photo of Ranoch Moor
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Mountains and Moorlands

The West Highland Way starts as a fairly easy stroll through the Glasgow suburbs following a riverside walk and a disused railway track.  In the first day's walk the only high ground seen are the hills of Dumgoyach and Dumgoyne.  Once past Drymen, you have the first chance to select from two options: either to continue on the flat or to take the path over Conic Hill (358m/1175ft). 

Beyond this, the path descends to the shore of Loch Lomond at Balmaha and follows the shoreline via Rowardennan and Inversnaid to Inverarnan.  At Rowardennan, the more adventurous may decide to take a detour and climb Ben Lomond.  At 974m (3185ft) Ben Lomond is the most southerly of Scotland's munros (mountains over 3000ft).  Leaving Loch Lomond, the Way follows Glen Falloch between a number of mountain peaks.  To the North are Ben Dubhcraig, Ben Oss and Ben Lui while, to the South lie Beinn Chabhair, An Caistreal and Stob Glas. 

Beyond Crianlarich, the Way turns North and follows the A82, criss-crossing it on a number of occasions.  From Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy the Way passes through more rugged scenery with Beinn Dorain to the East and Beinn Bhreach-liath to the West.  From Bridge of Orchy, the Way continues North Westward to pass the head of Loch Tulla at Inveroran from where it changes dramatically.  The Way follows an old cobbled drove road rising to the Black Mount, an area of high moorland between the mountains clustered around Coire Ba to the West and the vast expanse of Rannoch Moor to the East.  This is the most remote and desolate part of the Way and walkers should be aware that there is no escape route or shelter for the next 16km (10m).  Due to the open aspect the effects of wind and weather can be very unpleasant so be sure you are prepared for any eventualities.  From the summit, the Way descends to the isolated Kingshouse Hotel situated at the junction of Glen Etive and Glen Coe.  Here the scenery once more changes to dramatic mountain terrain, dominated by the impressive Buachaille Etive Mor which stands as a sentry to the stunning Glen Coe. 

From Kingshouse to Altnafeadh the Way again follows the A82 before striking North to climb the Devil's Staircase, a 259m ascent to the highest point on the Way (548m).  From here there is a view over  the peaks of Glen Coe and Ben Nevis can be seen in the distance North over the Mamores (weather permitting!)  From here there is a long, gentle descent back to sea level at Kinlochleven.  The path runs along the mountainside with spectacular views over the Mamores and miles of open wilderness stretching away to the East. 

The path rises out of Kinlochleven in a steady 250m climb to join a military road which traverses the mountainside, through a u-shaped valley to a high pass, the Lairigmor at 330m before finally descending, through a series of pine forests to Glen Nevis.  From here it is a short walk to the end of the West Highland Way at Fort William.