WHW Days 1-3: Milngavie to Rowardennan

Today we walked day 3 the official WHW and so far we’ve only had a couple of brief light showers. The skies are grey, as you can see in the photos, but the visibility is good, so we are pretty happy with the conditions.

The walking feels good. It was fun starting in Milngavie (pronounced Mull-guy). When we walked to the start of the trail we saw several other hikers appear. It reminded us of the pilgrims setting out on the Camino in St. Jean Pied de Porte. When we asked another hiker to take our picture at the obelisk it turned out he and his girl friend were Dutch. They’re doing the walk too, but are camping! Brave souls to be backpacking and camping in Scotland, but we’ve met several other (mostly 20-something) folks who are doing the same thing.

The trail has been good and the scenery is lovely, despite the grey skies, and the walking comfortable.

The first night, in Drymen, we met three other hikers at the B&B, a couple from Fairbanks, Alaska and a guy from Spain. There are also several German, Swiss, and French folks on the trail. Along the way we’ve also met several locals walking their dogs and are able to get our “dog fix” in on daily basis.

Yesterday was a cold and windy day. The temperature was around 8 degrees, but with the wind chill it felt like only 1 or 2 degrees, as you can tell from the picture of Roy. The last part of yesterday’s walking was climbing Conic Hill, near Balmaha, and I sometimes had to use my poles to not get blown over. As soon as we got to the top, we saw a crowd of day tourists walking up from the other side. Going up Conic Hill is a popular day trip from Balmaha, which is accessible by road. It was a funny contrast to go from a quiet trail with only 3 or 4 fellow hikers, to being in a swarm of tourists.

After our first day, Milngavie to Drymen, which was 20 km, we’ve had two easy days of only 12 km each. Tomorrow will be 22 km again. It’s been nice to walk at relaxed pace and to take it easy, but we are both looking forward to a longer day again, even if the guide describes the stretch as the most strenuous part of the WHW. We’ll let you know how it works out!


Start of the West Highland Way


Hikers on the trail.
Snow on the hills.
Cute sign approaching the beech tree cafe.
It is lambing season. They are both timid and curious.
Gate—sometimes a dozen a day.
Chatting with a dog-walker
Conic Hill
“It’s cold wet and windy!”
Day hikers ascending Conic Hill
Island, Loch Lomond

7 thoughts on “WHW Days 1-3: Milngavie to Rowardennan”

  1. Really good work with the quantity of photos! Beautiful!! We are just back from Ireland where the weather was the same – and worse at home just now!

  2. Oh, those photos speak volumes. It’s beautiful in spite of the grayness. Keep that camera clicking. I’m with you all the way from my comfy, dry, and warm chair. Thanks for doing the hard work for us!

  3. Iconic shot coming down off of Conic Hill and seeing Loch Lomond in the distance. Hope the weather turns warmer and brighter for you soon.

    “The Scottish sun, shocked by having its usual cloudy underpinnings stripped away, shone feverishly, embarrassed by its nakedness.”
    ― Stuart Haddon

    Scott & Coleen

  4. Ah lass and Laddy – thanks for the one kilt wearing Scottsman in your album – hope you find more to share.
    Looks like the weather is not dampening your spirits! xo S

  5. I was with you all the way until I saw Conic Hill. I would have been looking for an Uber at that point. Forwarding this to my Scottish Dutch family who would enjoy it.


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