What is on your 2019 Bucket list? A list was made by moredaysoff and at the top was hiking the West Highland Way. After visiting Scotland three different times we decided it was about time to do some research into what it would involve for experienced and also for the not so experienced friends to hike the Scottish multi-day track.
This phase involves some single track hikes with a light pack to simulate the long distance hiking experience. Doing three days of 15km hikes in a row to see how the body reacts, and to strengthen the ankles for rougher trail conditions. During these day hikes you will test the gear and clothes that will be used on the West Highland Way. Also to try-out the various snacks and foods to see what provides good energy and tastes nice. The training phase will be a time to learn about when food or water breaks are needed. How long you need to stop! When is it tea time? Is it a good idea to spike the blood sugar now? Whether you prefer a heavy protein, or a fatty breakfast and at dinner a massive carb feast or something lighter.
- lots of underwear
- 3 wool socks. Good quality wool socks with high natural fibre content are very comfortable to wear. I recommend Bridgedale, Icebreaker, Smart Wool.
- 3 cotton socks
- 3 cotton tshirts
- 1 light shorts
- 1 quick dry hiking pants
- 1 good Goretex jacket
- Wool long johns-Arcteryx wool
- Wool long sleeve top. Icebreaker-WOMEN’S 200 OASIS LONG SLEEVE CREWE
- Wool t-shirt. Smart Wool- Women’s Merino 150 Fjord Slider T-Shirt
- Toque and gloves
Shoes – Make sure that they fit and break them in thoroughly before the walk. This means hike on single track hikes with a light pack to simulate a long distance hike. Do 3 days of 15km hikes in a row to see how your body reacts. You can get away with a pair of light trail shoes on the Way. I would recommend light hikers or running shoes such as:
- Scarpa– Crux womens
- Sportiva– TX3 GTX APPROACH SHOE
- 5.10– Access leather Womens approach
Extra Footwear – When not actually on the Way, you may wish to change into different shoes to give you’re feet a rest. Bring slippers and back up running shoes in case of bad blisters or destroyed shoes for the West Highland Way.
Other important stuff
- A map of the West Highland Way is a must, either separate or on your smart phone.
- plastic bags for wet stuff, garbage or left over food.
- sunscreen and insect repellant
- hiking poles
- a water bottle
- a head-lamp with batteries (do not leave batteries in lamp as the lamp turns on in your pack)
- a swiss army knife
- smart phone
- stainless steel cup for tea, spoon, fork
- aspirin or paracetamol
- antihistamines for stings and bites
- sport tape
- antiseptic cream
- second skin for blisters (Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Pads, Medical, 5-Count)
- Milngavie to Drymen: 12 miles/19 km
- Drymen to Rowardennan: 14 miles/22.5 km
- Rowardennan to Inverarnan: 14 miles/22.5 km
- Inverarnan to Tyndrum: 12 miles/19.5 km
- Tyndrum to Inveroran: 9 miles/14.5 km
- Inveroran to Kingshouse : 10 miles/16 km
- Kingshouse to Kinlochleven: 9 miles/ 14.5 km
- Kinlocheven to Ben Nevis 15 miles/ 14km
- Ben Nevis to Fort William: 6 miles/10 km
The following two links are to the official guides of the West Highland Way, both of which have comprehensive maps.
Where to stay
Hostelling Scotland Rowardennan Lodge – large hostel just outside Rowardennan, close to the trail.
Tyndrum– By the Way Hostel and Campsite
Cost– Dorm start at £20, Hobbits Houses £30-£55
Glencoe Independent Hostel in Glencoe . The village is slightly off the trail, but since the bunkhouse at the Kingshouse Hotel is currently undergoing renovation (due to re-open in 2019), there is no other option than making your way to Glencoe.
Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven. It is located in beautiful surroundings and has great self-catering facilities while also being nearby the restaurants in town.
Hostelling Scotland Glen Nevis, Glen Nevis – Hostelling Scotland hostel also near the foot of Ben Nevis.
Use the luggage service costs! £45 for the whole Way
In this big bag pack the following.
- dry meat
- tea bags
- nuts (peanut, almond,walnut, cashew, haselnut)
- dried fruit(apples, banana, apricots)
- crackers ( both sweet and salty)
- energy bars
- toilet stuff
- comfy after hiking clothes think warmness, I prefer some comfy jeans.
- warm sweater
- loose yoga pants
- cash and passport
- mobile phone and charger