Back to previous page

Hiking the West Highland Way - Itinerary May 13 - 23, 2025

The trip starts in Glasgow and ends in Fort William. 

Big Round World will provide additional information to registered participants. Below is our planned itinerary. Please, keep in mind that it could change due to weather conditions, or other circumstances beyond our control.  Included meals shown by B - Breakfast, D - Dinner.

Daily mileages, elevation gains and walking times are approximate and for guidance only.

Day 1  Tuesday May 13th, 2025 Arrival day

Check in at our hotel, in the center of Glasgow from 3pm. Meeting and welcome drinks at 6 pm in the hotel reception. Dinner at 7 pm. D

Day 2   Wednesday 14th Milngavie to Drymen  12½ miles, +850 feet, 6 hours hiking

After a short train ride from the center of Glasgow, we arrive at Milngavie, and head directly to the granite obelisk which marks the official start of the West Highland Way.  We quickly leave behind the conurbation of Glasgow, heading through parkland, woods and fields, largely on good paths, tracks and lanes and with no significant climbing from Milngavie. After a while, the path follows the track-bed of the disused railway from Glasgow to Aberfoyle, revealing a varied and rapidly changing landscape. Later, we pass the Dumgoyach standing stones, thought to date back to the Bronze Age and the Glengoyne distillery. Finally, we progress along minor roads and rolling farmland to the village of Drymen, our resting place for the night. Overnight in Dryman. B, D 

Day 3  Thursday 15th Drymen to Balmaha  7½ miles, +1,300 ft, 4 hours

Leaving Dryman we follow minor roads through gently rolling countryside, then forest and onto open moorland as we start our 700 feet ascent of Conic Hill (1,184ft). Pending fine weather the views across Loch Lomond are spectacular and give a taste of the epic landscapes to be experienced along our way. A chain of islands stretch across Loch Lomond and mark the highland boundary fault, the literal threshold between the lowlands and the highlands of Scotland. A steep descent takes us to the tiny village of Balmaha where we lodge for two nights. While here we will take the ferry to explore the nearby Inchcailloch Island Nature Reserve -  while keeping watch for Osprey diving and plucking fish from the surface of the loch. Inchcailloch means “island of the old or cowled woman”. An Irish missionary, St Kentigerna settled on the island in the early 8th century and died there in 734. Legend has it that a nunnery was established on the island. Overnight Balmaha. B, D

Day 4  Friday 16th Balmaha to Rowardennan  7½ miles, +800 ft, 4 hours

Leaving Balmaha, our woodland path winds by the shores of Loch Lomond, before rising above the trees and across bracken covered banks to reach a horizontal path leading to the viewpoint of Craigie Fort. Meandering through woodland, we get closer to the shoreline and arrive at a shingle beach at Milarrochy, a great spot to enjoy the view across the loch. We continue through the majestic Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Eventually the path emerges from the forest to rejoin the road along the loch shoreline. More woodland follows, with steep little climbs, including a few rocky steps before a much more agreeable descent. Finally, passing between flamboyant rhododendron bushes, we come within sight of Rowardennan. Overnight Rowardennan. B, D 

Day 5  Saturday 17th Rowardennan to Ardlui  11½ miles +1,900 ft, 7 hours 

Although spent mostly at low level, this is a tough, but beautiful day alongside the eastern shore of Loch Lomond and below the slopes of Ben Lomond. The path becomes rocky with crags and boulders on a tortuous up-and-down route. We enter the lands of Clan MacGregor and we pass a crag known as Rob Roy’s Prison, where according to tradition, the famous outlaw detained prisoners and hostages. A highlight of this section is the spectacular waterfall at Inversnaid. We can get up close as the route takes a footbridge over the waterfall as it cascades down into Loch Lomond. The loch narrows towards its northern tip and at Ardleish, we go down to the pier and summon the ferry from Ardlui. We cross Loch Lomond to our superb family-run boutique hotel on the loch. The friendly bar is a Whisky Ambassador and a great place for a memorable taster session.  Overnight Ardlui. B, D 

Day 6  Sunday 18th Ardlui to Tyndrum - 14 miles +2,900 ft, 8 hours 

After a hearty breakfast, we cross the loch again on the ferry to rejoin the WHW. We climb to a small ridge and begin to really travel into the hills. Hiking however is much easier than the day before, with excellent views south over Loch Lomond from the side of the small hill of Cnap Mor. A gentle ascent on an ancient drovers’ road takes us to Glen Falloch with a trinity of Munros – Beinn Lui, Beinn Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig. A munro is a Scottish mountain with a height over 3,000ft.  Next we descend along the falls of Ben Glas Burn and pass by a few ruined cottages and as we head down to Derrydarroch. This area hosts some of the remnants of the great ancient Caledonian pine forest that covered this entire area following the last ice age. Near the top of the pass, we join for the first time the old 18th century military road built by General Wade’s successor William Caufield who contributed to over 800 miles of military roads. From now on, much of the Way will follow this road to Fort William. The surrounding hills shepherd us towards Tyndrum initially following the River Fillan across the valley floor. At Kirkton Farm we come across the ruins of St Fillan’s Priory graveyard, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, before we join the River Cononish into Tyndrum. Overnight Tyndrum for 2 nights. B, D 

Day 7  Monday 19th Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy - 7 miles, +440ft, 3 ½ hours

Once an overnight rest halt or “stance” favoured by cattle drovers, Tyndrum prospered from lead mining (the spoil heaps are still clearly visible). More recently, it experienced a renewed fame as a gold mining center. Despite its small size, it features two railway stations as the lines from Glasgow to Fort William and Oban diverge here. We head up over the top of a pass to face the magnificent Beinn Dorain (3,530ft), an imposing hill rising almost 3,000 feet from the valley floor in a single craggy slope. This is prime red deer country as the deer graze high up the hills during the summer months. Striding into Auch Gleann provides a tremendous sense of openness and freedom. We descend to the wide valley floor, home to the Auch Estate where we might see Highland cattle and cross the glen river before an easy walk into Bridge of Orchy. Overnight Tyndrum. B, D

Day 8  Tuesday 20th Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse  12 miles, +1,600 ft, 6 ½ hours

While exceptional for views (pending a clear day), Rannoch Moor is exposed and can be tricky in bad weather as there is no shelter. Returning to Bridge of Orchy, a short ascent on the hillside of Ben Inverveigh (2,096ft) through forestry takes us out in the open for superb views of a sprawling mass of granite mountains to the north and a scintillating loch to the right. Next is a stunning descent without difficulties to Inveroran and Forest lodge at the western end of Loch Tulla. Here, we abandon the old military road for the old Glencoe Road and enter a fantastic upland plateau, encircled by imposing mountains. This is the longest and most exposed stretch of the whole way, reaching an altitude of almost 1,500 feet. We walk in a landscape of wild, open heather moorland, rocks and lochans of all shapes and sizes. We cross the River Bà, a beautiful, if lonely place. The route rises again with clear views for miles around, contouring Meall a’ Bhuiridh (3,635ft) before descending to Blackrock cottage within view of one of Scotland’s most photographed mountains, Buachaille Etive Mor. Overnight Kingshouse. B, D

Day 9   Wednesday 21st Kingshouse to Kinlochleven  9 miles, +1,500 ft, 5 hours

This is the upper end of Glencoe, a glen made eternally famous by tales of the massacre of Glencoe (1692), when most members of the Clan MacDonald were slaughtered by soldiers under Captain Campbell after 12 days of professed friendship. From the King’s House, we take the bridge over the River Etive. There is a good path throughout, following the course of the old military road. We begin with a traverse of the lower slopes of Beinn a’ Chrulaiste (2,811ft), not quite a Munro but a Corbett. A Corbett is a Scottish hill between 2,500 and 2,999 feet high with a drop of at least 500 feet on all sides.  We can admire this magnificent scenery, probably the most spectacular of the whole West Highland Way, while ascending the “Devil’s Staircase”, a zig-zag track not at all difficult despite its name, winding its way upward, with a good chance of spotting red grouse. The pass marking the staircase summit, is the highest point on the WHW at 1,798 feet. On a clear day, the view from the gap is outstanding, with a first glimpse of Ben Nevis and the Mamores mountains to the north. From the top, a fairly relaxing rocky path descends to remote Kinlochleven, site of Britain’s second aluminium smelting plant built between 1904 and 1909 powered by hydro-electricity produced by the water down from Blackwater reservoir. Overnight Kinlochleven. B, D 

Day 10   Thursday 22nd Kinlochleven to Fort William  15 miles, +2,300 ft, 8 hours

A short steep climb through birch woods, takes us to the hidden valley of Lairig Mor, a wild landscape of considerable beauty behind the high ridged summits of Mam na Gualainn and Beinn na Caillich. The walking becomes easier on this broad track that crosses several burns, most of them on footbridges. This is a great place to spot wild orchids and there are magnificent mountains on both sides. The track contours the southern flank of the Mamores and eventually runs northwards, parallel to the river. Beyond the glen, the route through the forest is rough in places, with a few more ups and downs. A final ascent cuts across the hillside and brings us above Glen Nevis and the impressive bulk immediately opposite of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain at 4,414ft. Then, it's all downhill to Glen Nevis and the road into Fort William, where a statue marks the end of the West Highland Way. We head to our cosy B&B, a 19th-century Victorian house overlooking Loch Linnhe, to freshen up before our celebratory farewell dinner. Overnight Fort William. B, D

Day 11   Friday 23rd Departure

Our epic hike along the West Highland Way has come to its end. Check out 10:15 am. B.

Four trip bulletins will be provided prior to departure with more detailed and specific information to help you prepare for your adventure. If you’d like advice on your in-country travel arrangements, please do ask, we are happy to help.

Return to previous page

Trip Dates:   May 13 - 23, 2025 | 11 days

Exclusive small group size limited to 6 participants 

Trip Price: $4,965 per person | Deposit: $500

Single supplement: $1011

Balance to be paid by February 12, 2025

Price is based on double occupancy of rooms. Same gender roommate will be assigned to participants traveling solo. Single supplements are very limited. Your non-refundable deposit will hold your reservation. Either pay on line (credit/ debit cards accepted) using our secure PayPal payment system or write a check, payable to “Big Round World”, and mail it to: PO Box 1337, Lyons, CO 80540.

How to Sign Up