What to wear and take on the West Highland Way 2016

 Walking TheWest Highland Way, what to take , what to wear ?

 In 2013 I did the West Highland Way as a spur of the moment thing.  I was 40 and it was a bit of a bucket list, middle aged sort of thing.  I bought a tent and rucksack pretty much the day before and boots that morning.  I managed to do the way in 3 days 9 hrs on my own.

I'm looking to do it again this year 2016, so what would I do differently.  Below is a small guide to some help as to what to do, what to take and where to stay.

So what to wear.  Well I'd imagine that you are thinking doing the way in 3 days or so I must be pretty fit.  MMMhh I'm reasonably fit but no Ironman.    So first things first lets get a reasonable pair of boots.  Look at the weather and you want it to be dry over the 90miles. Getting a pair of new boots that you do wear for a day or two before going will help. Taking a pair of trainers for when you are setting up your tent or going for a beer, gives your boots the chance for an airing and your feet a chance to rest. If we are going to do it over 3-4 nights, gets some pairs of good socks too.   I would take some cotton shorts.  Water proof trousers and jacket and either a sweater or jacket with a separate inner lining.   A hat is good too, something water proof.

The midgies in Scotland are murder.  They will eat you alive.  Take either Aloe Vera, or Bog Myrtle.  I bought Bog Myrtle spray and it helped a lot.  I sprayed and rubbed it on my skin.  I also sprayed it on my tent entrance when putting my tent up.

Start early. I'd also do the West Highland Way during the week.  I'd advise you to be at Milngavie for 8am, make the best of the light.  From Milngavie to Balmaha is around 20 miles and hopefully should be achievable on day 1, giving us  a chance to camp at a campsite in the Balmaha area.  Camping in non camping areas within Loch Lomond park is not allowed and you can be heavily fined.

Day 2 we should be doing an early start we really want to try and get to Beinglas Farm for day 2 which is another 20 miles this is a great place to stay over.  I got one of their Camping Cabins, it maybe an idea to book this in advance.  When I stayed here there was a returnable deposit fee which was given back after 8am, office opening time.  

Day 3, We want to try and make Tyndrum if you think you can make Bridge of Orchy with the light then that would be the best target.  Great pub at Bridge of Orchy.  Day 3 you really want to make that push.

Day 4 Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven is very much a trek.  There is some wildlife to be seen in the Rannoch Moor area such as deer, stags, and eagles.  There are a few wild camping areas.

Day 5 Kinlochleven to Fort William.  Your feet will really be kill you on this route Into Kinlochleven is bad with the downhill decent.  Walking to Fort William the stones on the ground are large and painful.  You will have a choice of going two ways into Fort William, one is into Fort William city centre.  The other goes by the camp site you might be staying at, so you are walking by, to return to where you will stay for the night.    

I did the West Highland Way by leaving on a Monday from Milngavie  at 13:30 and getting to Fort William on the Thursday at 21:00 hours.  The first night I did walk in the dark for quite sometime, as I did n't manage to put up my tent in Balamaha as the midgies ate me alive. I was almost in tears but proud of doing it.   

You can decide how long it takes you.