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I am a 'newbie' in hiking, and I will be doing this trail in July. Following more or less this plan:

  • -> Milngavie to Carbeth (8km)
  • -> Carbeth - Drymen (11.2km)
  • -> Drymen to Rowardennan (23km)
  • -> Rowardennan to Ardlui and Inverarnan (22.4km)
  • -> Ardlui and Inverarnan to Tyndrum (19.6km)
  • -> Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy (11.2km)
  • -> Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse (19.2km)
  • -> Kingshouse to Kinlochleven (14.4km)
  • -> Kinlochleven to Fort William (24 km)

Do you have any tips? Do's and dont's? Any input is kindly appreciated.

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  • 2
    This question may fit better on Outdoors.SE, but it's also too broad and too subjective. I recommend buying a hiking guide for this trail, there are plenty. – gerrit Jun 10 '16 at 10:22
  • are you camping? – njzk2 Jun 13 '16 at 19:17
  • gerrit I guess the question is too broad yes. there's no right or wrong answer here, just inputs. njzk2 yes. – antao Jun 14 '16 at 14:06
  • one thing of note: iirc, there are train stops until bridge of orchy, and there is a bus stop in kinlochleven, meaning you can shorten your hike if necessary, and also that you don't need to worry about having to get to fort william absolutely. You can reconsider the length of the steps after the first days. – njzk2 Jun 15 '16 at 5:04
  • Thanks njzk2, my idea is to start in a more slow pace, but let's see how that goes and if I should adapt then. – antao Jun 16 '16 at 8:36
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I did the same hiking trail as a noob: here are some advices.

  • You can book a pitch on the Sallochy campsite, a semi-formal campsite on the banks of Loch Lomond between Drymen and Rowardennan. Camping on the banks of Loch Lomond is forbidden elsewhere. Booking the pitch online ensures that you get a pitch and do it in advance, because this campsite is great, featuring a beautiful sight on the lake. See here and there. The only trouble is that it adds a few kilometers to Inverarnan.

  • Stop at the tourism office at Milngavie: they sell a waterproof footprint map dedicated to the West HighLand Way, featuring the campsites and accomodations.

  • Stop at the White Corrie Ski Area on your way from Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse: the station is open in the summer (mountain bikes...) and they sell hot food (hamburgers). There is no campsite at Bridge of Orchy, the nearest campsite is 2 miles away, at Inveroran (just a grass field near a small river). It seems that a campsite opened at the Ski station.

  • You will find some midges on your way ! See here for a few advices. On the firt day at Milngavie, i wondered why they were trying to sell stinky candles. I bought one a few days later and i did not find it so effective...

  • Take 2 1.5L water bottles with you as you leave any campsite. Make sure that you only have useful stuffs in your backpack and make it as light as possible. For instance, you won't need a second pair of shoes to feel confortable at the campsite. But a firt-aid kit may be useful: make sure you know how to use it! You can enjoy granola bars and dehydrated soups during breaks. These are standard advices for any trips.

  • You won't find pure water neither at the Glengoyne Distillery near Carbeth, nor at the Ben Nevis Distillery at Fort William.

I really enjoyed that trail and I hope you will!

  • I thought you could camp basically anywhere in Scotland, if following some basic rules like camping away from roads, etc. Is there a particular reason to be forbidden camping on the banks of Loch Lomond? – nsn Jun 10 '16 at 14:23
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    @nsn Under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, wild camping is permitted . But the east cost of Loch Lomond is part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and wild camping is forbidden there, except on dedicated campsites such as the one of Sallochy. . A map of the restricted area can be found here – francis Jun 10 '16 at 14:49
  • nsn, not all of scotland is wilds! :) What a great answer here BTW. – Joe Blow Jun 10 '16 at 23:54
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    as francis mentions, it's all about midges - it's a one-issue trip if it is that time of year. – Joe Blow Jun 10 '16 at 23:55
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    Actually, the wild camping restrictions in the Park are pretty much unique in Scotland. Having such a beautiful place so close to a major city means that the area was becoming overused by people who had no concept of Leave No Trace. But the steps taken by the Park authorities are extremely controversial: ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=70227 and many would prefer a less heavy-handed approach. – Tullochgorum Jun 14 '16 at 9:00
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Wild camping is allowed most places but due to car drivers leaving rubbish it's not allowed near the road at Loch Lomond in summer.

Wishingwell Farmhouse campsite, Gartness and Drymen Farm campsite are both closed.(according to Google Maps)

Shops at Balmaha, Loch Lomond.

There are a few campsites besides Loch Lomond. Salachy Campsite is £5 which is the cheapest. But the campsite just before it is £7 and has much better facilities, including showers.

Rowchoish Bothy - good bothy worth using.

Doune Bothy - very poor condition, full of trash, don't use.

Beinglas Farm is a good campsite with a restaurant with food and beer.

At Tyndrum is a shop. Check the prices when buying, especially the fruit. Make sure you get a receipt.

There is a small shop at the Strathfillan Wigwams Campsite. I bought a snack there (but didn't stay).

There is a permitted wild camping on the north side of the bridge at the Bridge of Orchy but being near the road had noisy people. The Hotel has a restaurant and bar.

The route passes the Inveroran Hotel, food and beer. Wild camping.

Free camping at the Kingshouse Hotel. With beer and restaurant. Kingshouse Hotel and campsite

Kinlochleven - Has a good Coop Supermarket. I stayed at the Macdonald Hotel's camp site. Good and cheap.

Fort William - Has a large supermarket. Backstreet Hostel, good for town centre. Calluna Hostel - further away but a bit nicer.

Midges - get a midge head net. Creams will keep away a few. The burning coils keep away a few. But when there are lots (as there will be in July at sunset and sunrise) you'll need a head net.

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