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West Highland Way 2014

Northampton...
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West Highland Way 2014

I am thinking of walking the West Highland Way in the Spring, 2014, and have a couple questions I'd appreciate help with. This will be my first trip to Scotland from the States and I want to include a long distance walk—I also hope to have time to do other day hikes and exploration. I am an experienced and confident hiker used to solo adventures, but I am also in my mid-60's and caution is making me less inclined to take trails where I am unlikely to see anyone all day long. On the other hand, I don't want to feel like I am part of a wilderness parade either. Seeing people now and again and knowing that if I am stopped because of an injury someone will likely pass by in the next hour or so is kind of the ideal. I know that the WHW is well travelled, but I am wondering just how crowded it is likely to be in April or May. Are there other walks that might give me a better balance of solitude with occasional company?

Assuming I do wind up on the WHW, I might like to do a layover one day and hike one of the Munros. Any suggestions in that regard? I know Ben Nevis is the most famous, but others (Ben Lomond?) might be more appealing and I might prefer a mid walk break as well.

Thanks in advance for all your wisdom.

Robert

Manchester, United...
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for The Hebrides
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1. Re: West Highland Way 2014

The WHW is a popular walk and April and May are popular times to do it, so you will not be alone. Ben Lomond would be a very good excursion to do en route.

I think it will be fine for you. There is not a huge amount of accommodation in some places, so it's best to book in advance.

Have a great trip!

Edinburgh...
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2. Re: West Highland Way 2014

Please look at walkhighlands.co.uk/west-highland-way.shtml which gives a possible itinerary for the WHW as well as maps and suggestions for accommodation. (There's more accommodation that the site suggests - use google and TA)

Weather in May is typically warmer and drier than in April. I always reckon May and June are good months for walking and climbing.

The same site contains details for alternative walks.

Conditions overhead and underfoot will be completely different to what you might expect in Continental USA e.g. Yellowstone, Yosemite. Some legs use old paths, others work their way across hillsides which may be squelchy because they're on top of peat based soils.

Being a path of some vintage, a few B&Bs have sprung up especially to deal with walkers, especially if you walk slightly off the track. Some people rely on tents but you won't be stuck for accommodation if you research it and book. There are companies who will carry your bags if you want to carry a light daysac.

Edinburgh...
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3. Re: West Highland Way 2014

I should add the entire walk is pathed - it's only the quality of the paths that varies.

Edinburgh, United...
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4. Re: West Highland Way 2014

This is a great walk through stunning Scotland. I did it in early April and the weather was great except for one day of rain. I did it in 6 days then climbed Ben Nevis on the 7th.

There are plenty of B&B's, we used sherpavan.co.uk for bag carrying and accommodation booking.

Hard going along the Lochside, and it is a challenging walk but very enjoyable. There weren't too many people around in April, so I think that is a good time to go. I will be doing it again this March, 23rd onwards. Enjoy!

Ben Lomond would a be a better climb as Ben Nevis is amazing but hard work coming down.

Edited: 23 January 2014, 09:39
5. Re: West Highland Way 2014

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