Having been a member of the team at Absolute Escapes for more than 6 months now, I was itching to get on and do a walk for myself and see what it was all about. The West Highland Way seemed to be the obvious place to start and I was not disappointed!
I began my adventure on a rainy Monday morning, not quite sure what to expect. As this trail is not one to rush, and I only had 5 days to do it, I decided to drive half and walk half, so as to experience the glory of all the different areas in a well-paced fashion.
As soon as I arrived at the start in Milngavie, I wished I was walking it all! However, my car wouldn’t drive itself so off I went looking for my next stop. The further I went, the more spectacular the scenery became.
My next stop was Drymen (which means ‘On the Ridge’), a lovely village, with lots to offer and plenty of amenities. I was fortunate enough to stay at the beautiful Braeside B&B, and had a cosy evening at The Clachan Inn which is full of character, and reputed to be the oldest pub in Scotland.
I went on to Balmaha and out the other side to Rowardennan, with plenty of beautiful scenery along the way. The road seemed to get quieter and narrower, until suddenly I could go no further as it came to an end, just after the Rowardennan Hotel. From here it opened up to such stunning views across Loch Lomond, and is another beautiful spot to spend the night before continuing your walk.
Next morning I made my way around Loch Lomond to Inverarnan, Crianlarich and finished at Tyndrum, where I would park my car and complete the rest on foot – I couldn’t wait to get walking! So, Wednesday morning was when it really started – and the weather was in a very good mood. Off I went on my first stretch from Tyndrum to Kingshouse.
After a long and challenging, but spectacular day I reached Kingshouse and was warmly welcomed by some furry friends casually strolling around the grounds of the Hotel.
With a hearty meal, hot shower and a great night’s sleep, I was up and off bright and early Thursday morning, heading for Kinlochleven via the infamous ‘Devil’s staircase’. Not sure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised to find it relatively easy, and even for the tough parts, I couldn’t complain at the sight of immense beauty everywhere I turned. This certainly made up for any thoughts of tired and sore feet!
I soon arrived in Kinlochleven, a quaint village, beautifully situated with a backdrop of hills and picturesque scenery. I had a good feeling about this evening’s accommodation and was delighted to be proved right! I had been looking forward to staying at Allt-na-Leven all week, and what a stunning place it was. Another lovely meal at the Tailrace Inn and I was ready for an early night in my luxurious room with treats, puffy pillows and squidgy duvets.
Friday brought my final day’s walking and with it, some with mixed feelings! It was drizzling so I was hoping it would clear up for the 16 mile day but I was well kitted out and prepared for the ever-changing Scottish weather. After a short spell of rain, it soon cleared and so did my surroundings. I found myself once again, in a place where nothing but beauty surrounded me, filling me with emotions I can’t quite describe! Then, all of a sudden, I was surrounded by heavy clouds, and down came the rain. I was so happy to see up ahead the remarkable and towering Ben Nevis in front of me. This of course meant, I had almost made it!
And so, I arrived into Fort William…feeling weary but wonderful…exhausted but elated! Happy to see the lovely chap on the bench, I gave him a quick hug and then went on to find my Guest House.
To summarise this totally memorable experience, I would have to say the West Highland Way will stay with me for years to come. The feelings of isolation, yet peacefulness, exhaustion, yet feeling on top of the world…my respect for the stunning Scottish land has grown immensely.
Everything about this long-distance trail is fascinating. The places, the people, and the popularity of this adventure is worth so much, and I’m sure it won’t fail to find a place in your heart too…
If you’d like to chat a bit more about the West Highland Way, do not hesitate to call or email us and we’d be delighted to help.
At the end of the day, the West Highland Way is, and always will be….a winner!