The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
Walking Scotland’s first long-distance footpath
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 76509
Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent.
These walks are in more remote areas such as Andorra or northern Portugal.
Similar to Grade 5, but with most of the walks at the upper level of ascent/descent, time and distance.
Scotland’s first official long distance (and one of the most popular) route links Milngavie to Fort William, a distance of 96 miles, from the northern outskirts of Glasgow, to the foot of Ben Nevis.
The path will be taken from south to north as the southern stages are easier, building you up for the more strenuous walking in the northern section. The continuous trail passes through Mugdock Country Park, follows the shores of Loch Lomond, passing Ben Lomond, through Glen Falloch and Strathfillan. We will cross Rannoch Moor, past Buachaille Etive Mor to the head of Glencoe before climbing the Devil’s Staircase. We then descend to sea level to cross the River Leven at the head of Loch Leven before entering Lairigmor and Glen Nevis.
There is a wide range of different terrains on this holiday, ranging from lowland moors, dense woodland and rolling hills, to high mountainous regions in the Scottish Highlands. This variety of environments provides habitats for a diverse range of wildlife species, both flora and fauna. Some species are more common than others and some are rarely seen.
This is a nine night, eight walking days holiday is taken at an energetic pace. Some days may feel as though they are at the top of the grade and poor weather may accelerate this.
We are based in two centres, with the majority of the time spent in Gartmore. Two nights towards the end of the holiday will be spent in the Onich area to prevent too much travelling each day.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Independent arrival at Gartmore House and check in is from 4pm. Your leader will meet you for an evening briefing before dinner. All dinners will be taken in the hotel restaurant throughout your stay.
This first section of the West Highland Way is rather atypical of the walk as a whole. It starts at Milngavie, effectively the north-western edge of the city of Glasgow, and this first section brings the walker from the city towards the south-eastern corner of Loch Lomond. It leads through east Dumbartonshire and southern Stirlingshire among scenery of heath, woodland, pastures and hillocks.
The walking is relatively easy, being on abandoned railway lines; almost five miles of the old North British line between Coatbridge and Killearn Junction has been adopted for the West Highland Way. Despite its proximity to Glasgow the route is almost entirely rural. We pass through the village of Drumquhassie, Dumgoyne (which we pass through just past mile 7 and we can stop for coffee and snacks) and Gartness.
The second section of the West Highland Way is a walk of great contrasts. It begins in Drymen, set within the Stirlingshire countryside; continues via the forestry plantations of Garadhban; crosses a stretch of rough moorland then continues to the Highland Boundary Fault to climb the splendid viewpoint of Conic Hill. The route then descends through woodland to the shores of Loch Lomond near Balmaha. It then follows the eastern edge of the loch, Britain's largest freshwater lake, to the western edge of Rowardennan Forest on the shores of Loch Lomond.
The hike from Rowardennan Forest to Inversnaid, which runs wholly along the eastern shoreline of Loch Lomond, is probably one of the easiest sections of the West Highland Way. The terrain varies between vehicle tracks and forest rides, through simple woodland paths, to bouldery clambers over rocky outcrops.
This section starts off with a rough path along the banks of Loch Lomand. The going is slow through the wildest, but also one of the finest sections of the whole route. Upon reaching the top of the loch, where there are some fine bays for a lunch stop, the path improves and takes us into Glen Falloch. Progress is good as we pass through rough pastures, open meadows and waterfalls. After a steady ascent of the Glen we descend through the forest to Crianlarich.
After two miles of forest walk with views down into Strathfillan, the path descends into the valley. The last mile and a half into Tyndrum lies alongside the track of the West Highland Railway. The section between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy is the easiest part of the West Highland Way, being on vehicle tracks throughout.
This section of the Way again closely follows the line of the West Highland Railway. The Bridge of Orchy itself lies opposite between Beinn Dorain and its northern neighbour, Beinn a Dothaidh.
Most of the section makes use of an old drovers road - an old road that was the main vehicle route between Tyndrum and Ballachulish. From the Bridge of Orchy, the West Highland Way strikes northeast, following a forest track across a low ridge. Topping a viewpoint above Loch Tulla, it drops to rejoin the motor road to the Inveroran Hotel, following the private road beyond into the Forest Lodge estate. The old Glencoe drove road is joined, heading northeast at first among conifer plantations but climbing resolutely to the moorland above.
After about six miles the track climbs to a shallow col beyond which is the area known as White Corries; the western corner of Rannoch Moor and the eastern mouth of Glencoe. The walk ends not far ahead, at the Kingshouse Hotel; reputedly Scotland's oldest inn, standing in almost complete isolation.
Today is our shortest walking day of the tour, at just under nine miles, we walk from Kingshouse which gives magnificent views over through the southern panorama of the Mamores from the head of the Devil's Staircase. The route follows the old Glencoe road for three miles, running parallel with the A82 as far as Altnafeadh, after which it leaves Glencoe and strikes north, climbing the aforementioned Devil's Staircase to the col.
There is then a long, gentle descent to Kinlochleven. The West Highland Way takes a short detour through the Kinlochmore housing estate before arriving in the heart of the little town at the head of Loch Leven.
This is the final, longest and arguably the most strenuous day of the entire route. The final section of the West Highland makes use of an old military road beside Loch Leven and Loch Linnhe which makes for excellent walking. The pass runs hard around the southern edge of the Mamores, specifically the peaks of Am Bodach, Sgurr an Iubhair, Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean. There is little sign of civilisation on this final part of the West Highland Way.
We will then be transported back to Gartmore House for our final night’s stay.
Depart Gartmore House after breakfast. Check out is by 10am. We hope you have enjoyed your holiday and look forward to welcoming you on another soon.
Departure dates for your selected tour
30th Apr 2021 - 9th May 2021 (9 Nights)
2nd Jul 2021 - 11th Jul 2021 (9 Nights)
1st Oct 2021 - 10th Oct 2021 (9 Nights)
The maximum group size of this holiday will be 15 people plus our leader. A 16 seat minibus will be used to transport you to and from the trailheads each day.
It is important to note that these journeys will vary in length and time each day. The shortest journey from your accommodation will take 15 minutes and the longest journey will take 2 hours 15 minutes on your final walk day. The average journey will be 30 - 40 minutes each way.
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
On this holiday we spend the first six nights in Gartmore House to the east of Loch Lomond, then two nights in Onich, on the shores of Loch Linnhe, before returning for the final night to Gartmore House. Breakfasts and dinners will be taken in the hotels. There is ample car parking for you to leave your car at Gartmore House for the duration of the holiday.
Gartmore House is a magnificent 18th century country mansion set in 75 acres of private land in Scotland’s Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park with views stretching the 20 miles towards Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument and beyond. Glasgow and Edinburgh are both only an hour away.
Built in 1793, this atmospheric former mansion house has been a backdrop for Scottish history (and even Scottish television). It’s seen the early days of the Scottish National Party, Robbie Burns writing and entertaining in the lounge and a redesign by a student of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The house contains many eye-catching features with rooms with lots of period detail and historic character contrasting with others featuring sharper more contemporary décor. The large entrance hall has an impressive fireplace and there is a sandstone balcony to enjoy some of the panoramic wild National Park views and surrounding magnificent landscapes.
There are 23 en-suite bedrooms at Gartmore House and each is individually decorated with Scottish touches and stylish furnishings. All include tea and coffee making facilities, a mirror and dressing table, and a telephone. Towels and toiletries are provided in the en-suite bathrooms. There are no televisions in the bedrooms, however there is a television and DVDs for guests use in the downstairs library and also in the Oak Room. There is no Wi-Fi access in the bedrooms, however there is free of charge Wi-Fi in the public areas.
Gartmore House has a well-stocked cosy library, where you can relax with a book, or play a board game. All meals are served in the spacious dining room, with delicious home-made food. There is a small bar with seating area, where you can buy a drink and relax. The Oak Room is the perfect spot to sit back and chat with the group.
You will spend two nights, on a half board basis in a three star hotel in the Onich area. The hotel will be confirmed much closer to your arrival. If you wish to know the name of the hotel, please contact us within 8 weeks of your departure date.
This is a Grade 6 moderate holiday which includes full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent with walks in some remote areas. Paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
The maximum group size of this holiday will be 15 people plus our leader. A 16 seat minibus will be used to transport you to and from the trailheads each day. It is important to note that these journeys will vary in length and time each day. The shortest journey from your accommodation will take 15 minutes and the longest journey will take 2 hours 15 minutes on your final walk day. The average journey will be 30 - 40 minutes each way.
If you suffer from travel sickness, please ensure you bring any medication with you. The roads we drive on are Scottish rural roads and are in some parts twisty and uncomfortable.
To reach the hotel…
From the south, follow the M74, M73, M80 and M9 to Stirling. Leave the M9 at Junction 10 (marked for Stirling).
Follow the A84, signposted for Callander. After 4 miles (just beyond the Safari Park), take the A873 for Aberfoyle. After 17 miles, at the T junction (opposite the Rob Roy Motel), turn left on the A81 to Glasgow. In less than a mile, pass the sign for Gartmore village, and you will see Gartmore House clearly indicated on the right.
From the north, travel towards Stirling on the M9 and leave at Junction 10 (marked for Stirling) and then follow the directions as if coming from the north.
by rail: Glasgow (24 miles away) and Stirling (20 miles away) are the nearest mainline stations for inter-city and sleeper services. The easiest route is to take the main line to Stirling and then bus C11 to Gartmore as below.
by bus: Stirling bus station is adjacent to the railway station. The bus service from Stirling to Gartmore is operated by First Bus East Scotland. The route number is C11 and the bus ride can take up to an hour to reach Gartmore. Note that the bus stop in Gartmore is about 12 minutes walk from the hotel. Please also note that this service is infrequent. For bus times and for alternative routes, such as buses from Glasgow, contact Traveline Scotland at www.travelinescotland.com or by phone on 0871 2002233.
Taxis: it is advisable to pre-book a taxi from the bus or railway stations to the hotel. The following taxi companies may be able to help you and provide you with a quote;
Crescent Cabs: 07710 800 067
Trossach Cab Company: 01877 382 108
Please note that the taxi fare from Stirling to the hotel is approximately £45 - £60 for the 30 minute journey, however we advise you to obtain quotes prior to travelling.
You may also wish to look at the following website for advice on the best way to travel to the hotel: www.rome2rio.com
Meeting your tour leader and fellow walkers: Please check the time of dinner (approximately 7:00pm) on arrival at the hotel, and aim to be in the hotel lounge half an hour before dinner for an introduction to your tour leader, an outline of the planned programme for your holiday and the chance to meet your walking companions.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passport Information for United Kingdom
Any non UK or EU citizens may be subject to passport, identity card or visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom.
This holiday is offered on a full board basis. All breakfasts and evening meals are taken in each hotel and packed lunches are provided each walking day. Drinks are not included in the holiday price.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
You may encounter some midges on the route so we do advise you to bring some insect repellent with you.
We advise you to read the following article which provides some excellent advice on midges and how best to deal with them whilst out walking. If you are not protected and it is midge season, it will make for some very uncomfortable walking, so please ensure you use products such as Smidge Spray or full protective head gear.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
Our intended route is covered by the following map:
This map is lightweight and waterproof.
1:25,000 OS maps are also available but you would need 6 maps to cover the whole route.
‘The West Highland Way’ by Charlie Loram, published by Trailblazer Publications is an excellent book on the route, containing a wealth of background information and maps as well as notes on the route. See www.trailblazer-guides.com for more information.
The Footprint waterproof West Highland Way map is also recommended. Please see http://www.stirlingsurveys.co.uk/paths.php?IB=9781871149937
There is also a dedicated official website www.westhighlandway.org for the West Highland Way which has route descriptions, maps, timings and distances.
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for United Kingdom
No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
Although not compulsory for British and EU citizens resident in the UK, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of eventualities such as unexpected cancellation, accident or illness before your holiday or the loss of personal possessions.
Visitors who are not British Citizens (or who are not EU citizens resident in the UK), must be adequately insured to join our holidays and will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
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