A couple weeks ago we spent 7 days walking the West Highland Way in Scotland. At 8-18 miles each day,  the West Highland Way takes you 96 miles from just north of Glasgow to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands.

The West Highland Way starts in the town of Milngavie (pronounced Mill-guy), just north of Glasgow. We took the train up and had fun on the way trying to spot who else might be embarking on the same hike. At the Milngavie train station, we handed off our luggage to the baggage carriers who would be transporting it for us, and then with just our daypacks, we struck off to find the start of the trail.

Start of the West Highland Way at the Milngavie train station

Before we got to the trail, though, we found a café that was just opening for the morning and stopped in to fortify ourselves with tea and croissants. Sitting out front of the café, it was much easier to tell who was heading off hiking. Fed and caffeinated, we continued into the town square to find the obelisk marking the start of the trail, and then headed out on our 96-mile, 7-day hike.

Start of the West Highland Way

The first day was largely spent exiting civilization, well, at least as much as one can in Great Britain. We started on paved trails threading behind the civic institutions of Milngavie, then emerged to walk along the edges of cultivated fields. The neat fields and hedgerows gave way to grazing land interspersed with hilly areas dotted with vacation cottages. As we walked, the land became rockier and more open. We saw our first sheep, and at our lunch stop, we made friends with some miniature Shetland ponies.

Miniature Shetland pony

We stopped at a local inn for lunch that was right along the path and clearly catered to walkers. It was the first of many pub lunches along the way: most days had a well-placed inn or village where we could stop for lunch.

Heading to Drymen

With sunshine, fresh feet, and broad, easy trail, we made good time to our first stop in the tiny hamlet of Drymen. In fact, we made such good time that we got into town before we were able to check in to our B&B, so we stopped at a little tea room for some simple but tasty tea and scones.

We stayed in the adorable Braeside B&B, run by a pair of friendly, funny Scotsmen. Our “room” was actually a standalone little structure that seemed to be a prefab tiny house they’d installed in the garden. We had a lovely view of the garden plus a little porch where we could put up our feet after our first day of walking. That evening, we had cider and dinner in the oldest pub in Scotland, the Clachan Inn, which was first licensed in 1734. And after a day full of walking, we decided chocolate cake was definitely in order to round out the meal.

Clachan Inn in Drymen

The first of many (many, many) livestock gates.

livestock gates

Putting up our feet on the porch of our B&B room.

relaxing on the porch

Full of chocolate cake outside the Clachan Inn.

oldest pub in Scotland