Maps.me is our go-to offline mapping app. We find it straightforward to use for planning routes in advance, as well as navigating on the trail. It doesn’t drain our phone battery, and it’s quick and easy to save and organise ‘bookmarks’. There are many trails already marked on Maps.me, plus you can download and import a KML track of your route to the app.
To use Maps.me, first download the app (iOS/Android). Hover over the region or country that you want to visit and the app will prompt you to download this map. Once downloaded, it can be viewed offline.
You can tap anywhere and save it as a ‘bookmark’ by tapping the star symbol at the bottom. Hit ‘Edit Bookmark’ to personalise the bookmark colour, organise your bookmarks into different folders, and rename them.
You can navigate easily or plan routes in advance by tapping your start point and selecting ‘route from’, then tapping your end point and selecting ‘route to’. Tap the car, walking, or cycling symbol at the top of the screen to indicate your mode of travel. If you want to plot a different route to the one suggested by Maps.me, just tap a third (or fourth, fifth, etc.) bookmark between the start and end points and select ‘add stop’.
Maps.me shows the distance and travel time, plus elevation profiles for hiking trails. Note that the estimated time isn’t always reliable, but we’ve always found the distance and elevation gain/loss to be largely accurate. It only shows very basic contour lines.
You can track your progress on the trail using GPS. The arrow shows your direction of travel. Tap the compass at the top right of the screen to keep the map in a fixed position (the arrow will rotate). Alternatively, tap the arrow at the bottom right of the screen to rotate the map in the direction of travel (the arrow will stay in a fixed position).
Gaia (iOS/Android) is another offline mapping app that is very useful. It shows the contours in much more detail than Maps.me, and you can download both the topographical and satellite view of your route in advance for offline use. The app has existing OpenStreetMap trails marked and you can import GPX tracks and view them offline. You can also create new routes online yourself and export them as GPX or KML files. You can navigate easily on the trail using the arrow that shows your GPS location. You can also check distances between places offline, however you will only get elevation profiles while online. There are a lot of useful features in the free version and even more benefits if you have a paid annual membership, so if you spend a lot of time outdoors it is worthwhile learning how to use the app to its full advantage.
In our experience, Gaia drains your phone battery much quicker than Maps.me, even in flight mode, so it’s best to shut down the app completely each time you finish using it.
Hi guys, I just watched your film on the West Highland Way and absolutely loved it. Your website is fantastic too. I plan to walk the WHW over 8 days in the first week of July this year and planning to camp while doing this trip over 8 days. If I need to take a break from wild camping and stay at any official campsites, do I need to make a booking earlier or can I just show up for a spot on the same day? Not sure which nights I may feel the need to stay in an official… Read more »
Searching for Beinglas Farm, it looks like they might re-open in 2023
Yes, my understanding is that it will only reopen if someone is found to take over the lease. Worth keeping an eye on it! Hopefully it will re-open. Kim
Is it possible to stay in Glencoe villiage and take the bus to the trailheads (and back to accommodation at the end of the day) for the Inveroran to Kingshouse and Kingshouse to Kinlochleven sections of the trail? Having a bit of trouble finding available accommodation (and not wanting to camp due to the weather) but still hoping it is possible to do these sections as they look so beautiful!
Yeah those sections are really beautiful! As far as we know there is no public transport to Inveroran. There is a bus connecting Kinlochleven and Glencoe village (check here https://shielbuses.co.uk/route-n44-monday-to-friday) and the Citylink bus stops at Glencoe village and on the main road a short walk from Kingshouse (‘Glencoe Ski Centre’ on the timetable, check here https://www.citylink.co.uk/timetables-service-updates/glasgow-to-skye/). There are local taxis too. Hope this helps. Cheers, Kim.
Would it be mad to attempt Milngavie to Balmaha on the first day and camp on the island just off the shore? Should I split this into 2? Loving your website by the way. It’s becoming my WHW bible ✌️
Hey Sarah, glad you’re finding our guides helpful! Personally, I wouldn’t be able to cover all that distance in one day (about 31 km), especially with the added pressure of needing to arrive in time to get the last boat over to the island (at 5 pm I believe). If you’re fit, fast, and used to walking that kind of distance with your camping gear then go for it, but otherwise I’d suggest splitting it up over 2 days, or wild camping somewhere around Conic Hill on the first day instead of on the island. Cheers! Kim
Is it possible to stay two nights in some of the places. There are 4 of us interested in supported hiking (bags brought to next location).
Hi Mary, yeah you can organise your walk any way you like, and if you prefer to stay 2 nights in one place this is possible, although you need to consider public transport options/taxi to get you back to your accommodation at the end of the day, and back to the trail the following day. Unless you want to stay 2 nights in order to have a rest from walking the second day? Either way, it’s possible. You would just advise the baggage transfer company of the dates and locations to transfer your baggage. Cheers, Kim