The West Highland Way is one of Britains finest Backpacking treks, beginning just outside the beautiful city of Glasgow and finishing at the easy going seaside town of Fort William. The entire walk should be achievable in about a week providing that you are walking at a leisurely pace and are acclimatized to any other elements, such as weather conditions.
However I would like to make the point that there is no right, or wrong way to walk this route. Here are the differences in how to walk the West Highland Way.
The Slow Way
Slow travel is taking a huge quantum leap.
For many walkers, and I dare say the majority, taking the route slow is becoming really popular, regardless of age.
Well it’s simple. You can sample all there is to sample along the route. By eliminating the huge daily mileage, you instantly free yourself up to enjoy the views, attractions, pubs and tea rooms available on route.
One example of an easy itinerary is this one below, as adapted from Contours Walking Holidays.
Travel to Milngavie
Day 1: Milngavie to Drymen – 12 miles / 19km
Day 2: Drymen to Balmaha – 6.5 miles / 10.5km
Day 3: Balmaha to Rowardennan – 7.5 miles / 12km
Day 4: Rowardennan to Inverarnan – 14 miles / 22km
Day 5: Inverarnan to Tyndrum – 13 miles /21km
Day 6: Tyndrum to Inveroran – 10 miles / 16km
Day 7: Inveroran to Kingshouse – 10 miles / 16km
Day 8: Kingshouse to Kinlochleven – 9 miles / 14.5km
Day 9: Kinlochleven to Fort William – 14 miles / 22km
Depart from Fort William
This itinerary, with an average daily milage of 10.6 is an ideal starting point a slow walk.
Doing it in halfs
How long to walk the West Highland Way if you want to walk the West Highland Way but you don’t have 10 days spare? Well, It’s perfectly acceptable to walk the route in two halves. A good mid-way stopping point is Tyndrum which has two train stations giving you public transport back to the start. Moreover, a few of the luggage transfer companies offer returns to the start of the route for a reasonable price.
Walking the West Highland Way really quickly 💨
Whether you enjoy a personal challenge, sponsored walk, trail run, or your just too damn hardcore and simply want to tick the trail off your list in a weekend (please write and let us know how you do!), there are itineraries to suit.
Personally, I feel there is no shame in enjoying the comfort of a B&B if you are walking/running/unicycling the route in 4 days.
Either way, Hillwalk Tours offers an excellent option of routes, including a 4-day challenge hike from Inveroran to Fort William. There are other companies offering challenge hikes too, such as the West Highland Way Challenger, which offers walk support, or the West Highland Way Race.
Really, it’s all about your personal ability.
Know your limits, and if you don’t take it easy.
So there you have it. How long to walk the West Highland Way. Be sure to pick a route based on your ability rather than feeling like you have to overachieve. Slow is great, so is fast. There really is no right or wrong way to walk the route. Know your limits, and if you don’t take it easy.
Walk or run the route happy rather than bent and broken, from biting off more than you can chew.