The Great West Highland Glen Way 2008 – Outline
Okay, so I made that title up myself. But it describes more accurately, the walk I am currently planning for 2008. I’m writing this in April 2008, only 6 weeks before I leave for Scotland. The garden outside my window is about 3 or 4 inches deep in snow – something we haven’t seen in about 7 years, here in Cheshire. My planning is pretty much all complete now; all the B&B’s are booked, the baggage couriers are booked, all that remains is the train ticket.
My plan is to walk the West Highland Way, spend a day climbing Ben Nevis and then walk the Great Glen Way. I will often describe this walk as the West Highland Way, but that is simply for ease of description.
The West Highland Way was Scotland’s first long distance path and the planning for it started as early as the 1960’s, when England was planning the Pennine Way, its own first long distance path, or National Trail as they are now called.
The WHW starts at Milngavie, a northern suburb of Glasgow and runs approximately 95 miles to Fort William at the start of the Caledonian Canal, from where I intend to pick up the Great Glen Way, Scotland’s most recent Nation Trail. This runs for another 75 miles, along the geological fault line of the Great Glen all the way to Inverness.
Milngavie is one of those town names (like Mousehole in Cornwall) that is designed to identify tourists to the local populace. Anyone pronouncing the name as it is spelled is obviously identifiable as an outsider and moreover an outsider who has not done any research about the town they are visiting. Additionally, anyone waiting at Glasgow railway station for a train to “Milngavie” is going to have a long wait.
Milngavie is actually pronounced something like Mull-Guy, with the emphasis on the second syllable.
My stages are designed with last years Offa’s Dyke failure in mind. I start off with a couple of easy, shorter days and then extend the stages slowly to pick up the slack. The Great Glen Way is completed in four days, instead of the usual six or seven stages recommended by the official web site.