UK Long Distance Hiking is a wonderful community of like minded hikers. Every member has a story to tell regardless of how many trails they have hiked (or plan to hike) and I’m in a remarkably privileged position to see and approve every member who has joined the group.
Also, with such a wealth of collective experience within the group, I’ve decided to ask members who have recently shared their experience on a particular trail
Which trail did you hike?
The West Highland Way
How many days did you take to walk the trail?
Did you camp or stay in accommodation along the trail?
Both – mixture of camping, glamping and hotels
Which were the best overnight spots you found?
Camping – Beinglas – Staff was very welcoming, a good selection of hot and hearty meals and the place had a good social atmosphere (despite social distancing).
Glamping – Strathfillan Wigwams – Accommodation felt huge (especially compared to other cabins) and it had a heater, electricity, microwave, a ‘dining table’ which converted to a massive bed and a beautiful riverside location. Also the shower – £1 for 16 minutes – was super hot and wonderful.
Hotel – Inveroran – made to feel super welcome, food was amazing, room was very homely (although there was limited hot water for the shower).
What was your biggest day on the trail in terms of miles?
16.9m – both on day 2 (Drymen to Rowardennan) and day 8 (Kinlochleven to Fort William)
How was the social aspect of the trail? Did you meet a lot of other hikers?
Day 1 out of Milngavie we met a couple who said the trail was exceptionally quiet compared to normal – due to covid a lot of overseas travelers were not able to visit and the Scottish borders had only been open less than a week. Despite this, I felt this was one of the more social trails I have walked. Throughout the day, you were leapfrogging other hikers and you saw familiar faces at the stops each night. There were more opportunities to socialize than we took advantage of and in non-covid times this would be a very sociable trail.
Was it easy for you to replenish food and water along the route?
Very easy. We took more food than we ended up eating because it was so easy to eat/stock up en route.
Did you find the trail easy to navigate or were there any tricky sections?
It is exceptionally well signposted. The only tricky bit was the section by Loch Lomond (which is well known). Here the way markers are few and far between and at times you come to areas where the trail appears to be blocked by rocks – it isn’t but you have to figure out the easiest way to get over/around them. Nothing too difficult but trickier than the rest of the trail.
How difficult did you find the trail?
Not difficult. The section by Loch Lomond was the most difficult simply because the trail was so uneven underfoot. It’s also helpful to be mentally prepared for the ascent out of Kinlochleven – it’s steeper than you expect for the final day.
What were the best bits of the trail?
The views were outstanding.
What was the worst bit of the trail?
For us the weather whilst walking the Loch Lomond section. It was torrential rain all day. No criticism of the trail – or the weather – rain happens!
If camping, what shelter or tent did you use?
Alpkit Jaran 3
What bag, stove, and footwear did you carry?
Granite Gear Crown Ki 60 pack, Jetboil flash stove, Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX shoes
Roughly what was the total weight of your pack?
12.5kg without water
If you were going to walk the route again, was there anything you would do differently?
Take sealskinz socks and gaiters to help mitigate how wet my feet / shoes got on the Loch Lomond section.
What inspired you to walk this trail?
It’s a classic trail and the promise of amazing views lived up to all my expectations.
Where do you plan to walk next?
Cumbria Way and/or Yorkshire Wolds Way this summer