A chance to do half the walk with Karen and my 9 year old son Paul

2011 would see us do half the West highland Way in May.
The top half and the best half in my opinion and just under 50 miles a fantastic start to
long distance walking for Paul.

Click here to read Paul's version


Map and Profile of the complete walk

The plan is to drive the car to Fort William and on route drop off a bag at Tyndrum (our first night on the walk). After staying for one night in Fort William we then catch the train to Crianlarich. This is one of the best stretches of railway in country This is the starting point for us. Once off the train we walk back to Fort William over 5 or 6 days.

Our luggage for the first night is Tyndrum so from there we have arranged a baggage company to move it on for every till we reach Fort William........Easy!!!!

  Day 01 : Wednesday 1st June 2011 : Crianlarich to Tyndrum  
Mileage : 7.6m Time : 3h40m Weather : Rain
Up: 300m Down: 270M  

Plan...Take the train from Fort William to the start at Crianlarich at 11.40am which arrives at 1.27pm
Good paths and tracks with some moderate ascent and descent, but nothing unduly difficult and nowhere far from services. A straightforward day of glen and low pass walking amid outstanding mountain scenery

  Map above and walk profile below  



Time to leave the guest house no matter what the weather

Time to leave the train

Time for a rest at the wigwams

Well we are here and ready to go, after a good drive up the day before and checked in for 3pm (260 mile)it was time to check out the bars in town, never my favorite watering hole is Fort William.
The Ben Nevis guest house was an excellent choice. This would also be our bed for the last 2 nights at the end of the walk.

So now for day 1 of the walk, I wake to the sound of rain bouncing off the roof. The main task today was to catch the train from Fort William to Crianlarich which would not get us to the start until 1.30pm and would allow us time to kill in the morning (train leaves at 11.40am) So time to drag Paul for a hair cut.

The train journey across Rannoch Moor is one of the best, but spoilt on days like today with so much rain. Arrival at Crianlarich was in the rain and first day tested all our equipment (luckily it all worked) as we also finished in the rain. The review of the weather went " "

A pleasant start to the walk 7 miles in and arrival for 5.30pm. If first impressions are anything to go by then this is another good choice at Tyndrum (Glengarry House). The drying room was well stocked and an excellent feature to an already faultless location.What fantastic reports on trip advisor

Another highlight of Tyndrum is the fish and chip shop where you can even buy a beer to wash it all down. Although if I was doing it again I would have booked the meal in the B and B it looked so good.

  Day 02 : Thursday 2nd June 2011 : Tyndrum to Inveroran  
Mileage : 10.2 Time : 5h40m Weather :overcast,just nice
Up: 300m Down: 350m  
  This is a short, straightforward stage which acts as an introduction to the wilderness of Rannoch Moor  
  Map above and walk profile below  

This looked a lot better, at least this is prediction at 6am


Tyndrum on a dry day

A nice looking waterfall, no shortage of water

Up and over

Bridge of Orchy, only miles to go for today

Inveroran hotel, in the middle of nowhere !!! Nice isolation

Paul started the day happy after witnessing the eggs being collected from the hens in the back garden.What a breakfast it was, normally it's not a highlight however these people go all the way in presentation and quality.

The room looked as though a smart bomb had gone off, I would love to see this lot in a tent. Our first run at walking as a family on a distance walk, all the wet gear now dry and what to take and what not too.

The walk is pretty straight forward, and shares the valley with the train line and road, the 2 trains we seen in 7 miles add to the charm rather than a nuisance.

7 miles in and then a beer at the Bridge of Orchy hotel before crossing the main road and heading up and over Mant Carraigh a pleasant ridge before descending to the head of Loch Tulla and the Inveroran hotel. An interesting 3 mile stretch,away from the sound of traffic that puts you in an isolated spot, peaceful and takes 1h30m allowing for a nice arrival time and time for an early beer I guess.

The last time I was here I only got as far as the beer garden and never indoors the place is very quaint with a small walkers bars that even sells Stella. In the middle of nowhere and I can get a pint of stella cheaper than the Grey Hen, my local back home. The room has a view to die for across the loch and also back over the Mont Carraigh.

  Day 03 : Friday 3rd June 2011 : Inveroran to King's House, Glencoe  
Mileage: 10m Time : 5h Weather : hot and sunny
Up: 340m Down: 270m Hotter than the Sahara today
  The surface is mainly good underfoot but on Rannoch Moor you are highly exposed in bad weather. There is no shelter of any kind available until you reach the White Corries ski center (7m) The scenery is spectacular but if conditions are poor, this can be a very tough stage of the Way.  
  Map above and walk profile below  

Time to leave Inveroran, and it's only 9am

The start of the Drovers road over Rannoch Moor, it warn 10 miles of nothing

Looking back down the Drovers road

The view from the Kings House Hotel

The best bit of the week Paul rubbing cream into my feet, good boy!!


A early start in the heat and early finish was the order of the day, the sun was out and the heat was on.The 10 miles over Rannoch Moor are always reported to be hard work in bad weather and I can also confirm that it's not over easy in the heat. The heat just drains you, it was reported that it was hotter than the Sahaha today.

However the views are fantastic when the sun is this good, after a nice lunch stop it was in the Kings house for beer by two.The route appeared to be very busy today, not sure where everyone came from as the last 2 days have been a bit quieter.

The Kings House is situated in an outstanding location just by the A82 and is always a hard place to secure accommodation as the next bed to here must be 10 miles away. It is right bang on the main path and probably deserves the bit extra you are charged as they say location location location.

Despite the Marmite and the vitamin B tablets and the anti midge spray they still got me on the moor today. Only just and yo will never know without medicine??

  Day 04 : Saturday 4th June 2011 : Kingshouse, Glencoe to Kinlochlevan  
Mileage: 9.5m Time : 4h50m Weather : cloudy
Up : 450m Down: 800m ex walking weather

A nice day for feet to recover. Once up the Devil’s Staircase freewheel to the end of day. Great views all round. See Ben Nevis for the first time

  Map above and walk profile below  

Leaving the Kingshouse

Ready for The Devils Staircase

All at the top of The Devils Staircase

On the way to Kinlochleven

The black water pipes of Kinlochleven, used for electricity now


Another up and away in cooler conditions , and easier walking so we would not complain about the high level cloud. The first 3 miles is pretty easy going not far from the A82 given excellent views of one of my favorite mountains, Buachalle Etive Mor and then it's a right turn and up to the highest part of the walk "The Devils Staircase" .

Having reached this in 2 hours was good going and that was half of today's walk over. Only now we had to descend to sea level and Kinlochleven. We got our first glimpse of Kinlochleven at 11.30am and it would be 2pm before we arrived at our B and B.

Kinlochleven looked well and I noticed that the campsite has been vastly improved and Paul was looking forward to a visit to the ice climbing wall which is the biggest in Europe.

  Day 05 : Sunday 5th June 2011 : Kinlochlevan to Fort William  
Mileage: 15.1m Time : 7h 30m Weather : Just Right
Up: 710m Down:710m Overcast no wind
  Today we had a choice to do as planned and get a lift to Fort William from Blar a' Chaorainn and then return the following day and continue to the end, or try and do the 2 days in one and have a rest day in Fort William.
I think the weather will play a big deciding factor in this. Although the next day is nice and mainly downhill it still makes for a long day, especially with a 9 year old .Anyway a long day we did.....
  Map above and walk profile below  

Ready for the next hit... Fort William

Some old Ruin on route

Just a nice view

Plenty of story boards on route

I had to share my nuts

Ben Nevis in the background

More Ben

The End


Fantastic, originally I had allowed 2 days to complete this last stretch however we were up for it 15 miles on a lovely day, right temperature overcast and no wind.

This has to rank among the best days walking you will ever get, the views are fantastic especially when after about 11miles you round the corner and Ben Nevis is standing proudly in front of you.

We ended the walk at the original finish on the edge of town and will see the new end tomorrow. It was only moved for commercial reasons to get more people into the center of town.

The following day I decided to use the time to walk through the town to find the new end. A commercial decision I guess to make you walk the full length of the main street....nice monument terrible spot.

Then off on the train to Mallaig, a few beers and a nice end to the week away.

The new end

Paul complete with hat at the new end

Then off on the train to Mallaig

Crossing over the Glenfinnan viaduct made famous by the Harry Potter movie

Ben Nevis is never far away

West Highland Way Karen’s thoughts

We walk a lot and climb lots of mountains but long distant walking everyday with no choice when you have started no turning back, left me wondering could we do it and I was especially concerned for Paul. I was also looking forward to it, excited, how would we cope, how would it feel.

I need not have worried it was fantastic. No matter what the weather we were little troupers from constant rain to 28 degrees reported in the news hotter than Africa we marched on. The scenery was awesome, the colour, the smells, brilliant.

Short days to begin with 7 mile, 10 mile, then a little further, meeting the same people at different points chatting exchanging experiences. People in awe of Paul and egging him on along the way.

The final leg in was 15.1 mile and Paul did this without complaint we were both very proud of him. Legs aching the last mile in to Fort William felt like forever.

I enjoyed the B&B’s and Hotels no dishes no cooking anyone want to buy a Motor home (only joking).

Thank you Billy for yet another fab holiday.

When we got back home and I took Paul to school on the Wednesday he said “Mam do you think we could go back next year and do the other half”. You bet we can and hopefully a few more I am sold!


staying at cost WiFi Hotel / B & B Comment 10/10
1 0 0 Fort William £85 Y Ben Nevis Guest House very friendly  
2 7.6 7.6 Tyndrum £90 Y Glengarry House coffee and flapjack waiting 10
3 10.2 17.8 Inveroran £110 N Inveroran Hotel isolation at its best  
4 10 27,8 king's House, Glencoe £120 Y Kings House Hotel a warm welcome and a nice beer  
5 9.5 37.3 Kinlochlevan £88 Y Forest View B&B an excellent personal service  
6 15.1 52.4 Fort William £80 Y   as night one  
7 finished Fort William £80 Y   as night one  

All b and b accomadation was excellent all with their special touches and non bad, but I have to say the Glengarry at Tyndrum was excellent in every department. Not that the others missed out on anything.

Baggage transfer by Travel lite


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