This walk is part of the trek The West Highland Way.
The first stage of the WHW which presents no other difficulty than its distance takes us through the Scottish countryside and a taste of the first hills of the Highlands.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Departure and access point: Milngavie Station.
- By train, from Glasgow Central or Glasgow Queen Street stations.
- By taxi, from Glasgow city centre (aim to be dropped off near the official departure point (1) on Douglas Street).
WHW official signposting: signposts with thistle flower + signposts with yellow arrow for changes of direction + written signposts.
(D) Leaving the station, go north and go through an underpass under road B8030. Then turn left and follow Station Road. Cross Ellangowan Road and follow Douglas Street until the small obelisk marking the official starting point of the West Highland Way.
(1) Go under the big metal WHW banner and go down a ramp. Then follow the river keeping it on your left and walk into a wooded park.
(2) At the edge of a pond, turn right and continue along the river.
(3) Where a large building appears on the opposite bank, at a fork, take the right path uphill. At the top, at a T-junction, turn left and go northwest.
(4) Find the river and continue northwest on a stony path. This opens onto a road and follow it to the left for around thirty meters.
(5) Leave the road for the 1st path on the right. Walk north-north-west into a thinned forest. Then go along Craigallian Loch on the right. Continue north in the forest.
(6) At a fork, take the right path. Cross a river, pass houses on the left side and end up on the B821 road.
(7) Follow the road to the left for around 500m.
(8) Then take a path on the right (through a fence) and cross a meadow.
(9) At the edge of a small hill, turn left and descend, winding across the meadow. Go around a heavily wooded rocky outcrop on the left (Dumgoyach on the map). Pass an old farmhouse that seems to be abandoned. Cross the Blane Water.
(10) Immediately after the bridge, turn left, pass a fence and follow a good path parallel to an underground aqueduct dotted with small masonry works. At the intersections, go straight (in addition to WHW, follow the John Muir Way).
(11) Cross the A81 road (take care) and continue on the opposite path, always parallel to the underground aqueduct. Further on, the path crosses a small road (houses) and continues parallel to the A81. Come onto a small road and follow it to the right for around twenty metres.
(12) Before a sign that reads "speed limited to 5 miles/h", leave the tarmac, cross a fence on the left and continue on a path, still with the underground aqueduct. Pass under a road and continue straight.
(13) Cross the A81 again (take care) and continue on the path opposite. At the end of a small road, turn left along the path. Cross a fence and return to the road.
(14) Follow the road to the left and cross a river. Then cross through a hamlet and continue on the road.
(15) At the intersection at the top of a hill, continue straight. Further on, stay on the tarmac and leave the John Muir Way go left on a path.
(16) At the next fork, take the small road on the right. Pass by the Drymen campsite on the left side and continue on the road. After a sharp turn to the left, follow the road for a few tens of metres.
(17) Then turn right onto a path and take a footbridge over a stream (pay particular attention to locate this departure). Climb a small hill. Go back down through a meadow and turn left to find the exit fence. Cross the A811 road ( Caution! Fast traffic) and continue on a path.
(18) After a few tens of metres, come out on a small road and follow it to the left. At the intersection that immediately follows, continue straight on the right pavement to the centre of Drymen (A).
D : mi 0 - alt. 164ft - Milngavie Station (Gare de Milngavie)
1 : mi 0.17 - alt. 177ft - Official starting point of the WHW
2 : mi 0.47 - alt. 200ft - Pond
3 : mi 0.81 - alt. 203ft - Path forks
4 : mi 1.63 - alt. 289ft - River side
5 : mi 2.25 - alt. 361ft - Road divides in two
6 : mi 3.58 - alt. 433ft - Path forks
7 : mi 4.05 - alt. 440ft - Road, B821
8 : mi 4.33 - alt. 440ft - Fence - Start of path
9 : mi 4.72 - alt. 367ft - Road divides in two
10 : mi 5.84 - alt. 105ft - Dumgoyach Bridge
11 : mi 7.24 - alt. 92ft - Route A81
12 : mi 8.24 - alt. 95ft - Garden Centre
13 : mi 9.31 - alt. 102ft - Route A81
14 : mi 9.8 - alt. 125ft - Small road
15 : mi 10.21 - alt. 151ft - Intersection
16 : mi 10.68 - alt. 79ft - Path forks
17 : mi 11.93 - alt. 167ft - Start of the trail
18 : mi 12.17 - alt. 213ft - Road, B858
A : mi 12.7 - alt. 177ft
Waterproof hiking shoes. Rain protection: rain cape, backpack protection, etc. Protection against the cold, depending on one’s sensitivity. Midge repellent.
The route is relatively simple and the circuit is very well marked at intersections. A physical map is useful (at least the one that accompanies this description) or a route saved on smartphone (remember to save an offline map in advance).
Food and supplies:
Bring extra water reserves and a picnic when you start.
Snacks available shortly before (11) and just after road B834 between (11) and (12).
(F) In Drymen, there is a shop on (Stirling Road) and bar-restaurants.
Accommodation the day before departure and access to the start point (S):
- It is possible to find accommodation in Milngavie but it is undoubtedly preferable to take advantage the day before of Glasgow, which offers a multitude of accommodation (use your preferred search engine). The city of Glasgow is worth exploring, even if it does not have the usual characteristics of a great tourist destination. Its motto is "People make Glasgow": a word to the wise...
- Train times between Glasgow and Milngavie: consult the ScotRail website: ScotRail. Price is in the region of £6 per person (August 2019).
- Taxi from Glasgow: around £22 one-way (August 2019). The destination is pronounced mull-GUY.
Accommodation at finish point (A):
- Drymen Inn, 5 Stirling Road (the street taken to reach the town centre). Tel.: + 44 (0)1301 660 123.
- The Winnock Hotel, The Square. Tel.: + 44 (0)1301 660 245.
- Buchanan Arms Hotel, 23 Main Street. Tel.: + 44 (0)1301 660 588.
These establishments also have a bar-restaurant. Other accommodation can be found using your search engine of choice.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
- Between (5) and (6): Craigallian Loch, a nice quiet lake.
- Between (8) and (10): pleasant walk through meadows and at the foot of the first hills.
The West Highland Way (WHW) is a very popular walking route in Scotland. At over 150 km in length, and with moderate elevations, it crosses the most western (as its name suggests) and the most southern (dare we say) regions of the Highlands.
A superb hike, marked by the diversity of landscapes, the omnipresence of water (lochs, rivers, streams, waterfalls... and the rain), and the wild beauty of the landscape. Last but not least, you are likely to make a few friends along the way!
An early introduction to two classic Long Distance Routes, starting from the picturesque village of Drymen. The West Highland Way is a long distance route that runs from Milngavie, near Glasgow, all the way to Fort William, and it passes close to Drymen. The Rob Roy Way starts in Drymen and ends in Pitlochry.
This second stage of the WHW is superb! It consists of three distinct parts. First of all, we cross a pretty forested area. Then, after a pleasant crossing of meadows, we climb Conic Hill, from where the panorama over the Highlands and Loch Lomond is very extensive. After a steep descent to the port of Balmaha, you alternate between the lakeside passages and climbs and descents in the forest.
The third stage of the WHW consists of going up Loch Lomond. We start by climbing steadily in a very beautiful forest, for superb views of the lake, while crossing waterfalls that descend from Ben Lomond. Once back at the edge of the lake, follow the shore for a long time, more or less closely, on paths that lead you on a rollercoaster ride winding between the rocks. A brief ascent between beautiful landscapes and a descent to Inverarnan rounding off this long stage.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.