Updated: 5 days ago
I have thought about hiking the West Highland Way for a long time now.
I started hiking in earnest back in 2018 when I completed the National three peaks challenge.
It was the start of a bug that has been growing ever since. That first challenge led to the completion of the Yorkshire three peaks and the Welsh three peaks and climbing various other mountains.
I have been trying to push my limits each time by walking longer distances and also challenging my fear of heights by climbing Helvellyn via Striding edge.
It has taken a while but I now feel comfortable walking for days at a time and last year I hiked across Dartmoor from south to north and various sections of the SWCP.
The decision to attempt the Whw was decised towards the back end of the summer at a slightly drunken BBQ where my friends and I were talking about hikes for next year and I mentioned again that one day I would love to do the West Highland Way but it is difficult due to holiday allowance and possibly getting permission from the family and maybe it would have to wait till the kids are older or I retire.
When I was about to leave Chris turns round and in a drunken state says I will follow you anywhere and we should do the West Highland Way.
I obviously didn't think too much more on it until the end of November when Chris mentioned that we should find out who is interested and try to get a date. Fortunately for me this came at a time when the company I work for was being taken over and with this new company came extra holiday.
The hardest part of organizing anything with adults is trying to get everyone to agree on a date and commit to attend. This was no different, If anything it was much harder due to the time we would be away.
All but three fell at the first hurdle which was not a surprise. Getting permission to go hiking for a week leaving the wife's to look after the children was always going to be difficult. Understandably.
Finally we agreed on the week of the 10th June. Now the planning could start.
Travel had to be the first place to start.
We had a few options. Planes, Trains and automobiles
I started looking at the trains but the length of time and number of changes were straight away causing a problem from the southwest and then there were the prices. That ruled out the Trains as we were trying to organize on a sensible budget.
We then considered taking one of our own vehicles but nobody was keen on leaving their car for a week and it was also a nine and a half hour journey to Fort William and a train ride back to Glasgow.
This also ruled out hire cars as one way hire was not really possible.
This left us trying to get flights which was easy enough to do but created other problems. The main problem with flights was the lack of weekend flights specifically on a Saturday with only one flight available and being an early flight would cause a lot of difficulties with the return flight.
In the end after numerous discussions we moved the leaving day forward to Friday 9th and the return flight back to the following Sunday to allow for the train journey from Fort William to Glasgow.
I originally thought this would be fairly easy to figure out with the initial idea to wild camp most of the way.
This would not be the case. All three of us as you would expect have had different experiences with camping.
Chris doesn't really do camping but has agreed to camp part of the way.
Luke has camped many times on Dartmoor and various other places in a bivvy but has spent less time in two man tents.
I love tents and have owned and camped in small tents since I was in the Cubs and probably have enough tents and equipment to kit out a DofE expedition. Not joking.
The original plan was to complete the WHW in five days but since the flights had been booked on different days than originally planned we would have seven days plus whatever time we would have on the Friday once we get to Milngavie.
In the initial discussions for the WHW it was agreed that because Chris wasn't keen on camping and nervous of wild camping (virgin camper) we would not wild camp the whole way and instead break it up with official campsites and accommodation.
We watched a few youtube videos looking specifically at where others had stayed and did various google searches on accommodation options.
After looking at our options we decided to book our accommodation for the Tuesday night at Tyndrum and Wednesday night at the Glencoe resort first. This would allow us to follow the guide book distances fairly closely for the second half of the hike but created difficulties for the beginning.
We have been trying to workout the best options after arriving in Milngavie which may have been a hotel or camping in the park a mile from the start and then having a short walk to Drymen on the Saturday but in the end decided since we would have some light left in the day we will try to get 5-6 miles under our belts.
This means following the guide book at the start will not work very well so decided to play it a bit by ear aiming to get to Millarochy campsite for the Saturday night and then wildcamping the thirtyish miles to Tyndrum over the next three days meaning we can take our time and stop when and where we want within reason.
The current plan is as follows
Friday - About 5 miles to somewhere around Dumgoyach standing stones.
Saturday - 16 Miles to Millarochy campsite
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are all about getting to Tyndrum.
Wednesday - about 17 1/2 miles to Glencoe resort
Thursday - about 10 1/2 miles to Kinlochleven
Friday - final 15 miles to Fort William