O ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road, And I'll be in Scotland a'fore ye, But me and my true love will never meet again, On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.
What does it mean? If you’ve heard this song, you’ve wondered over that very question; What does it mean? And if you haven’t heard the song, well, you will. We’re talking, of course, about The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond. And what better place to first hear this tune (or renew your rumination on its meaning) than while gazing out over her dark waters, all the way ambling along one of the world’s most celebrated and stunning hikes: The West Highland Way And who better to belt out the acapella tune for your listening pleasure than Rusty, who is 100% mad for this adventure. Well, probably many, many singers are better suited to carry the tune. But, if you’re after Jacobite-style sincerity in the lament and a few good stories along the way … Russ is your man. The lochs, walking, whiskey, stories, glens, and peaks. Yep, that’s Rusty to the tee.
The West Highland Way is a 150 km (95 mile) route that attracts more than 15,000 hikers each year to its beauty. The Way starts just outside of Glasgow and finishes at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland, alongside the charming Highland town of Fort William.
The landscape is ever-changing and almost always breathtaking. We’ll walk some of its most celebrated sections up in the true Highlands. For much of the way we’ll be following ancient and historic routes along Drove Roads, 18th Century Military Roads, and abandoned railway tracks. Beginning with an overnight at The Bridge of Orchy, we’ll then amble to Kingshouse, through Kinlochleven, before ultimately finishing up in Fort William. And for the true Scots among us (ie, anyone in the mood for well-earning some of the most stunning vistas in the British Isles), we’ll top off our time in the Highlands by climbing ol’ Ben.
- Sightseeing in Glasgow
- Exploring Fort William
- Climbing Ben Nevis (non-technical)
- 1 night in Glasgow guesthouse (shared room)
- 4 nights on WHW in B&Bs, guesthouses, and/or small hotels (shared room)
- 1 night in Fort William guesthouse (shared room)
[expand title=”Day 1- Day 2 : Gone to Glasgow”]
- We will meet on the first day of our wild West Highland adventure in a decidedly more civilized place; Glasgow. Not far from the River Clyde and the shops of Sauchiehall Street, heading out from our guesthouse for the evening, you’ll have ample time to amble, pickup last-minute backpacking provisions, or just enjoy the charm of Scotland’s largest city. We’ll share a welcome dinner together in the evening, before bedding down for our last night before trekking into the wild North.
- Waking up on our first full day in the country, we’ll leave the city behind as we embark on a group transfer by railway from Queen Street Station up to Bridge of Orchy, where our hike of the WHW begins. Zipping by the greens and blues of the Scottish Lowlands, you may begin to wonder what’s really to come of all this. If the scenery looks good, this dramatic from inside the train-coach, what beauty do these next few days have in store? How am I going to keep my phone charged to capture it all?!
[expand title=”Day 2- Day 5 : The West Highland Way”]
Arrive Starting Point: Bridge of Orchy
Arriving at Bridge of Orchy, we are immediately immersed in the refreshing Highland air, the peace of the area flooding the landscape. Starting off our hike here means that we’ll set off tomorrow already walking in the Highlands. Before bedding down for the night, we’ll spend the afternoon taking in short jaunts around the munros Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dòthaidh.
Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse—12.5 Miles, 20 Km
This is a fan favorite section of the West Highland Way. A couple of miles after leaving Bridge of Orchy we are gifted with a stunning view over Inveroran. From there, we will skirt Loch Tulla and then join the military road across Rannoch Moor; a wonderful, lonely and exposed place that was once covered by a giant icecap and today is covered in a bog. There is no shelter and in bad weather, it can be exposed. In good weather, it is simply inspiring. Kingshouse provides great views of Buachaille Etive Mor, Scotland’s most photographed mountain.
Kingshouse to Kinlochleven—8.5 Miles, 14 Km
From Kingshouse we’ll follow an old military road to Altnafeadh, which gives great views of the famous ‘weeping glen’ and site of the Glencoe Massacre in 1692. Then we’ll zigzag up the Devil’s Staircase to the highpoint of the Way at 548m, which presents stunning views towards Ben Nevis, given clear weather. From here we’ll wind our way down into the pretty town of Kinlochleven, marking the end of a very pleasant day out in the Highlands. Kinlochleven Facilities: Hotels, pubs, Co-op supermarket, cash machine, post office, internet, Ice Factor Climbing Centre.
Kinlochleven to Fort William—15 Miles, 24 Km
The initial sharp climb out of Kinlochleven is worth it for the fantastic views it brings. Once over the top, we’ll follow a wonderfully remote valley past deserted sheilings towards Fort William. Approximately half way through the day, we’ll enter a beautiful area of cultivated forest and follow a narrow winding track until we reach the saddle which brings you into Glen Nevis. Ben Nevis towers ahead and we’ll be able to see the mountain track which snakes up the southern side of this, Britain’s highest mountain. At this point, we’ll bear left and follow a wide forestry road down to the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre. Our final miles lay ahead along the Glen Nevis road and through to the center of Fort William. This brings us to the end of our trek through the Highlands and to the start of enjoying a few well earned beers.
[expand title=”Day 6 : Ben Nevis & Beyond”]
- We’ve come all this way. We’ve taken to the Highlands like Rob Roy himself. So we can’t just call it quits here without summiting the real Big Ben. We’ll begin our climb in the morning on the Pony Track from Glen Nevis. The 700-metre (2,300 ft) cliffs of the north face are among the highest in Scotland, providing classic scrambles and rock climbs of all difficulties for climbers and mountaineers. Never fear! If you’re just in it for the uphill hike and the views, at 1,345 metres (4,411 ft), the summit is conquerable from a well-maintained path suitable for non-technical climbers. And if the weather breaks just right, your reward will be paid in full in vistas: breathtaking views look back & down across a Highland landscape that we’ve just bested. That now feels more yours than not.
- After descending back down off of Ben Nevis, our Highland Adventure has well and truly been capped. Where do we go from here? Some may choose to stay on for another night of celebration in the local pubs. Others might make their roads for Glasgow or Edinburgh that afternoon. Fort William is on the main train line back to Glasgow and is also well serviced by Intercity Bus. The train more or less follows the route of the West Highland Way back to Glasgow, while taking the bus will take you through the truly stunning Glen Coe. No matter where you go from here, it will no doubt be a faster way than how you got here. Staring out the train window, it dawns on you. I was on a train just four days ago looking out on this scenery. But it something about it is different now. It means something else to me now. In the Highlands, the memories are older than trains. And when you travel by foot, you give them time to walk along with you. To stay with you. To drift alongside of you like bagpipes in the breeze.
[expand title=”What’s Included”]
Six nights of lodging in Glasgow, along the WHW, & Fort William (shared room)
Opening Night Dinner in Glasgow
Greeting & Guided Transport Advice from Airport to Guesthouse (return)
Glasgow Wallking Tour experience
Transfer from Glasgow to Bridge of Orchy
Guided Experience along West Highland Way
Emergency telephone support while on the trek in case of injury or issue
Breakfasts each day of West Highland Way
Guided Experience climbing Ben Nevis
[expand title=”What’s Not Included”]
Meals not specified above
On-the-ground transport (aside from specified above)
Return transport from Fort William
Insurance of any kind
Alcoholic beverages and/or Soft Drinks
Optional Touring or Excursions
Visas, Associated Travel Fees
Items of a Personal Nature
June 16th – 22nd 2019
Maximum 20 GlobeKickers
Glasgow Airport (GLA) in Glasgow, Scotland
The climate of Scotland is temperate, and tends to be very changeable. It’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day! June is a relatively warm month with an average high temperature of 59 °F and average low of 45 °F . Rain falls throughout the year, but April, May and June are normally the driest months. Annual rainfall in the western Highlands can be more than 3,000mm while the east coast receives an average of less than 800mm. The prevailing winds are from the west and southwest, and are a constant feature in the islands and Highlands.
• Walking boots – three season trekking boots. Good ankle support and well broken in. • Comfortable shoes for evenings. • Good quality walking socks x 3 pairs (packing one extra-warm pair is advisable).
• 2 x thermal base layers • 1 pair fleece trousers • 1 or 2 pairs of walking trousers. Zip-offs are great. No jeans. • 1 or 2 pairs of shorts (if not taking zip-off trousers). • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or other breathable fabric). • Waterproof over trousers (Goretex or other breathable fabric). • Long sleeved trekking shirt. • 3 x t-shirts/walking t-shirts. • Thin fleece jacket/top. • Thick fleece jacket/top. • Sun hat and sunglasses. • Warm hat or balaclava. • Gloves (one pair thinner and one pair very warm). • Buff or neck gaiter. • Travel towel. • Optional : Gaiters • Optional : Thermal Jacket
• Daypack/rucksack • Water bottle and/or camelback (4 litres) + purification tablets/ system. • Head torch + batteries (including spare bulb & batteries). • Books/guides/maps. • Pocket knife/leatherman/swiss army knife. • Camera. • Money belt/pouch. • Waterproof liner or cover (or both) for rucksack. • Walking poles are becoming more popular. • Large plastic bin liners and Ziploc storage bags of various sizes. • Energy bars and snacks – 2 per day.
TOILETRIES, HEALTH & MEDICAL KIT
• First aid kit – it’s always a good idea to carry a personal first aid kit for your own needs. It should include wound dressings, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream, crepe bandages, triangular bandages, blister kit (plasters & Compede) etc. You can buy excellent ready-made kits from outdoor shops or pharmacies. • Sun block & lip balm – 30 SPF. • Medication – please take sufficient quantities of any prescription medication you need for the duration of your trip. Additionally you may want to take a supply of medication that you use occasionally for headaches and aches and pains. • Toiletries – pack toothbrush & paste, hand & face cleansers. Baby wipes are excellent for a quick freshen up.
• Passport • British Visa Requirements • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary) • Photo Identification • Color Copy of Passport Identification Page
The GlobeKicker Gauges
1 = lowest and 10 = highest