, that’s perfectly fine.

Many hikers do. Just keep in mind that there is limited drying space in some of the accommodation and if you are camping there could be nothing available.

Invest in an Osprey bag cover US / UK to keep your belongings dry. 

Osprey Bag Cover

I’m a solo traveller, do I need to do the WHW myself?

We’re a social bunch in Scotland, why not join one of the many West Highland Way tours?

During the peak months, the route is like M9, busy!

There is a good chance you will meet fellow Wayers at each stop if you don’t want to commit to a tour.

Another option is to do a callout in one of the many Europe backpackers Facebook groups, a Scotland tips Facebook group or the specific West Highland Way support group.

These groups have developed into great wee communities for those looking for support and ideas.

How bad are the West Highland Way midges?

Argh, those blasted wee winged beasties can really ruin your holiday in Scotland.

From June – August we see the worst of the swarms. Purchase Avon Skin So Soft US / UK to ward them off.

What are your biggest West Highland Way tips?

Like all of my articles, I don’t hold back any information but in a nutshell, my biggest tips are

  • Break in your shoes/boots months before attempting the West Highland Way trail
  • Train – attempt as many 20-mile day hikes as you can. Aim for at least one two-day hike
  • Invest in a decent raincoat, I love my Marmot Precip US / UK
  • Pack flip-flops for the evenings to give your feet some breathing space
  • Biofreeze US / UK is excellent for aches and pains
  • Have fun but don’t be ashamed if you have to admit defeat at any stage. Bridge of Orchy is a good place to sit out as you can catch the bus to Kings House and start again

Here’s our lightweight hiking book comparison guide


Salomon Quest Ladies Boots

West Highland Way Accommodation

There is every type of accommodation along the West Highland Way which makes the trek very inclusive of all budgets.

Wild camping keeps costs down and campsites throughout the route offer basic facilities.

Hostels with drying rooms and kitchens can be booked at Balmaha, Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy, Kingshouse and Kinlochleven.

Bed and breakfast guest houses are very popular in Scotland and found at each stop of the Way.

Most of these bed and breakfasts offer packed lunch service too.

Staying in B&B is a really pleasant way to do the WHW as you get to meet locals and enjoy a hearty breakfast before you trek again.

Hotels are also available throughout, naturally, these are pricier than the alternatives mentioned here.


Read more | Where we stayed on the West Highland Way


Kingshouse Bunkhouse West Highland Way


West Highland Way: What to pack

Your packing list will depend on whether you are carrying your own bags or using a transfer company. Essentials include

  • Well worn-in walking boots. I wear Salomon Quest boots US / UK
  • Hiking socks
  • A good quality waterproof coat, I wear Mountain Equipment Rupal jacket US / UK which is thicker than my Marmot which is great for dryer weather, small showers 
  • Icebreaker Merino wool base layer USA / UK
  • Waterproof overtrousers USA / UK
  • Day bag with snacks and water
  • Walking sticks (optional, saved me on day three)

You may also like | Our full WHW packing list


Hiking shoes | road trip packing essentials

Final Words

This West Highland Way route planner can be adapted to meet the needs of any hiker.

If you plan to bring your dog remember to check where lambing season is taking place as you won’t be able to walk through that area and keep your pup on the lead as they do double the number of miles that we do which can blister their paws.

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The West Highland Way hiking guide that includes tips on routes, where to stay, what to pack and frequently asked questions about Scotland's most popular hiking trail.

Any questions? Ask in the comments below.

West Highland Way Packing List

West Highland Way Packing list

The West Highland Way is a 96-mile hike  which starts just outside of Glasgow in Milngavie and ends in Fort William (many then go on to hike the Munro, Ben Nevis). The trek takes you along the West Coast of Scotland and this West Highland Way packing list will advise you on what best to take in your backpack and day bag. We divided the hike up over six days, if you are aiming to complete in less or more time, adapt this guide accordingly. To reduce the stress of the hike, we (hi, my name is Gemma and I hiked with my friends for our 30th birthdays) paid a West Highland Way baggage transfer company to take our backpack bags from one location to the next. There are several companies who do this for a fee. Don’t forget your travel insurance; my Achilles went for the first time and I’ve been very active all of my life.

West Highland Way Packing List

Here is a West Highland Way checklist for what to wear hiking in Scotland

  • 1 x raincoat (decent quality – see below).
  • 1-2 fleece tops or as many as you require, sweat can smell.
  • 2-4 Icebreaker Merino wool base layer USA / UK.  They are not the cheapest so I would possibly go for 2 merino and 2 not. I really do love them and think they are worth investing in as they keep you cool if hot, warm if chilly. They also came with me to Snowbombing ski/music festival in Austria.
  • 1 t-shirt for every 2 days.
  • 2 x walking trousers. The drying options in our B&Bs weren’t great and if you are camping you’ll struggle even more.
  • Waterproof overtrousers USA / UK – by the last day, I just wore leggings and pulled these waterproofs on top when it rained. This is my staple hiking outfit while travelling to save space (worked for trekking to Machu Picchu, Peru!) They often come with a wee pouch which you can stuff the wet trousers in and have slit access to trouser pockets if worn underneath
  • Gaiters – material that goes over your shoes and covers your ankles. I never had these but will consider them now I wear trek trainers instead of walking boots (see here for this story). My friend, Gemma T, liked her gaiters, click these links USA / UK for the variety of prices, they are inexpensive
  • Pants (as in knickers).
  • Sports bra and ‘normal’ bras.
  • Socks: very important 6 pairs of clean cotton socks and 4-6 pairs of walking socks.
  • Midge nets: you will 100% need these if hiking during midge season, the West Coast midges are horrors.
  • Midge hat: if you don’t want to wear a face net over your head, try the hat with a net. 

Evening Clothes

Once you’ve removed your soggy clothes, you will want to change into something clean, or dry at least.

  • Lounging, comfortable clothes to dine drink in.
  • 1 x padded coat, like my Rab Alpine down USA / UK.
  • Socks and pants if you want clean ones after a shower.
  • Shoes/flip flops (my trainers ended up being my saviour).
  • PJs (bed socks? Some hotel rooms were cold, others toasty).
  • A towel (although all of our accommodation options provided them for free).

West Highland Way Footwear

This is the most important part of hiking gear – boots/shoes must be broken in or you will be in the world of pain!

  • 1 x well broken in walking boots/shoes are essential. Now, I hike in Salomon Quest boots US / UK.
    but have previously worn Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK which I trekked with to Machu Picchu. I had a disaster with footwear during the WHW. Not anymore!
  • 1 x shoes for evening wear (trainers saved me on Day 5)
  • 1 x flip-flops. Always Havaianas US / UK  for me, have had them for five years!) to let your feet breathe/ popping on for shared shower use
  • Leukotape US / UK  is post-WHW discover which I now use for hikes. I tape up my feet to avoid blister, this worked extremely well for my most recent hike, the West Island Way on the Isle of Bute

West Highland Way Day Bag

A small day bag is an essential part of your walking gear for hiking in Scotland as the weather can be pretty temperamental! You’ll need access to a raincoat, hat and of course, snacks.

Here is my day packing list for the West Highland Way

  • 1 x water bottle like the Tree Tribe’ US / UK which has a hook on it for attaching to your backpack (Scottish tap water to great).
  • Trail mix snacks
  • Packed lunches – bought at accommodation for approx. £5, for accommodation options, see our guide to West Highland Way accommodation.
  • Clean socks – cotton socks as well as and walking socks.
  • Gloves.
  • Hat/woollen headband.
  • Plastic protective case for phones and cameras (or plastic sandwich bag) to keep dry.
  • 1 x phone and charger like the Anker battery pack – US / UK. I always pack one when I travel/hike/leave the house for more than 3 hours.
  • Camera.
  • Suncream.
  • Lip salve/chapstick.
  • Tissues.
  • Baby wipes.
  • Plastic bag (for litter).
  • Notebook and pen.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Map…. and printed directions/accommodation information (signposts signal the way).
  • Hiking sticks/Walking poles (my heroes)
  • Torch and batteries (used once to get to hostel in Glencoe from pub).
  • 1 x day bag cover like the Osprey US / UK to protect belongings from the rain.
  • Music playlists, I took this JBL clip speaker US / UK on the West Island Way Hike this summer.
  • Hiking games like A to Zs of 90s bands, celebs names which sound like food (Salami L Jackson, Andy Murray Mint, you are welcome)

First Aid Kit

  • Blister pads, second skin is best (loads of it, go wild on eBay).
  • Ankle support (I needed both supports by Day 4).
  • Plasters.
  • Avon So Soft US / UK for those damn Scottish midges! April was good for minimal midges activity.
  • Bandages.
  • Pins (so you can burst her blisters, sexy, refrain from this for as long as possible).
  • Antiseptic.
  • Paracetamol.
  • Biofreeze US / UK for aches and pains.
  • Wine (red or white, if you are not picky about it being chilled).

Travel Insurance

Naturally, being a Scot, I get access to free healthcare through our National Health Service but I am aware that many of my readers are not actually British so word of warning – get travel insurance before you leave for the UK.

I never travel without insurance when heading further afield. I even had to claim to Vancouver and the cost of visiting the GP alone was $100 never mind the two trips to the physiotherapist which followed.

Luckily my extensive research had paid off (literally) as our insurer, True Traveller, refunded us speedily and without fuss. Heading to Scotland to hike? See if True Traveller works for you by searching their rates here.

You can read our insurance comparison guide here.


Details – West Highland Way Kit List

Quality Raincoat

I did not have the best hiking gear for walking the West Highland Way. My £25 Trespass from TK Maxx was poor quality, selected because of the colour.

I now have two of these ‘alright’ quality raincoats, I will never again scrimp on cost (as I ended up buying two anyway). My advice is – splurge, buy one decent one, named brand. I was envious as the other girls all had coats where the raindrops balanced neatly on top of the material whereas they doused mine.

For Iceland, I invested in a Mountain Equipment Rupal US / UK and it is one of the two best hiking gear decisions I’ve made. The second is purchasing Salomon Quest boots.

The Rupal is made from GORETEX which makes it waterproof, not just showerproof like cheaper coats. It is flattering and comes in decent colours.

The back of the coat covers my bum which is great in wet weather. There are two large pockets on the front of the coat which store phones, maps and even a small camera.

For long-term travel hikes, I pack a Marmot PreCip Jacket US / UK because it is water-resistant, thin, light AND folds away into its own pocket.

Although I do think something heavier like the Rupal would be better for the WHW. When it rains it pours!

Footwear

I killed my Achilles on Day 4 and I blame heavy overly supportive walking boots and my ineptness for not breaking them in.

Hiking for beginners biggest rule – do not buy boots one week before the trek, you have to break them in and mould them to your feet. In saying that, my companion, Julie’s boots were years old but she still suffered.

Helen has had her boots since she was 19 years old and she had no issues. They are leather walking boots like Scarpa US/ UK (which Craig wears).

You are mainly walking over farmlands and much of it is flat, trek trainers with gaiters over the trouser’ would suffice.

My top pick for walking boots now has to be Salomon Quest as mentioned above.

They are comfortable, waterproof and look great. My only complaint is that sometimes the lace loop catches on the tie bracket and causes me to trip.

I did the Devil’s Staircase in Nike trainers (as I could not get the boots over my ankles). What a boss I hear you say, not.

Since the West Highland Way, I’ve broken in a pair of  Salomon Ellipse trek trainers over mountains, volcanoes (even sledging down it using my feet as brakes!) and through rainforests.

I honestly wish I had them during this hike then maybe I would not have had Achilles issues? Heading elsewhere in the UK for trekking? Check out this UK hikes packing list.

Salomon Quest Ladies Boots

Socks/Vaseline/Boots Rule

Lube your feet up, seriously. Get in between the toes too. An alternative is to vaseline your feet but not your toes then tape up your toes with sports tape (which I ended up doing by the end of the week, I had comical blisters on my toes but never on my feet). And cut your toenails!

Once you are slimy put on cotton socks, walking socks and then boots.

West Highland Way Equipment List

To pole or not to pole, that is the question. I borrowed walking poles from my Mum’s friend who highly recommended them.

I could not have done it without them as they became crutches on the day of doom! Others in the group did not bother with them. Personal preference.

Midge nets. Either a face covering or hat (see here) with a net to protect your face is a must if you are hiking during midge season which starts mid-May to mid-late September.

I experienced the West Coast midges at their worst during a recent trip and I was so thankful for having face nets. 

At one spot they didn’t leave after dusk! You’ve been warned. 

Final Words

The West Highland Way was certainly an endurance test for me. It was my first multi-day hike, the first time my Achilles played up, and the first time I had to sit out of a challenge for one day to recover. Would I do it again? Sure thing, but only now I have a decent raincoat and walking boots moulded to be my feet!

Planning Your WHW Hike?

  • West Highland Way route – Day by day: starting here
  • Accommodation guide: here
  • West Highland Way map: here

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West Highland Way Packing list Scotland

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West Highland Way Accommodation List (Review): Where We Stayed

Kingshouse Hotel West Highland Way Accommodation

Scotland’s West Highland Way is a 96-mile trek which starts in sunny Milngavie, just outside of Glasgow and concludes in Fort William. I had the pleasure of hiking it over six-days with friends to celebrate a year of 30th birthdays. The full story starts here.

If you are reading to find out about West Highland Way accommodation, this guide details where we stayed each night with additional options for those West Highland Way camping/or struggling to get a reservation.

Do consider the delightful Scottish weather if you plan to camp!

Not into camping or carrying your pack? West Highland Way baggage transfer is available and the hotels and hostels are accustomed to this.

Companies meet you at your starting point to collect your luggage then drop it off at your accommodation each day.

Naturally, you will need to pack a day bag with waterproofs and snacks, read our packing list guide for more.

Planning your WHW adventure? Start here for our full guide.

Kings House Glencoe West Highland Way Hotels

West Highland Way Accommodation List

The great thing about this hike is that there are so many different types of accommodation.

Most stops have a hotel, guest houses, bed and breakfasts (B&Bs), apartments, hostels, and campsites.

Some even have hot tubs so you can soak your screaming muscles at the end of the day!

This guide will include all of the mentioned types of accommodation to cater for all kinds of hikers.

Day 0: Milngavie

The official start of the West Highland Way is located 7 miles outside of Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow, in a town called Milngavie (Mill-guy).

Many WHWers start their adventure from Glasgow, taking the train from the city.

However, some prefer to get a good night’s sleep in Milngavie and set off early to ensure that they arrive in Balmaha to see the beauty that is Conic Hill.

Milngavie Accommodation

Milngavie has an affordable Premier Inn budget hotel.

Unfortunately, are no hostels in Milngavie, however there are a couple in Glasgow. Check out the full list here.

The West Highland Way Milngavie Start

Day 1: Balamaha Accommodation

Balamaha is a beautiful village on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond.

You will find this scenic spot at the descent of Conic Hill after the first day of the West Highland Way hike.

The Oak Tree Inn is a favourite for food and the well-deserved pint at the end of day one.

Please note, wild camping is now illegal around Loch Lomond’s west shores.

Bed and Breakfast

Bay Cottage was the best West Highland Way bed and breakfast, highly recommend. Photos don’t do it justice.

  • Cost: £90 per room
  • Pros: Large room to ourselves (sleeps four, there are smaller rooms), breakfast choice (hot or continental), the packed lunch for £6 and the hot tub! Scones and tea on arrival and drying facilities for clothes
  • Cons: None

Balmaha Hotel

Oak Tree Inn is a popular hotel for food and drink.

  • Cost: Under £100
  • Pros: Nicely decorated rooms, rooms above Inn or cottages available, restaurant, shop, views!
  • Cons: On the more expensive end of the scale, budget depending
  • Read reviews at TripAdvisor

Balmaha Hostel

Balmaha bunkhouse is currently closed for renovations.

  • Cost: TBC
  • Pros: Good for large groups (can hire out full dorm – stags/hens welcomed), social area, kitchen, cereal breakfast included
  • Cons: Weak WiFi (who cares?)
  • Notes: Dog-friendly for additional £5 (Bunkhouse only) / No cards, cash only

Balmaha West Highland Way Walk


Day 2: Inverarnan Accommodation

The main attraction around Inverarnan is the 300+-year-old pub/restaurant/hotel, Drovers Inn.

Each of the 15 rooms differ and the hotel caters for solo travellers, double rooms, families and a jacuzzi room.

Room 6 may be of interest to ghost hunters!

  • Cost: Starting at £35 (single low season) to £260
  • Pros: The restaurant food is nice, the entertainment was a laugh
  • Cons: Nice rooms but cold, shared bathrooms – not for everyone (ensuite is available), catering staff spoke limited English (requests not met)

Day 2: Tydnrum Accommodation

The next stop, Tyndrum, is a popular alternative second night and has more to offer accommodation wise.

Tyndrum Hotels

Muthu Ben Doran Hotel is located on 7-acre grounds within Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

  • Cost: Under £90 for double room with ensuite
  • Pros: Beautiful location, features a restaurant, bar, breakfast
  • Cons: Rooms a tad run down according to guests

Tyndrum Lodges

Guests love Tyndrum Lodges and find it hard to fault it!

  • Cost: Under £100 for double room with ensuite
  • Pros: Location, takeout breakfast
  • Cons: Guests love these lodges!

Tyndrum Campsites

There are two campsites in Tyndrum that offer a variety of accommodation.

Campsite: Beinglass

  • Cost: £8 per person, no refunds, 100 pitches
  • Info: Campsite has shower facilities, an on-site bar/restaurant

Campsite: By the Way Hostel and Campsite

  • Cost: £10 per person, 2 man tent max
  • Pros: Huts, cabins and dorms also available
  • Cons: Does get waterlogged, staff will try accommodate you in hut

Day 3: Bridge of Orchy Accommodation

Bridge of Orchy, or Drochaid Urchaidh in Gaelic, is a hamlet or village in the Argyle and Bute region of Scotland.

There are limited facilities in Bridge of Orchy (as in, there are none).

Hikers not walking the West Highland Way may be interested in Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh.

You will want a decent night’s sleep as the next leg over Rannoch Moor can be brutal if windy.

Bridge of Orchy has a bus route that goes from Glasgow through to Kingshouse, Glencoe and a train station. It is the best connected stop during the WHW.

However, the area is expensive and limited to one restaurant and the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.

Bridge of Orchy Hotel

A popular hotel surrounded by mountains and a river, the Bridge of Orchy Hotel is a hit with WHWers who don’t mind paying a bit more than a B&B and don’t want to camp.

The restaurant is also recommended by guests. I had a hot chocolate here as I waited to get the bus when I was injured.

  • Cost: £200 +
  • Pros: Restaurant, cosy, one of the upmarket West Highland Way hotels
  • Cons: A bit of the pricier scale, area is just expensive

Bridge of Orchy camping

There is no official camp site here but West Highland Way wild camping is allowed, as with any camping in Scotland follow the Scottish Outdoors Code.

Day 4: Kings House (Glencoe) Accommodation

Glencoe is one of my favourite spots in Scotland.

You really lose yourself to hills here which leave you feeling inferior.

Look out for the friendly, photogenic deer who hang outside of the Kingshouse Hotel. Don’t feed them please.

Kingshouse is a popular stop for food and a drink.

Kingshouse Bunkhouse West Highland Way

Glencoe Hotel

The Glencoe Inn is a striking hotel located under the Pap of Glencoe and surrounded by the beautiful Ardgour Hills.

  • Cost: £200+
  • Pros: On-site restaurant and bar
  • Cons: Pricier side of WHW accommodation

Hostels at Glencoe

Glencoe Independent Hostel is where we stayed. They can help organise a pick up and collection from Kingshouse approx. £15 per person.

The building is an old croft and it has a drying room which is ideal.

The hostel has big rooms for groups to reserve in full.

  • Cost: £200+ for groups
  • Pros: Large room (one room for all six of us), breakfast packs adequate, drying room, codes for security, shared showers hot
  • Cons: Those fire doors, slammed all night
Deer with one antler Kingshouse

Day 5: Kinlochleven Accommodation

I really enjoy spending time in Kinlochleven.

I’ve stayed over twice to hike and have also spent the day indoor ice hiking and climbing.

It’s such a great spot for outdoor fans.

Unfortunately, neither of the accommodation options I stayed at are taking bookings. Here are some alternatives.

Kinlochleven Pods

A popular choice for visitors and WHWers, Coe Pod glamping huts have ensuite bathrooms to ensure a comfortable stay.

  • Cost: £120
  • Pros: Comfortable, private, ensuite
  • Cons: Only one chalet so books out fast

Day 6: Fort William Accommodation

You’ll never be so thankful to see a town centre! Fort William is the final stop on the West Highland Way hike.

Some hikers head straight to the train station to get home, others stick around for a few nights to chill or hike Ben Nevis!

Fort William Hotels

There are over 20 hotels in Fort William to choose from, catering for every budget and type of traveller.

The Garrison is a popular with guests for its modern decor, bar, central location and friendly staff.

  • Cost: £350+
  • Pros: Guests love it, parking for hikers meeting family
  • Cons: Luxury end of the hotel market so pricier, treat yourself!

The Distillery Guest House has comfortable rooms, great breakfast and is located on the banks of the River Ness.

  • Cost: £150+
  • Pros: Scenic location, breakfast, rooms
  • Cons: 10 mins walk to town

Fort William Hostels

The Glen Nevis Youth Hostel is situated at the foot of Ben Nevis so an ideal base for those looking to hike Scotland’s highest Munro Ben Nevis!

  • Cost: £170 double room
  • Pros: Location for hikers
  • Cons: 45 mins walk to Fort William centre

There are currently 5 hostels in Fort William. Click here to read reviews.


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6. West Highland Way – Kinlochleven to Fort William

Kinlochleven to Fort William WHW sign

West Highland Way Day Six Low Down

Day 6: Kinlochleven to Fort William: Songs from A-Z
Miles: 16
Time: 09:30 – 16:30
Weather: One sideways downpour

Climbing out of a Valley

Leaving Kinlochleven was one of my favourite parts of West Highland Way ’14, not because the town is basic (the Co-op is nice enough) but because we had the opportunity to see this…

Kinlochleven West Highland Way Scotland

It may be raining at the bottom, keep walking, there’s sunshine at the top

As we ascended, the rain started, as we reached the top, the rain had stopped. Although that was not the last of the rain. The trek made me think of the Highland Clearances, I found it hard to imagine communities living in this vast space.

West Highland Way Scotland Kinlochleven to Fort William

Into the Valley, The Skids

Horizontal Rain

We met a group of lads a couple of times today, between them they could not have had more than a couple of plastic bags. They obviously hadn’t read my packing list. It did get me thinking that we probably overthink the packing process. To keep us motivated through the horizontal rain we selected songs titles from A-Z and sang them in their entirety (or as much as we could), this was rejuvenating.

Fin – Fort William

As we reached Fort William (where the famous Harry Potter train leaves!) my parents met us with Buck’s fizz which was just what we needed to scrape ourselves through Fort William. Seriously, who moved the goalposts? The traditional end to The West Highland Way would have been manageable, I genuinely thought I was going to have to get a piggyback from my Dad through the high street. But we made it…

West Highland Way Finish Fort William

After a post celebratory pint we parted ways. My Dad then drove home, unintentionally, through the route I had just walked (taking me six days). Did you know that some hikers then go on to climb Ben Nevis?


  • Day by day: starting here
  • Packing list: here
  • Accommodation guide: here

 

5. West Highland Way – Kingshouse to Kinlochleven

Kingshouse to Kinlochleven WHW sign

West Highland Way Day Five Low Down

Day 5: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: Slept in a Valley Miles: 9 (over The Devil’s Staircase) Time: 10:30 -15:30 Weather: Rainy (but wore trainers) Accommodation: Highland Getaway (£38 per person / now £55!)

The Devil’s Staircase

Day 5 of The West Highland Way started with a freak out in the drying room as I could not get either pair of walking boots over my Achilles’ heels, after much deliberation I went with the Nike trainers.

We took a taxi ride (£15 both ways) from the Glencoe Independent Hostel to The Kings House Hotel where we geared up for the penultimate day.

We started the trek from the right-hand side of The Kings House Hotel, this trail takes you up and over The Devil’s Staircase which isn’t actually as terrifying as I thought it would be.

Devils Staircase Kinlockleven West Highland Way

The hike itself was very pleasant. Lots of natural tones to stare at for most of the journey and it did rain but we kept ourselves amused naming pop stars beginning with the letters A – Z, getting us to Kinlochleven with no further injury!

West Highland Way Kinlochleven Devils Staircase

Sleeping in a Valley, Kinlochleven

As today was shorter we decided not to bother with packed lunches and dined at our destination, The Highland Gateway, Kinlochleven, after a much needed snooze in the cosy hotel room (review).

That shower was the best shower I had so far, I think that has a lot to do with the downpour for the majority of the day. What I didn’t quite realise was the fact we were sleeping in a valley!

Devils Staircase Kinlockleven Scotland West Highland Way

A quick but wet hike for day 5 (Kingshouse to Kinlochleven) and a cosy night’s sleep in a valley!


What games do you play to keep yourself going on the road?