• CAMPING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

  • CAMPING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

A COMPLETE GUIDE TO CAMPING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

Camping the West Highland Way is a great option for hikers looking to keep costs down, stay connected to nature, and maintain a flexible itinerary while walking Scotland’s most popular long-distance trail. You can opt to wild camp along the Way, pitch up in campsites, or combine the two. 

In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know about camping the West Highland Way, including what to pack, where to buy food, and details of every campsite as well as wild camping options along each stage of the route. 

For more general West Highland Way planning, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to the West Highland Way and our detailed WHW trail notes (coming soon).

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you purchase a product or service via these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps offset the cost of running this blog and keeps us travelling so that we can continue to produce great content for you. We greatly appreciate your support!*

WEST HIGHLAND WAY CAMPING MAP

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT CAMPING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

Wild camping is permitted in Scotland in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, and wild camping the West Highland Way is a great way to experience the trail. There are a few things to be aware of however, and some advance planning and preparation is required before setting off on your trip. 

LOCH LOMOND BYELAWS

One of the most important things to be aware of when planning your West Highland Way itinerary is the byelaws which forbid wild camping along a stretch of Loch Lomond between 1 March and 30 September. Within the Camping Management Zone you must camp in official campsites, or obtain a permit to camp at designated camping areas.

The Camping Management Zone starts at the entrance to the Balmaha Plantation forest (56.090172, -4.533101, 1.2 km below the summit of Conic Hill), and ends above Ptarmigan Lodge (56.171755, -4.655221, 2.9 km after Rowardennan Hotel). There are signposts at both points, making it obvious when you have entered and exited the restricted camping zone.

LEAVE NO TRACE AND THE SCOTTISH OUTDOOR ACCESS CODE

As wild camping is done in nature, away from official campsites, there are no facilities such as toilets, showers, or bins. It’s crucial that you Leave No Trace when wild camping along the West Highland Way (and anywhere else!). Among other things, you must take all your rubbish with you, bury human waste and carry out used toilet paper, and minimise the impact of campfires, ideally using a stove instead.

Plan ahead and pack rubbish bags and an outdoor toilet kit, including a trowel for digging a toilet hole, toilet paper, antibacterial hand gel, and rubbish bags for used toilet paper (nappy sacks or dog poo bags work great). You can dispose of your waste regularly in bins along the route.

SCOTTISH OUTDOOR ACCESS CODE

“Access rights extend to wild camping. This type of camping is lightweight, done in small numbers and only for two or three nights in any one place. You can camp in this way wherever access rights apply, but help to avoid causing problems for local people and land managers by not camping in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals and by keeping well away from buildings, roads or historic structures. Take extra care to avoid disturbing deer stalking or grouse shooting. If you wish to camp close to a house or building, seek the owner’s permission. Leave no trace by:


THE PROS AND CONS OF WILD CAMPING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

When trying to decide whether wild camping the West Highland Way is right for you, we’d recommend considering the following pros and cons.

BENEFITS OF WILD CAMPING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

Firstly, wild camping is free, so this is a very budget friendly approach to walking the WHW. Assuming you already have the appropriate camping gear, the total cost of your walk can be as little as £30 for transport to and from Glasgow, plus the cost of your provisions.

Wild camping the West Highland Way also requires the least amount of advance planning and organisation in terms of bookings and reservations. This makes it ideal if you’re planning a last-minute walk on the West Highland Way, or want to be able to adjust your itinerary closer to the time, depending on the weather.

Secondly, wild camping will help you to avoid crowds along the Way as you will be forced to stagger your itinerary to avoid overnighting at established settlements along the route. You will likely end up camping before or after the ‘usual’ start and end points for each stage, which means you’ll likely be ahead of, or behind, the biggest concentration of walkers each day.

Wild camping allows you to avoid the crowds and wake up to views like this



Wild camping allows you to avoid the
crowds and wake up to views like this



Thirdly, by carrying all of your gear on your back, including your home for the night, you have the freedom to change plans at the last minute and alter your itinerary based on circumstances as they arise. If you pass a particularly scenic spot that you’d love to camp at for the night, you can do so. If you’re struggling with blisters, aches, or pains, and need to stop earlier than planned for the day, you can. Quite simply, there is no fixed schedule that you have to adhere to and this will allow you to be far more flexible in your approach to the walk as a whole.

Lastly, wild camping will allow you to stay connected to nature throughout your entire West Highland Way experience. Living outdoors 24/7 for the duration of your walk will force you to pay extra attention to what the sun and the clouds are up to, to the number of daylight hours you have available, and to how strong the wind is blowing. You’ll likely get up at dawn and go to bed when it gets dark, witnessing those special little dusk and dawn moments that can so easily be missed when sleeping indoors or at more busy campsites.

 While you’ll no doubt meet plenty of people and have the chance to chat to fellow walkers along the Way, your evenings will likely be quiet and peaceful, with just yourself and the local wildlife for company. All of this will deepen your appreciation of the landscape around you and help to make your experience on the WHW a very personal one.

DRAWBACKS OF WILD CAMPING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

The most obvious disadvantage to wild camping the West Highland Way is that you will have to carry all of your gear with you. You will not be able to use the baggage transfer service if you are wild camping (although you can if you are staying in campsites), and that extra weight will definitely make the walk more challenging. You should think carefully about every item you pack, carrying only the essentials and trying to keep your bag weight to less than 15 kg.

You can take advantage of cafes and shops along the way to pick up food as and when you need it to keep your pack weight down. We also recommend carrying a water purifier (such as a Steripen, LifeStraw, or tablets) to enable you to fill up water regularly from streams and avoid having to carry more than 1-2 litres at any given time.

One downside of wild camping the West Highland Way is the need to carry more gear (although maybe you can be more minimal than us!)



One of the downsides of wild camping the
West Highland Way is the need to carry
more gear (although maybe you can be
more minimal than us!)



Wild camping can also make your experience on the West Highland Way considerably more challenging if it is wet, windy, or midge season. In rainy weather, it will be impossible to keep your tent and certain items of gear dry. In windy weather, certain camp spots will be too exposed to pitch your tent, and finding an alternative sheltered spot may be tricky. 

In midge season (roughly mid-May to mid-September) black clouds of these tiny biting insects can descend on you at dawn and dusk in calm weather, making for a pretty miserable camping experience. While all of this is also true to a certain extent for those camping at official sites along the Way, many campsites do offer the luxury of a sheltered cooking area, indoor toilet and shower facilities, and drying rooms. 

As there is always a degree of uncertainty when it comes to where exactly you will end up pitching your tent for the night, your daily itinerary and the distance you will need to cover can be unpredictable when wild camping the WHW. Your intended camp spot may be unsuitable due to ground conditions or a sudden change in weather, or somebody else may already be camping there, forcing you to carry on to look for another spot. In general, if you plan to wild camp along the Way, you’ll need to stay flexible, and be prepared to walk less or more miles than you originally planned.

WATCH OUR WEST HIGHLAND WAY FILM

WHAT TO PACK FOR CAMPING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

Having the right gear can make all the difference to your experience walking and camping the West Highland Way. Below are our suggestions on what to pack for your trip, broken down into clothing, hiking gear, and camping equipment.

CLOTHING

No matter what time of year you’re walking the WHW, you must be prepared for all the different weather Scotland can throw at you. You need a waterproof Jacket, waterproof trousers, and layers (including a breathable moisture-wicking base layer, an insulating mid layer, and an outer layer). Ideally your base layers should be made from merino wool. It keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cool, and amazingly won’t stink even after days of use. It will dry quite fast too. Avoid jeans or any cotton materials – if they get wet they are heavy, take forever to dry, and you’ll get cold easily. A pair of quick-drying comfortable walking trousers (or leggings if you prefer) are also better than regular jogging bottoms or such like. 

FOOTWEAR

Make sure you have proper footwear that is already broken in. We personally prefer hiking boots with good traction and ankle support, but if you are used to walking in trail runners or such like, the terrain on the WHW (outside of winter) is certainly suitable for this kind of footwear. A set of Superfeet insoles are also a great idea. They reduce foot fatigue, improve shock absorption, and help keep your feet in place, again reducing the chance of blisters or hot spots. It’s a good idea to pack a pair of flip-flops or sandals too for wearing in the evening around camp.

It’s important to wear clean and dry quality socks (ideally merino wool), and change them regularly (at least every two days). Using a liner sock in conjunction with a thicker sock will help reduce the chance of blisters and hot spots.

OTHER ITEMS

A hat, gloves and sunglasses are also needed. A buff is good for sun and wind protection. During midge season (roughly mid-May to mid-September), a midge net is a good idea. Gaiters will help keep your feet and trousers dry in wet or boggy conditions, and offer extra protection against ticks.

FULL CLOTHING CHECKLIST

The checklist below covers all of these essential things to pack for the West Highland Way, plus a few optional extras. Remember that you can wear merino wool clothing items for multiple days without it noticeably smelling. If you are staying in campsites and using a baggage transfer service, you may wish to pack more clothing items as your bag can weigh up to 20 kg, but if you’re wild camping and carrying your own bag, you’ll ideally want to keep the weight down to less than 15 kg. 

For more information and an indepth look at our recommended hiking clothing, including what we use and why, check out our complete hiking gear guide.

Merino Hiking T-Shirt x 2

His/Hers

Merino Thermal Baselayer

His/Hers

Merino Thermal Leggings

His/Hers

Merino Underwear x 3

His/Hers

Sports Bra x 2

Fleece

His/Hers

Down Jacket 

His/Hers

Rain Jacket/Shell

His/Hers

Waterproof Trousers

His/Hers

Quick Drying Hiking Trousers

(preferably with zip-off shorts)

His/Hers

Change of trousers to wear in evening

Hiking Socks x 4-6

His/Hers

Liner Socks x 4-6

His/Hers

Evening Socks x 1

Buff

Gloves

Liner & Waterproof Outer

Sun Hat

Warm Hat 

Sunglasses

Hiking Boots or Trail Runners

His/Hers

Insoles

Flip-Flops / Sandals for evening

Gaiters

Midge Net

HIKING GEAR

Whether you plan to walk the WHW with a daypack (using a campsite to campsite baggage transfer service for your main bag) or carry all your gear on your back, there are a number of items we recommend packing for the trail. 

BACKPACK

Firstly, you’re going to need a backpack and rain cover. We love Osprey packs and highly recommend them for either your day pack or 40L+ backpack. A waterproof liner or dry sack is also helpful, especially for electrical items, or if you’re wild camping (when arriving at camp with a dry change of clothes and dry sleeping equipment is essential). 

HIKING POLES

Hiking Poles are highly recommended for walking the WHW. They provide support for your knees while descending, give tired legs a boost on uphill sections, and help maintain your rhythm on the flat.

WATER

A refillable water bottle and/or water bladder is also essential, plus a water purification method if you want to be able to fill up at streams along the way. We use a Steripen and filter, but you could use water purification tablets, a LifeStraw, or such like.

FIRST AID

You should carry a basic first aid kit, including painkillers, ibuprofen, antihistamines, Compeed blister pads, bandages, sterile wipes and dressings, antiseptic cream, plasters, scissors, a tick remover, tape, and safety pins. You can buy handy pre-made kits, or make up your own.

RUBBISH BAGS AND TOILET KIT

As you need to carry all of your waste off the trail to be disposed of in bins along the way, a rubbish bag is a good idea. If you’re wild camping, a toilet kit is essential (also useful for all walkers in case of a toilet emergency). Your toilet kit should include some toilet paper or pocket tissues, a rubbish bag to put your used toilet paper in (nappy sacks or dog poo bags work great), antibacterial hand gel, and a pocket trowel for digging a toilet hole and covering it over again if you need to poo.

OTHER ITEMS

Other useful items to carry in your bag at all times include a headtorch, suncream, insect repellent such as Smidge, snacks, a phone with charging cable and power bank, a penknife, and a map of your route. The Cicerone West Highland Way pocket book and Trailblazer West Highland Way Guide both include maps as part of the guidebooks, or you can use the Harvey waterproof WHW map or Footprints waterproof WHW map as standalone paper maps. A waterproof phone case can be very handy on wet weather days. Some electrolyte tabs are great for an energy boost and keeping you hydrated on hot, sweaty days. A travel adapter can be useful for charging multiple devices at once at cafes along the way.


CAMPING EQUIPMENT

In addition to all of the above items of clothing and hiking gear, you’re going to need extra equipment for camping the West Highland Way. Most obviously, you’ll need a tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag. We also recommend a pillow for comfort and a sleeping liner for added warmth and to keep your sleeping bag clean. If you want to cook a hot meal at the end of the day, or have a cup of tea or coffee in the morning, you’ll also need a small burner, gas canister and cooking supplies. Don’t forget some basic toiletries such as your toothbrush and toothpaste, plus soap, shampoo, and a travel towel if you plan to shower along the way.

For specific recommendations on which camping gear to use, check out our complete backpacking gear guide.

 Tent

Sleeping mat

Sleeping bag

Silk liner

Pillow

Small camping stove

Gas for stove
(available to buy at some shops along the way such as Beinglas Farm Shop and Tyndrum Green Welly Stop)

Pot

Spork

Cup

Bowl

Biodegradable washing up liquid

Basic Toiletries

Travel Towel


GET THE LOWDOWN ON OUR HIKING AND CAMPING GEAR

WEST HIGHLAND WAY CAMPSITES

There are campsites along every section of the West Highland Way, apart from Bridge of Orchy and Inveroran, where informal wild camping areas are available.  

The baggage transfer services that operate on the WHW can drop off your bags at official campsites, as well as at the Inveroran Hotel and Bridge of Orchy Hotel if you’re using the informal camping areas nearby. 

Below is a stage-by-stage guide to campsites along the West Highland Way. Advance bookings are recommended for each of these campsites, and most of them are open between Spring and Autumn. A few only accept 1 – 2 person sized tents.

Unless otherwise noted, facilities at each of the campsites below include a sheltered or indoor cooking area, toilets and hot showers, drinking water, and electrical sockets for charging. Any extra charges or facilities on offer are noted.

MILNGAVIE TO DRYMEN

West Highland Way Campsite
7.3 km/4.5 miles beyond Milngavie, 1km/ 0.6 miles detour off WHW route

  • Enquire direct for prices
  • Breakfast Included
  • Open year round

Extra Facilities: Washing and drying machines | TV Room | WiFi | BBQ | Restaurant

Drymen Camping 

On the WHW route

  • £10 pp
  • Open 8th March – 23rd October

Extra Facilities: WiFi


MILNGAVIE TO DRYMEN

West Highland Way Campsite
7.3 km/4.5 miles beyond Milngavie
1km/ 0.6 miles detour off WHW route

Enquire direct for prices
Breakfast included
Open year round

Extra Facilities:
Washing and drying machines
TV Room
WiFi
BBQ
Restaurant

Drymen Camping
On the WHW route

£10 pp
Open 8th March – 23rd October

Extra Facilities:
WiFi


The camping area at Drymen Camping



The camping area at Drymen Camping



DRYMEN TO ROWARDENNAN

Inchcailloch Island Permit Camping Area
Accessible by on-demand boat from Balmaha

  • £9 per person, apply in advance

Facilities: Composting Toilets | NO potable water | NO showers

Milarrochy Bay Camping and Caravanning Club
On the WHW route

  • Price varies, expect to pay £15+ pp

Extra Facilities: WiFi | Washing Machines | Small Shop

Cashel Camping and Caravan Park

On the WHW route

  • Price varies, expect to pay £10+ pp
  • Open 1st April – 17th October

Extra Facilities: Laundry Service

Sallochy Campsite

On the WHW route

  • Tents only
  • Lochside pitches recommended
  • £8-9 pp
  • Open 1 April to 31 October

Facilities: NO showers | Raised fire pits hire £5 | Firewood £6 per bag


DRYMEN TO ROWARDENNAN

Inchcailloch Island Permit Camping Area
Accessible by on-demand boat from Balmaha

£9 per person
Apply in advance

Facilities:
Composting Toilets
NO potable water
NO showers

Milarrochy Bay Camping and Caravanning Club
On the WHW route

Price varies
Expect to pay £15+ pp

Extra Facilities:
WiFi
Washing Machines
Small Shop

Cashel Camping and Caravan Park

On the WHW route

Price varies
Epect to pay £10+ pp
Open 1st April – 17th October

Extra Facilities:
Laundry Service

Sallochy Campsite

On the WHW route

Tents only
Lochside pitches recommended
£8-9 pp
Open 1 April to 31 October

Facilities:
NO showers
Raised fire pits hire £5
Firewood £6 per bag


On the lochside at Sallochy Campsite



On the lochside at Sallochy Campsite



ROWARDENNAN TO INVERARNAN

Inversnaid Bunkhouse
1.5 km/0.8 miles detour off WHW route

  • £10 pp with full use of bunkhouse facilities

Extra Facilities: Free pick up from Inversnaid | Restaurant | Drying Room | Laundry Service | WiFi

Beinglas Farm
On the WHW route

  • £10 pp
  • Open Spring – September 30th

Extra Facilities: Well Stocked Shop | Restaurant/Bar| Laundry and Drying | WiFi | Kitchen Area With Cooker


ROWARDENNAN TO INVERARNAN

Inversnaid Bunkhouse
1.5 km/0.8 miles detour off WHW route

£10 pp with full use of bunkhouse facilities

Extra Facilities:
 
Free pick up from Inversnaid
Restaurant
Drying Room
Laundry Service
WiFi

Beinglas Farm
On the WHW route

£10 pp
Open Spring – September 30th

Extra Facilities:
Well Stocked Shop
Restaurant/Bar
Laundry and Drying
WiFi
Kitchen Area With Cooker


INVERARNAN TO TYNDRUM

Strathfillan Wigwams (Auchtertyre)
On the WHW route

  • £8 pp

Extra Facilities: Shop | Basic Cafe | Washing and Tumble Dryer | TV Room | Fully Equipped Kitchen | WiFi £3/ 24 hours | Hot Showers £1 per 8 mins

Pine Trees Caravan Park
Slight detour off the WHW route

  • Primarily for caravans and glamping but small tents bookable by telephone
  • Enquire direct for prices
  • Open 1st March – 30th October

Extra Facilities: Shop | WiFi

By The Way Hostel and Campsite 

On the WHW route

  • £12 pp
  • Max 2-person tent size allowed
  • Closed if waterlogged due to heavy rain

Extra Facilities: Washing Machine and Dryer | Drying Room | Basic Kitchen Appliances


INVERARNAN TO TYNDRUM

Strathfillan Wigwams (Auchtertyre)
On the WHW route

£8 pp

Extra Facilities:
Shop
Basic Cafe
Washing and Tumble Dryer
TV Room
Fully Equipped Kitchen
WiFi £3/ 24 hours
Hot Showers £1 per 8 mins

Pine Trees Caravan Park
Slight detour off the WHW route

Primarily for caravans and glamping
but small tents bookable by telephone
Enquire direct for prices
Open 1st March – 30th October

Extra Facilities:
Shop
WiFi

By The Way Hostel and Campsite 

On the WHW route

£12 pp
Max 2-person tent size allowed
Closed if waterlogged due to heavy rain

Extra Facilities:
Washing Machine and Dryer
Drying Room
Basic Kitchen Appliances


TYNDRUM TO INVERORAN

No campsites with facilities

Informal wild camping by the river at Bridge of Orchy
(200 metres beyond the hotel)

Informal wild camping by the river at Inveroran
(400 metres beyond the hotel)

  • Drinking water available outside both hotels
  • Hotel toilets and restaurant/bar accessible during opening hours
  • Two portaloos at the Bridge of Orchy camping area (as seen in May 2022)


TYNDRUM TO INVERORAN

No campsites with facilities

Informal wild camping by the river at Bridge of Orchy
(200 metres beyond the hotel)

Informal wild camping by the river at Inveroran
(400 metres beyond the hotel)

Facilities:
Drinking water available
outside both hotels
Hotel toilets and restaurant/bar
accessible during opening hours
Two portaloos at the Bridge of Orchy camping area
(as seen in May 2022)


INVERORAN TO KINGSHOUSE

Glen Coe Mountain Resort
Slight detour off the WHW route

  • £8 pp

Extra Facilities: Shop | Cafe/Bar | Drying Room | WiFi | Hot Showers £1 per 5 mins

Informal wild camping area over the stone bridge behind Kingshouse Bunkhouse

Facilities: Access to public toilets and paid showers (£1 for 5 mins) | Hotel Restaurant/Bar


INVERORAN TO KINGSHOUSE

Glen Coe Mountain Resort
Slight detour off the WHW route

£8 pp

Extra Facilities:
Shop
Cafe/Bar
Drying Room
WiFi
Hot Showers £1 per 5 mins

Informal wild camping area over the stone bridge behind Kingshouse Bunkhouse

Facilities:
Access to public toilets
Paid showers (£1 for 5 mins)
Hotel Restaurant/Bar


KINGSHOUSE TO KINLOCHLEVEN

Blackwater Hostel
On the WHW route

  • £10+ pp
  • Max 2-person tent size allowed

Extra Facilities: Two Drying Rooms | WiFi

MacDonald Hotel and Cabins
Slight detour off the WHW route

  • £10+ pp
  • Max 2-person tent size allowed

Extra Facilities: Drying Room | Bar/Restaurant | WiFi


KINGSHOUSE TO KINLOCHLEVEN

Blackwater Hostel
On the WHW route

£10+ pp
Max 2-person tent size allowed

Extra Facilities:
Two Drying Rooms
WiFi

MacDonald Hotel and Cabins
Slight detour off the WHW route

£10+ pp
Max 2-person tent size allowed

Extra Facilities:
Drying Room
Bar/Restaurant
WiFi


Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven with its glamping pods and grassy area for tents is a good West Highland Way accommodation option for walkers on a budget

The area for tents at Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven



Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven with its glamping pods and grassy area for tents is a good West Highland Way accommodation option for walkers on a budget

The area for tents at Blackwater Hostel



KINLOCHLEVEN TO FORT WILLIAM

Glen Nevis Campsite
1.6 km / 1 mile detour off the WHW route

  • £11.50+ pp

Extra Facilities: Shop | Bar/Restaurant | Laundry | WiFi


KINLOCHLEVEN TO FORT WILLIAM

Glen Nevis Campsite
1.6 km / 1 mile detour off the WHW route

£11.50+ pp

Extra Facilities:
Shop
Bar/Restaurant
Laundry
WiFi


WEST HIGHLAND WAY WILD CAMPING SPOTS

Generally speaking, there are no shortage of wild camping spots along the West Highland Way, however there are a few sections where options are limited or restrictions are in place, so it’s best to plan your itinerary accordingly. 

Wild camping allows you to be flexible with your itinerary, however it’s still a good idea to have an approximate plan in mind and know roughly where you’re aiming to camp each night. The best approach is to wild camp either before or after the main settlements along the route. We would suggest referencing our WHW itineraries to get an idea of the distances, elevation gain, and approximate hiking time for each section. You can then consider the best itinerary for you, and use our stage-by-stage overview of wild camping spots along the West Highland Way to make an overall plan.

We split our own WHW walk over 7 nights, arriving in Fort William on the morning of the 8th day, in time to return home via public transport. We wild camped every night, having decided in advance roughly how far we wanted to walk each day and scouting out possible wild camp spots using Gaia GPS terrain and satellite view.

While walking the WHW we were constantly taking note of where wild camping would and wouldn’t be possible, in order to share this info with you. We would consider the wild camp spots mentioned below, and marked precisely on our map (which you can purchase here), to be commonly used spots along the route. They are mostly small areas, only suitable for one or two tents, so it’s important to stay flexible with your itinerary and be prepared to carry on if the spot is already in use

Please also bear in mind that the suitability of wild camp spots can change over time, or with the seasons, with vegetation becoming more overgrown, ground becoming boggy or muddy, and the terrain shifting. And of course, this is not an exhaustive list of possible wild camp spots, rather it is intended to give you a good indication of where you can easily find them along the route, so you can better plan your own WHW wild camping itinerary. 

Note that not all of the wild camp spots mentioned below have a water source nearby, and those that do will require you to treat the water before drinking. If there’s a chance you may end up camping away from a water source, plan ahead to make sure you have enough water to last at camp and until the next water source is available on the trail the following morning.

WILD CAMPING BETWEEN MILNGAVIE AND DRYMEN

As the first stage of the WHW is predominantly through farmland and passes by numerous residential areas, options for wild camping are quite limited until you reach the outskirts of Drymen. There is an ideal area on the last 400 metres stretch before the end of our marked route. The trail leaves the road at a bridge, turning right down some steps towards a burn (stream), and then cuts across a rolling grassy hillside to rejoin the road on the other side. There are numerous suitable wild camp spots along the burn, hidden out of sight among the trees. This was our first wild camp spot on the WHW. 

Setting up at a wild camp spot near Drymen



Setting up at a wild camp spot near Drymen



Another option is push on a little further into the start of the next section and wild camp in one of the small clearings in the forest areas before Garadhban Car Park

WILD CAMPING BETWEEN DRYMEN AND ROWARDENNAN

Wild camping is not permitted between 1 March and 30 September once you enter the Camping Management Zone at the entrance to the Balmaha Plantation forest (56.090172, -4.533101). However it’s possible to wild camp before this point, in the above mentioned forest areas, by Kilandan Burn and Burn of Mar just before the climb to Conic Hill, or around Conic Hill itself.

This entire section between Balmaha and Rowardennan falls under the Camping Management Zone, meaning no wild camping is permitted. However, Lochan Maoil Dhuinne permit camping area is shortly before Rowardennan and this is a designated wild camping spot. You will need to get a £4 permit in advance to camp here, and there are only 5 issued per day, so they tend to book up a few weeks in advance. It’s a lovely spot just off the WHW, and you can choose to camp in a small forest area or on one of two pebble beaches. Expect to have a few neighbours here, but there is enough space for everyone to spread out. This was our second wild camp spot.

Camping in the permit zone on the shores of Loch Lomond at Lochan Maoil Dhuinne



Camping in the permit zone on the shores
of Loch Lomond at Lochan Maoil Dhuinne



WILD CAMPING BETWEEN ROWARDENNAN AND INVERSNAID

The Camping Management Zone ends shortly after Rowardennan, above Ptarmigan Lodge (56.171755, -4.655221). It is marked by a sign. From this point on, you are allowed to wild camp and there are plenty of great options along this stretch.

The first few are very soon after leaving the Camping Management Zone, with a couple of small grassy clearings in the trees by the side of the steps leading down from the ‘high road/low road’ split point (the low road is the official waymarked route), as well as plenty of room along the beach at the bottom of the steps. There are another two beaches and grassy areas good for wild camping over the next couple of miles.

A bit further on, Rowchoish Bothy sits a little off the trail to the left, situated in a beautiful forest of tall pines and moss. A bothy is an open shelter, offering an experience similar to camping but with better wind and waterproofing, and the added comfort of a few tables and chairs, plus a fireplace (although wood to burn is not guaranteed). You can learn more about bothies in this guide.

The terrain around Rowchoish isn’t great for camping, but there is a flat grassy ledge and beach area with a stream nearby a little over a mile further on. Beyond Cailness Burn, there is another well positioned grassy ledge overlooking a beach, followed by an attractive stretch of rocky beach just below the trail, which was our third wild camp spot.

Inside the spacious Rowchoish Bothy



Inside the spacious Rowchoish Bothy



WILD CAMPING BETWEEN INVERSNAID TO INVERARNAN

There is an informal wild camping area by the boatshed 0.44 miles / 700 metres beyond the Inversnaid Hotel. Between here and the large beach diagonally opposite Ceann Mor there are four or five possible wild camp spots, either on grassy patches or rocky beaches. The large beach itself is also an ideal wild camping spot, with plenty of space, nice soft sand, and great mountain views.

The large beach just before the trickiest section of the lochside trail



The informal camping area just a little beyond Inversnaid



The informal camping area beyond Inversnaid


The large beach just before the trickiest
section of the trail along the loch’s shore



A further 1 mile / 1.6 km beyond the sandy beach (along the trickiest section of lochside trail) is another good spot at a flat beach backed by grass, next to a stream. Doune Byre Bothy is 0.6 miles / 1 km beyond the beach, with room for about 10 people in its single room.

The last good wild camping spot before Inverarnan (and entering another Camping Management Zone) is a grassy clearing behind a beach shortly before the sign for the Ardleish to Ardlui ferry.

WILD CAMPING BETWEEN INVERARNAN AND TYNDRUM

The best spots for wild camping along this section of the WHW are concentrated around the forest on the slopes of Kirk Craig, and along the River Fillan between Strathfillan Wigwams and Tyndrum.

After leaving Inverarnan you are still in a Camping Management Zone for a stretch along River Falloch, although there is no sign to make it clear exactly where the zone ends. The first obvious camp spot is a small flat grassy patch next to a bench by the Crianlarich crossroads, with another couple of flat grassy spots at the top of the steep path just above here, next to a picnic bench. There is another flat grassy clearing in the forest just beyond the bridge over Herive Burn. This was our fourth wild camp spot.

A sunny morning at a decent wild camp spot in the forest before Tyndrum



A sunny morning at a decent wild
camp spot in the forest before Tyndrum



After crossing under the road beyond Strathfillan Wigwams, you’ll reach the River Fillan.  There are a few good spots for wild camping here, the first a small grassy bank by the river near the bridge, the second a large, flat shelf of small stones a few hundred metres further on.

WILD CAMPING BETWEEN TYNDRUM AND INVERORAN

There are a few flat grassy spots by the burns about half way between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy, around about the confluence of the Allt Coire Chailein and Allt Kinglass.

There is an informal wild camping area by the bridge just beyond Bridge of Orchy Hotel.

There is a clearing by a lone tree shortly before starting the descent to Inveroran, with fantastic views over Loch Tulla. It is very exposed though.

There is an informal wild camping area on the grassy river bank either side of the bridge 400 metres beyond Inveroran Hotel.

WILD CAMPING BETWEEN INVERORAN TO KINGSHOUSE

There are a number of wild camping opportunities on Rannoch Moor, in clearings amongst the heather or by the various bridges and burns.

The first you’ll come to beyond the informal wild camping area at Inveroran is a small grassy river bank by Victoria Bridge. A little further on there is a grassy patch down an old track, next to a ruined building. This was our fifth wild camp spot. 

On the northern side of the forest near here is a sheltered clearing off the trail to the left. Look for a small wooden plank leading across a boggy section to reach it.

Lochan Mhic Pheadair Ruaidh is a particularly scenic spot, and there are a couple of small clearings just off the trail to the right overlooking it. Ba Bridge is another good area, with a few grassy clearings by River Ba. You’ll come to another stone bridge less than a mile beyond Ba Bridge, with a suitable burnside spot.

This West Highland Way hiker found a great spot near Ba Bridge on Rannoch Moor



This West Highland Way hiker found a great
camp spot near Ba Bridge on Rannoch Moor



There is an informal wild camping area by the bridge and River Etive behind Kingshouse, plus one or two more clearings just off the gravel road that runs parallel to the river and A82 a little further beyond Kingshouse.

WILD CAMPING BETWEEN KINGSHOUSE AND KINLOCHLEVEN

There’s a small grassy clearing just beyond a wooden bridge shortly after starting the climb up the Devil’s Staircase, and it’s also possible to wild camp at the top of the Devil’s Staircase, although this is very exposed. Between the Devil’s Staircase and Kinlochleven, the terrain makes options limited. The best spot is a small grassy clearing by a burn not far from the top, with another possible camp spot by the bridge over Allta Choire Odhair Mhoir further down the trail. This was our sixth wild camp spot.

The last suitable wild camping spot before Kinlochleven is in the forest by the dam, at a bend in the gravel road. There are quite a few flat grassy spots for tents.

WILD CAMPING BETWEEN KINLOCHLEVEN AND FORT WILLIAM

There are plenty of good spots for wild camping during the first half of this section, on the climb up to and in the Lairigmor. The first is a grassy clearing in the forest by a burn on the climb out of Kinlochleven. After clearing the treeline and starting the gradual climb up the Lairigmor, there are numerous wild camping opportunities, often next to burns. 

After leaving the Lairigmor and turning north towards Fort William there is a clearing in a small forest by a stream, shortly before a big stone cairn and information board about the Battle of Inverlochy. There are a few possible spots around Dun Deardail, a 2000 year old fort a short uphill side trip off the main WHW route. A small clearing on the edge of the forest here, with views directly across to Ben Nevis, was our seventh and final wild camp on the West Highland Way.

A camp spot with Ben Nevis views (weather permitting) near the old Dun Deardail fort



A camp spot with Ben Nevis views (weather
permitting) near the old Dun Deardail fort



The last possible spot to wild camp before entering Glen Nevis (where there are signs warning that wild camping is not permitted) and the large town of Fort William itself is a small forest clearing between turning right off the forest track and joining the road by River Nevis. 

WHERE TO BUY FOOD AND RE-SUPPLY ALONG THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

If you plan on cooking your own meals while camping the West Highland Way, it’s possible to re-supply at shops in each of the main towns (Drymen, Crianlarich, Tyndrum, and Kinlochleven), as well as at some smaller shops aimed at walkers at other key stops (such as Beinglas Farm).

There are also cafes and restaurants at each of the main settlements on the West Highland Way, so it’s possible to order a meal at least once a day should you wish to.  Dinner reservations are recommended.

There are plenty of water taps available at settlements along the way. Note that if there is no obvious tap outside, you can ask to fill your bottle or bladder at campsites, hotels, pubs, cafes, etc. Away from settlements, there are some long stretches with only natural water sources such as streams. If you are relying solely on water taps, it means having to carry a lot more water on the more remote sections. If you are prepared in advance and carry a water treatment system, then you can fill up regularly from any source. 

Below is an outline of the food options, re-supply options, and water taps along each section of the WHW.  In places where there are numerous eateries, we’ve noted our top recommended options. Expand the boxes for more detailed info. 

Checking out the honesty shop box at Turnip the Beet



Inside the honesty shop box



The honesty shop box at Turnip the Beet



GLASGOW AND MILNGAVIE

There are plenty of supermarkets in central Glasgow, near the train stations where you will likely be arriving and departing from. There is a big Tesco Superstore behind the train station in Milngavie, and various take-away food and sit-in cafes near the start point. There are pharmacies too, in case you need any last minute medical supplies. 

MILNGAVIE TO DRYMEN

There is a restaurant about half way through the route, plus a deli (Wed – Sun) and honesty shop shortly after the restaurant. Drymen itself is about 900 metres / 0.56 miles off the main route.

Water Tap by Obelisk at Start

Trailside Water Tap at Carbeth Cottages
(55.9838, -4.3475)

The Beech Tree Inn
(11 km / 6.8 miles from Milngavie)
Full food menu
Mon – Fri 11am – 3pm
Sat – Sun 11am – 7pm
Outside Water Tap 

Turnip the Beet Honesty Shop & Deli
(12 km / 7.5 miles from Milngavie)
Snacks, porridge pots, cakes, canned drinks and water from the honesty box
(payment in cash or by bank transfer)
Deli and Shop serving coffee, sandwiches and more
Open Wed – Sat 9am – 6pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm

Water refills available during opening hours

Honesty Box at Gartness Bridge
(16 km / 9.9 miles from Milngavie)
Small selection of cans, bottled water and ice creams

Water Taps Available at Drymen Camping

The Clachan Inn, Drymen
Reservations Recommended (01360 660824)
Full food menu
Mon – Sat 11am – 11pm, Sun 12pm – 11pm

SPAR Drymen
Convenience Store
Mon – Sat 630am – 10pm, Sun 8am – 10pm


DRYMEN TO ROWARDENNAN

You can get a meal, light snacks, and basic supplies in Balmaha, after descending from Conic Hill. There is nowhere to eat after this until The Clansman at Rowardennan.

Bottled Water at Honesty Box Outside Glenalva B&B, Drymen

The Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha
Breakfast 730am
Lunch and Dinner 12pm – 10pm
Outside Water Tap 

St Mocha Coffee Shop, Balmaha
Morning rolls served all day, coffee, ice cream
Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm, Sat – Sun 8am – 5pm

Scottish Water Tap by Tom Weir Statue, Balmaha

Water Tap at Sallochy Campsite

The Clansman Bar and Restaurant, Rowardennan
Breakfast open to non-residents between 7am – 9am
Food Menu served from 12pm
Outside Water Tap

Rowardennan Lodge Youth Hostel Shop
Basic provisions and snacks

Rowardennan Lodge Youth Hostel Meals for Guests
(pre-book +441360 870 259)


ROWARDENNAN TO INVERARNAN

Options for food are limited along this section so it’s recommended you have a packed lunch and snacks with you

Honesty Shop outside Ben Lomond cottage
(1.2 km / 0.75 miles from Rowardennan Hotel)
Various snacks, cakes, bottled water, and canned drinks.
Payment by cash or PayPal QR code.

Inversnaid Hotel
Snacks and drinks served in the walkers bar, but not reliable for meals for non-guests.
Outside Water Tap 

Top Bunk Bistro at the Inversnaid Bunkhouse
(1.5 km/0.78 miles detour off the route, uphill)
Breakfast served 745am – 915am
Dinner 6pm – 9pm
Reservations recommended for non-guests (+441877 386249)

Beinglas Farm, Inverarnan
Breakfast 730am – 930am
Lunch and Dinner menu served 12pm – 9.30pm
Outside Water Tap 

Beinglas Shop, Inverarnan
Open 730am – 10pm
Camping and walking supplies, plus food

The Drovers Inn, Inverarnan
( 700 metres / 0.4 miles detour off the route)
Lunch and dinner menu, food served 12pm – 9pm


INVERARNAN TO TYNDRUM

Crianlarich is about 1.5 km / 0.9 miles off the main WHW route so the detour isn’t recommended unless you are staying there. If you’re not going to Crianlarich, it’s best to stock up on supplies at Beinglas Farm shop at Inverarnan, or at the Green Welly in Tyndrum

Londis Store, Crianlarich
Open 730am – 6pm

The Station Tea Room, Crianlarich
Open 8am -4pm Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat
Thurs 9.30am – 4pm
Sun 11am – 2.30pm
Breakfast and Sandwiches

The Rod and Reel, Crianlarich
Open 1230pm – 10pm
Pub food

Strathfillan Wigwams Shop & Cafe

Farm shop, plus pies and bacon rolls
Outside Water Tap 

The Real Food Cafe, Tyndrum
Open 730am – 8pm
Breakfast, then full menu from 11am*
*Fish and Chips highly recommended!
Outside Water Tap 

The Tyndrum Inn
Dinner reservations recommended +441838 400219

Green Welly Filling Station
Open 7am – 9pm
Food, walking, and camping supplies


TYNDRUM TO INVERORAN

Bridge of Orchy Hotel is the only place to eat between Tyndrum and Inveroran. At Inveroran, the only option is the Inveroran Hotel itself, however they currently only provide meals for residents.

Bridge of Orchy Hotel
Breakfast 7am – 930am
Lunch 12pm – 5pm
Dinner 6pm – 8.45pm
Drinks and snacks available in the bar
Reservations Recommended
(
+441838 400 208)
Outside Water Tap 

Inveroran Hotel*
Walkers Bar open from 3pm
Dinner currently only for residents
(+441838 400250)

Outside Water Tap


INVERORAN TO KINGSHOUSE

There is nowhere to eat between leaving Inveroran Hotel and the Glencoe Mountain Resort (14 km / 8.7 miles into the section).

Glencoe Mountain Resort Cafe and Shop
(500 metres /  0.3 miles detour off main route)
Open 8am – 8pm

Kingshouse The Way Inn
Open 730am – 9pm
Breakfast rolls, drinks, pastries, pies, etc.
Outside Water Tap 

Kingshouse Restaurant
Dinner from 6pm
Reservations Recommended
(book via website)



KINGSHOUSE TO KINLOCHLEVEN

There is nowhere to eat between Kingshouse and Kinlochleven. There is a supermarket in Kinlochleven, plus various pubs, cafes, and take-aways. If you need any urgent gear replacements, there is a selection of Rab clothing and outdoor accessories in the Ice Factor shop.

Co-op Supermarket
Open 7am – 10pm

Mo’s Kinlochleven
Open Mon – Sat 7am – 5pm, Sun 7am – 12pm
Coffee and breakfast rolls, sandwiches, baked potatoes

Ice Factor Cafe
Open 9am – 5pm

Chillers Bar and Grill
Open Thurs – Sun 5pm – 930pm

The Tailrace Inn
Breakfast 8am – 10am
Lunch 11am – 4pm
Dinner 4pm – 9pm


KINLOCHLEVEN TO FORT WILLIAM

There is nowhere to eat along the main route between Kinlochleven and Fort William, although you can detour to Glen Nevis Camping and Caravan Site, shortly before the end of the walk. There is a big Morrison’s supermarket in Fort William, multiple places to eat, and a number of outdoor clothing shops such as Nevisport, Cotswold Outdoor, and Craghoppers. There is a Scottish Water tap at the finish point.

Glen Nevis Campsite Shop
(1.6 km / 1 mile detour off main route)

Glen Nevis Restaurant and Bar
(1.6 km / 1 mile detour off main route)

Morrison’s Supermarket
Open 7am – 10pm

Black Isle Bar
Craft beer and pizzas, conveniently situated behind the finishing point
Open 12pm – 11pm

Highland Cinema
Cafe bar serving pizza, sharing platters, salads, gourmet hot dogs
Archival footage from the Highlands screened on the cafe wall
Hot food served 12pm – 9pm

Rain Bakery
Excellent bakery treats
Open Mon – Saturday 9am – 4pm

The Grog & Gruel
Pub Food
Food served 12pm – 9pm

The Geographer
Bistro food
Open Mon – Sat 12pm – 2pm, 5pm – 9pm

Scottish Water tap at the finish point


TOILETS AND SHOWER FACILITIES ON THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

Although there are public toilets along the West Highland Way, they are few and far between. Toilets are also available in pubs, restaurants, hotels, campsites and so on, but only accessible during opening hours and of course it’s polite to ask permission if you are not a customer.

Whether you are staying in campsites or wild camping, it’s highly recommended to carry a small toilet kit in case you get caught out and need to go in nature. Pack some toilet paper or pocket tissues, a rubbish bag to put your used toilet paper in (nappy sacks or dog poo bags work great), antibacterial hand gel, and a pocket trowel for digging a hole and covering it over again if you need to poo. Do not bury or discard used toilet paper in nature, make sure you bag it and dispose of it properly at the next available public bin. Be sure to go to the toilet well away from water sources such as streams, and dig your toilet hole at least 6 inches deep. Avoid going anywhere where people may obviously rest or shelter along the way – finding a spot out of sight of the trail is best.

If you’re wild camping the West Highland Way, you may want to take advantage of paid public showers along the route to freshen up. We’ve marked the location of these below. A few campsites also have metered showers and you can ask permission to use these too, even if you’re not staying there.

Toilets

Milngavie train station
(for rail ticket holders only)

Costa Coffee shop by start

Milngavie Community Centre shortly after the tunnel at the start (signposted on trail)

Beech Tree Inn

Drymen Camping


Toilets

Oak Tree In

Milarrochy Car Park Public Toilets

Sallochy Campsite

The Clansman Bar and Restaurant at Rowardennan Hotel


Toilets

Ben Lomond Car Park Public Toilets

Inversnaid Hotel

Beinglas Farm Campsite


Toilets

Strathfillan Wigwams

Green Welly Filling Station, Tyndrum

Campsite Showers 

Strathfillan Wigwams
£1 for 8 minutes

Public Showers

Green Welly Filling Station, Tyndrum (very clean)
£2.50 for 10 minutes


Toilets

Bridge of Orchy Hotel
(for customers or by donation)

Two (smelly) portaloos by Bridge of Orchy bridge/informal camping area (May  2022)

Inveroran Hotel


Toilets

Glencoe Mountain Resort
(slightly off route)

Kingshouse Public Toilets (not very clean)

Kingshouse Bar and Restaurant

Campsite Showers

Glencoe Mountain Resort
£1 for 5 minutes

Public Showers

Kingshouse Public Showers (not very clean)
£1 for 5 minutes


Toilets

Kinlochleven Public Toilets
(opposite Ice Factor)

Public Toilets in Ice Factor

Public Showers

Ice Factor

£3 for 8 minutes


Toilets

Glen Nevis Campsite
(off route)

Various establishments in Fort William

Public Showers

Fort William Train Station
£3.50


A COMPLETE GUIDE TO CAMPING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

We hope you’ve found this camping the West Highland Way guide helpful and wish you all the best on your Scottish walking and camping adventure!

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