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If you’re looking for a fitness challenge, or if you just want to see some of the most attractive scenery in Scotland, then why not think about challenging yourself to walk the West Highland Way? The West Highland Way is a 96 mile long route which starts off in the northern suburbs of Glasgow and winds its way north and west passing alongside Loch Lomond and through Glencoe before ending at Fort William, close to Britain’s highest mountain. It’s quite an undertaking, but every weekend dozens of people start out on the route. If you fancy joining them, read on for some hints and tips.
Most people who set out to “walk the Way” leave from Milngavie, near Glasgow on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Choosing to start your walk on a Monday or Tuesday may mean that you have more choice of accommodation as it is simply less busy. Also, some people prefer to walk in a pair or alone rather than as part of a large group, and as most people who tackle the Way walk at a similar pace and reach the same points every night, leaving at a busy time may mean you keep bumping in to the same people every day. Some people like this community feel, others prefer to be more solitary so plan accordingly.
Photo Credit: LTS Media posted in flickr
Many people who attempt the West Highland Way camp as they go, and this certainly gives far more flexibility over how far you want to walk each and when you want to stop for the night. However, having a definite goal of reaching the next guesthouse or B&B where you know there is a hot meal and a warm bath waiting for you can spur you on over the next hill or along the last few kilometres to the village. If walking in the summer months, make sure you book accommodation well in advance as the Way only passes through small villages, and there is a limited amount of accommodation available, which soon gets booked up.
There is no getting away from the fact that you are walking in Scotland, where snow in June is not unheard of. Most walkers who undertake the West Highland Way do so between March and September, and it is generally unwise to do the walk in the depths of winter. Good quality waterproofs, all-weather clothing and boots are essential, so get browsing through the Timberland boots outlet stores for a bargain and make sure you break your boots in by wearing them around the house before setting off on your expedition.
Photo Credit: VisitScotland
Bags and Rucksacks
Many hikers carry their own equipment with them in their rucksacks, and if you are planning on staying each night in a guest house then this might be the best option. If however you are planning to camp along the way and are lugging a tent, cooking equipment and food with you, there are a number of courier companies which will pick up your stuff in the morning and meet you at a pre-determined point in the evening to return your things, leaving you a lot lighter as you walk.
Morag Peers posted in Google+ is keen blogger and resisdent of Scotland with inside knowledge on the best walks. Check her out now on Google+