Scotland’s West Highland Way – One of the World’s Best Hikes

If you’d like to enjoy an adventurous seven-day walk in the Scottish Highlands then the West Highland Way (WHW) should interest you. This trip takes you through the beautiful and diverse landscapes of the region and offers some unforgettable scenery.

The hike begins in the Pentland Hills in a town called Milngavie, which isn’t too far from the historic city of Glasgow. It takes you through the countryside and ends up in Fort William in the Highlands. While there are many one-day hikes in Scotland, you won’t be able to complete the entire WHW unless you have a week to spare as it’s close to 100 miles in length.

(photo credit: nikolaj-kuebler)

The trail attracts about 50,000 visitors each year. These are people of all skill and fitness levels who decide to hike at least a part of the famous trail. If you’d like to cover the entire distance, you’ll find there are plenty of places to eat and sleep along the way.

How far you hike could depend on how fit you are and how much you love the wildlife along the route. There are plenty of accommodations along the trail. These include guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, and hostels. The trail can get relatively busy during the summers, so you might want to make reservations when you’re looking for places to sleep.

However, if you’re a true lover of the outdoors you always have the option of sleeping out underneath the bright stars. There are several official campsites on the hike. Just about all of them feature showers and toilets and you might even be able to wash your clothes at some of them. In addition, you’ll find that wild camping is also allowed as long as you clean up after yourself.

There are a few items you should make sure you take with you when following the route. These include a compass or GPS, a watch, a whistle, a flashlight, emergency food, water, a first aid kit,    toiletries, a multi-tool, garbage bags, and a survival blanket.

Of course, if you plan on camping out along the way, you’ll need something to sleep in and a tent if you prefer one. A camera is also a good idea as are walking poles and binoculars. Make sure you have the proper footwear as well as some extra socks.

Pack your gear in a sturdy, comfortable backpack and remember Scotland is well known for its rainy days. You have the option of carrying your gear with you or paying somebody to transport it for you. There are several companies along the WHW that will take your backpack from point A to point B for you while you just carry the essentials with you.

As well as being one of Scotland’s most famous walks, the WHW is also the country’s oldest. It was created in the 1960s as the nation’s original official long-distance hiking route and was finally finished in 1980.

The hike is so popular because it offers ever-changing, beautiful landscapes along it. It takes you past a variety of lakes, forests, moors, and mountains. The spectacular countryside is also home to various types of interesting wildlife, such as fox, sheep, deer, badgers, otters, owls, osprey, golden eagles, and magpies.

If you reach Fort William, which lies near the base of Ben Nevis, and you’d still like to carry on hiking, you’re in luck. There’s another long-distance hike which begins in Fort William known as the Great glen Way. This route is close to 70 miles long and stretches across Scotland to the east where you’ll end up in the lovely town of Inverness.