Tips for Walking the West Highland Way Without Issues

Last updated on June 7th, 2024 at 09:07 am

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Walking holidays are gaining a lot of attention in recent years, it’s not only a different way to travel but also, a good way to keep your body moving and healthy. There are several long-distance trails suitable for a walking holiday around the world but by far, the most popular is the West Highland Way.

It’s a legendary long-distance trail that winds through the stunning landscapes of Scotland. Suppose you want to feel like you are in a medieval era. In that case, there’s no better path for you than this one and whether you’re an experienced hiker or a first-timer, this 96-mile (154 km) route offers breathtaking views, challenging terrain, and a chance to immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

But before you lace up your boots, there are several things you need to prepare. This is not a common trail, it’s a 9-day journey where you will be walking for several hours a day and staying in different places each day.

Let’s help you plan the perfect West Highland Way experience:

Planning Your Route

The first thing you need to do is plan your route, yes before setting off, plan your route meticulously. Why? chances are you need to become more familiar with it and in a long-distance trail there are stuff you need to know beforehand.

Research accommodations, water sources, and rest stops along the way. Also, consider booking accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons. I highly recommend you do this, book a place to stay beforehand, at least a day or two before your arrival.

On the other hand, nowadays you can find tour operators like Orbis Ways that specialize in walking holidays like theFisherman Trails in Portugal or the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Packing and Gearing Up

Something most beginners don’t take too seriously is packing and gearing up for the trail. You need to invest in quality gear.

Your essentials include sturdy hiking boots and walking shoes, moisture-wicking clothing, a waterproof jacket, and a comfortable but sturdy backpack.

Don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect against the ever-changing Scottish weather.

Hydration and Nutrition

Stay hydrated! Get yourself a good refillable water bottle and top it whenever you have the chance or whenever you come across a water source. You can also get a water pack and carry it on your chest like a backpack.

Another thing you need to pack is energy-rich snacks like nuts, dried fruits, and energy bars. You will need these to keep yourself in check and energized.

Keep the Midges Away

Scotland is famous for its midges, if you don’t know what those are: they are small biting insects that can be a real nuisance.

Bring insect repellent and consider walking in long sleeves and trousers during twilight hours.

Respect the Environment

The West Highland Way traces some of the most scenic and untouched landscapes in Scotland.

Remember the “Leave No Trace”: carry all trash out with you until you find a proper place to dispose of it, stay and walk on the paths, and do not disturb the wildlife.

Take Your Time

The West Highland Way is not a speed competition, while it usually takes 9 days, you can do it in 7 or 8, and even in 10 days or more, you can go at your own pace.

Take your time and enjoy the views, talk with other walkers, and stop to rest if you need to. It’s about the journey, not just the destination.

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