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The West Highland Way

The West Highland Way, the first officially designated long-distance footpath in Scotland, runs north for 95 miles from outside the city of Glasgow to Fort Morgan and Scotland’s highest peak, Ben Nevis.

Although it begins amidst gentle countryside reminiscent of northern England, it soon becomes apparent that this is not England.  The scenery builds in wildness and stark beauty with every passing step.

The WHW passes along the banks of Scotland’s largest loch, Loch Lomond.  It then crosses the Rannoch Moor: bleak, remote and beautiful in it’s own Scottish way.  Further north the trail enters the Valley of Glencoe, site of the MacDonald massacre in 1692.  Even today in poor weather it is said, “there is an unmistakable aura of doom.”  As if all this isn’t enough, the route reaches its grand finale at Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest peak.

As long-distance paths go, the WHW is easier to follow than most.  It is well-marked and follows a low-level route along many of the old stage routes with easy footing underneath.

It is important to pack your rain gear, as it’s been said of Scotland, “when the weather is good, no other country compares.  When the weather is bad…Siberia would be preferable.”

Most of the towns on the route are small so booking your lodging ahead is recommended.

HOW IT STACKS UP

This is a good introductory walk as it’s easy to follow.  Make sure you’re prepared for damp weather and damp lodging.  If so, this trail offers a wonderful “walking” window into Scotland.

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