What did you do for your 30th? My friends and I decided to take on a challenge – to walk 96 miles through the rolling hills and flowing streams of the West Coast of Scotland. This trek is called the West Highland Way and it all begins just outside of Glasgow in Milngavie (easily reached by train) and ends in Fort William near Inverness. Day one of the West Highland Way Milngavie to Balmaha is a quick 20 miles and there is a warm welcome from the Conic Hill views and a hot tub if you follow our West Highland Way accommodation advice (tempted?)
Day 1. West Highland Way Milngavie to Balmaha
- Miles: 20
- Time: 10 -17:30 (lots of breaks)
- Weather: Dry mostly, spot of rain, mild
- Accommodation: Bay Cottage (£39 per person then / now £40)
Stage 1. Milngaive to Drymen
We encouraged friends and family to join us along the way (to prevent any deaths by annoyance), the day one team consisted of myself, Helen, our two teaching friends Julie and Nicola. We wanted to make the walk enjoyable so decided to pay for a company to take our bags (see here). The first part of the West Highland Way walk takes you through a small car park behind the Milngavie town centre shops and then through fields (it is well posted) all the way to Dumgoyne where you can stop for lunch at The Beech Tree Inn(we had packed lunches) and then on to Drymen where we had our second lunch (this walking all day is great!)
Stage 2. That Conic Hill!
As you will soon find out this Scottish trek did not come without many fails. First, we had difficulty getting out of Drymen. We followed the directions which took us to the right into a wooded area but after a chat with a local, we headed straight and this eventually took us to a left turn through what looked like a scene from The Lion King with all the broken and dried-out trees. Julie took the reigns on my walking sticks (so thankful for them, for advice on what else to pack for the West Highland Way hike check out our packing list), her feet were letting her down. However, this grim part of the walk was the gateway to beauty… the views of Balmaha from Conic Hill.
At approx. 17:30 we had reached our destination, Balmaha, day one of the West Highland Way completed. We said goodbye to Nicola and hello to Jen G who had driven from Aberdeen to spend the evening with us.
We made the best decision staying at The Bay Cottage (accommodation), which was just at the foot of the end of the walk, for three reasons. Firstly, we had our own room outside of the BnB, secondly, the food was immense, and the packed lunch extensive (pay a small fee £5.50) and finally… a HOT TUB! You can soak your muscles after the 20 mile walk! The staff were also very friendly and accommodating and The Bay Cottage is just across from the pub which brings us to the last stage the Milngavie to Balmaha West Highland Way day…
Stage 3. Pint Time
We had a pint and dinner at The Oak Tree Inn, went for a dip then watched Made in Chelsea in bed – perfect.
Keep reading, the whole week is covered…
- Day by day: day 2
- Packing list: here
- Accommodation guide: here
- Into hikes in Scotland? Here is our most recent, the West Island Way on the Isle of Bute
What did you do for a milestone birthday?
PS. In 2014 we did not have an SLR camera- apologies for the quality of images, not to normal standards!