Thursday, May 16, 2013

The West Highland Way: Overview

Scotland Walking Holidays
Tomorrow is the first day of my walk on the West Highland Way, a 96-mile, 154-km trek between Milngavie, on the north end of Glasgow and Fort William in the Highlands of Scotland. This walk, often described as Scotland's finest long distance walk opened in 1980 and is still Scotland's best and most popular walk.

Since I have been practicing Buteyko breathing* and otherwise preparing for this walk for months, I decided to pre-post some of the info about it, so you will know each day what I'll be doing. Also, it helps me to feel organized about each day's journey to have it in one place where I can study it ahead of time. I'll post pictures of the walk after I get home.

When I did my walk on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales in 2002 I had a company organize the journey for me - maps, B & B's etc. and it turned out so well, I went ahead and booked again with them this time. So every day I will carry just a day pack with essentials and can look forward to a decent place to collapse sleep each night.
Here's an overview of the walk:


Scotland's Great Trails-Slighe na Gàidhealtachd an Iar
The 154Km (96miles) Route starts at Milngavie passes through Mugdock Country Park, follows the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, passing Ben Lomond, through Glen Falloch and Strathfillan, crossing Rannoch Moor, past Buachaille Etive Mor to the head of Glencoe, climbing the Devil’s Staircase, descending to sea level to cross the River Leven at the head of Loch Leven before entering Lairigmor and Glen Nevis and finishes at Gordon Square in Fort William.

The terrain ranges from lowland moors, dense woodland and rolling hills, to high mountainous regions in the Scottish Highlands. These environments provide habitats for a diverse range of wildlife species, both flora and fauna.


 Walk Itinerary
Day 1:Milngavie to Drymen
12 miles/19.2km
Day 2:
Drymen to Rowardennan
14 miles/22.4km
Day 3:Rowardennan to Inverarnan
14.5 miles/23km
Day 4:Inverarnan to Tyndrum
12 miles/20km
Day 6:Tyndrum to Inveroran
10 miles/16km
Day 7:Inveroran to Kingshouse
10 miles/16km
Day 8:Kingshouse to Kinlochlevin
9 miles/14.4km
Day 9: Kinlochleven to Fort William  15 miles/24 km 

Day 5 will be a rest day, with a possible train trip to visit Oban, on the coast. It claims the honour of the seafood capital of Scotland.

Day 10 will be another rest day, but I hope I will still have enough energy left to climb Ben Nevis , the highest mountain in the British Isles.

Ben Nevis from the West Highland Way
Photo by Thomas Dohmke

After that, on May 27, my tired bones will head for home, with a camera full of pictures and memories to share.
Tonight I'm at Best Foot Forward B & B in Milngavie. Looking forward to the adventure!
*Buteyko Breathinga medically unrecognized (i.e. alternative) therapy that espouses
  • relaxed abdominal breathing, as opposed to chest breathing. Most of us naturally breathe abdominally, but sometimes people with breathing conditions such as asthma get their chests into it.
  • nasal breathing only (never mouth breathing, even during sleep or exercise)
  • a pattern of inhaling less and breathing more slowly in order to promote release of oxygen into the body's cells