how hard is it to cycle the west highland way
hi, me and my friend are thinking to conquer the west highland way next spring and of April start of May. looking for any advise from anyone who help us with , what to avoid and best place to camp or stay the night, the best route to take and most of all how tough will it be. thanks and best wishes .kevinPosted 6 years ago
new2this – Member
hi, me and my friend are thinking to conquer the west highland way next spring and of April start of May. looking for any advise from anyone who help us with , what to avoid and best place to camp or stay the night, the best route to take and most of all how tough will it be. thanks and best wishes .kevin
Err – you do know there’s only one route?Posted 6 years agoseosamh77Subscriber
Dodge the bottom half, get the train to crianlarich and then once you’ve finished play around in fort william for a day. That’s a better trip. you’ll be pushing up the devils staircase, and up from kinlockleven, but defo worth it.
top half is great, bottom half not so.Posted 6 years agoblancheMember
It’s tough, that’s for sure.
I’ve got to be honest and say that I’ve not ridden it north of Loch Lomond, but I’ve run it, and was support for a mate on a recce ride of the route.
Quite a few top ultra endurance riders have tried the double (that’s just daft) and called it a day for various reasons before completing it. Each had good reasons.
The one way trip is hard, too, but if you split it up you can drink beer and eat black pudding.
There is a fair bit of climbing and techy, rocky ground. Some of the climbs will have you carrying the bike, and some of the downhills are best done flat out with a few extra inches of travel- if you get my drift. But it’s a quality route.
Loch Lomond side is, to be fair, a bit of a difficult traverse. It’s hard enough to walk, but carrying a bike can be quite awkward.I nearly did myself a mischief on a slippy bridge atop a rocky cliff by the shore, so be ready.
click shows a photo of the bit I mean. It’s all like this, nearly. The photo is in “My Life” and is the third from last- I can’t link direct sorry.
There is only one guy to have completed the double, so he knows it better than anybody else. He’s a Santa Cruz riding top bloke, just like me and thee, called Joe Whittaker who did it in the summer in proper minging weather.
Joe! Where are you?
Dave BPosted 6 years ago
I did it North to South in May, it pissed down for 3 days, it was tough but most enjoyable. 😀
I personally wouldn’t camp, theres plenty bunkhouse type places for about £20 a night and loads of places to eat.
Doing it southwards was good, especially the fact that most walkers can be “attacked” head on, rather than sneaking up behind them. they tend not to expect cyclists! A bell is a good idea, loud enough, but its probably considered quite courteous. 😀
DO IT!Posted 6 years agoVaderMember
It is a great ride, i did it in 3 days and I have to say it is one of my favourite trips. Looking back from all the high points to see where you have ridden through the glens is awe inspiring. We did it south to north, personally I think that is better than north south which I have also done in parts.
You can stay in little chalets at the top of loch lomond on night one, night two bunkhouse in kinlochleven. If you wanted to do it over a longer period there are plenty more places in between.
The top of loch lomond isnt that bad, just a carry and push and get on with it. As someone said, get a bell, one of those little pingers works a treat and all the walkers we passed were delighted. Also try and get away early each day as this means youll hopefully be in front of everyone else on the trail. Oh and lastly avoid the easter and BH weekends if you can for obvious reasons.Posted 6 years ago
Here’s someones talePosted 6 years agoHeather BashMember
Dunno why I’m drawn to this tired old topic…
Yes the lower half has sh1t bits – so have most of the best routes in Scotland. All part of the challenge…
Do it South/North (who the **** wants to cycle out the Highlands and down to Glasgow?)
Dont pussy out with ferries
Take as long as you want and savour the journey or set yourself up for fall and try it in a day / two days / whatever your personal limit.
Enjoy.Posted 6 years ago
Good evening Dave, I’ve just got in from work but thanks for the mention dude. Neil is right, south is best for a few reasons but as a double it feels worst of the two. The trip Vader did sounds like the one, any way you choose to do it will be one hell of a journey. Photos of the route or video are great, driving through the scenery is awesome, but riding along the west highland way is breath taking, you can’t help but stop and stare, I have a few bits of it on my blog at: http://www.w90joe.blogspot.com if you are interested. Remember, it’s only a hard ride if you think it’s hard ride, don’t be put off, go and do it, you will never regret it.
Whitakers Signs, Santa Cruz, Royal Racing,Posted 6 years ago
Stif, Nomad-direct, Exposure Lights, Evenort.fullysussedMember
we started from Tyndrm and headed N from there.Posted 6 years ago
Highly enjoyable but if we have a harsh winter watch out for snow at that time of year.
Devils staircase is a walk,
theres a nice alternative descent into Kinlochleven on the N side of the river Leven (was in a mag once I think)
The views are great if you get clear days.
hardly any walkers on it when we did it, apart from some nutters dragging a cross from Iona to Glasgow for easter.
Our trip was fantastic, really enjoyed it, but it all depends why you’re doing it.Heather BashMember
>there is no climbs<
That’s right – apart from the uppy downy nature of the entire route, Conic, Mam Carraigh, Black Mount, Devils Staircase, the pull up from sea level at Kinlochleven and the one up to Nevis Forest – they’re all as flat as pancakes.
Did you do the double non stop Joe?Posted 6 years ago
Yes I did, but I had to stop regularly to get changed as it kept tipping it down. And to have eating and fix it breaks, CyclistNo1 is supposed to be putting the story up on their site soon so I can’t say too much. Keep an eye out for it, I wrote it so it ain’t pretty as I’m no author. The journey took about 40 hours in total but I did lose a lot of time to stoppages.Posted 6 years agolobby_dosserMember
I’ve done it from the drovers to FW and then FW to drovers in 4 days. It was a great hoot, we paid one of those companies to take our luggage & we booked into Bridge of Orchy Bunkhouse (although I would have preferred to stay at Kingshouse) & a B&B in FW.
I enjoyed it, I know it’s not the ‘best’ riding in Scotland but it was good fun and you met a lot of people- particulary Germans & Swedes. There are some really good bits. A few beers at night having good craic with the walkers.
I would do it again.Posted 6 years agoyodagoatMember
A friend of a friend done it in a day! Here’s his blog about it.Posted 6 years ago
My West Highland Way Double has just been put on Cyclist No.1 on this link, I hope the story helps anyone wanting to have a go.
Cheers Joe WhitakerPosted 6 years ago
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