Here’s some helpful information to help you enjoy your journey along the West Highland Way.

Emergencies

If you are in an emergency at any point along the West Highland Way, follow these steps:

  • Phone the emergency services on 999 and ask for the police.
  • Provide accurate details of the incident and location (grid references are beneficial) – if you are in a remote area with difficult access, it is essential to emphasise this.
  • The Police will assess the situation and send help – this may include a Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) and other medical support.

Midgies/Pests

Scotland is home to a powerful midge population and, in the peak season, they can become quite the nuisance. However, you can help reduce the inconvenience by purchasing midgie repellent and wearing a midgie net. Midgies don’t carry diseases, but they do leave little red spots on the skin and create an itch when they land on you. You can read about the midge forecast here.

Ticks

Ticks are a part of the spider family. Measuring only a few millimetres in length, ticks attach themselves onto the skin and feed on blood before dropping off after a few days. However, ticks are responsible for carrying several diseases, including Lyme disease.

Ticks reside in long grass and woodland so be careful of exposed skin when walking through these areas. You won’t necessarily feel the tick bite, but as they like moist areas, check your armpits, groin and knees after having been outside. It’s advised that you cover up with light covered fabrics and keep to the middle of paths.

Tick Removal

If you find a tick, it’s essential to remove it as soon as possible, as follows:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  • Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

If you discover a red ring around your tick bite, this could be a “Bull’s Eye rash” which is a symptom of Lyme Disease, and you should call your doctor immediately and begin a course of antibiotics. For more information, see the National Health Service website.

Dogs

Taking your dog along the West Highland Way is permitted. However, it is important to keep your dog under close supervision or on a short lead when travelling through fields of crops or livestock. For more information about dog walking in Scotland see the Scottish Natural Heritage ‘Dog Walking’ guide here or the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) here.

Please pick up your dog’s waste in public areas.