The West Highland Way (Scottish Gaelic: Slighe na Gàidhealtachd an Iar) is 96 miles long, running from Milngavie north of Glasgow to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands.
The trail was completed and opened on October 6, 1980 becoming the first officially designated long distance footpath in Scotland. In June 2010, the West Highland Way was co-designated as part of the International Appalachian Trail.
The path uses many ancient roads, including drovers’ roads, military roads and old coaching roads and is traditionally walked from south to north.
The route is commonly walked in seven to eight days, although fitter and more experienced walkers do it in five or six. The route can be covered in considerably less time than this, but less hurried progress is the choice of the majority of walkers, allowing for appreciation of the countryside along the Way. Indeed, enjoyment of the natural surroundings of the walk is the primary motivating factor for many people following the route.
The path officially starts in Milngavie town centre where a granite obelisk is located. The path quickly enters open countryside. It proceeds by way of country roads, an abandoned railway, the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and scenic Conic Hill on the Highland Boundary Fault, to reach Balmaha on Loch Lomond. From here, the route follows the isolated, wooded, eastern shores of the loch via Rowardennan and Inversnaid to Inverarnan. Rowardennan is the furthest north road access which is available on the east shore of the loch from the south. There is road access to Inversnaid from the east, via Aberfoyle.
The Way follows Glen Falloch northward to Crianlarich then north west along Strathfillan to Tyndrum. North of Tyndrum the Way enters Glen Orchy before crossing the desolate yet beautiful Rannoch Moor and descending into Glen Coe. From here, the route climbs the Devil’s Staircase before a great descent to sea level at Kinlochleven. The final stage skirts the Mamore Mountains on an old military road and descends into Glen Nevis before finishing in Fort William.
The last stage passes the foot of Ben Nevis and many walkers crown their achievement by climbing the highest mountain in Britain.
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