“Walking off the beaten path will open up a world of beautiful possibilities.” – Anonymous
The West Highland Way is one of the most beautiful long-distance walking trails in the world, or so we believe! But if you want even more natural beauty steeped in rich Scottish culture, then not too far from the trail are bonus attractions. Tucked away gems of highland treasures are just waiting to be stumbled upon and admired. Here are five captivating attractions to add even more breathtaking moments to your journey along one of Scotland’s best-loved long-distance walking trails.
There’s no better way to begin your journey along the West Highland Way than by stopping off for a wee dram of authentic Scottish whisky. As you head out of Milngavie, on your way to Drymen, a short detour will lead you to Glengoyne Distillery. In operation for the past two centuries, Glengoyne whisky has been carefully crafted through years of tradition to produce some of the finest single-malt in the country.
Falls of Falloch
In Scottish Gaelic, Eas Falach means waterfall of the River Falloch. Situated between Inverarnan and Tyndrum, this hidden gem is just a short detour from the West Highland Way trail. Standing at 30 ft high, the Falls of Follach offers beautiful waterfalls; this has become a popular hot spot for a picnic and well-earnt rest from walking the trail.
Buachaille Etive Mor
Pronounced boo – ach – keel -yi / etchiv / vore, this towering mountain sits at the helm of Glen Etive, near Glencoe. With an elevation of 1,022 m, this area has become quite popular amongst climbers for due to the technical and challenging ascent. If you prefer to soak in the beauty of the glen, you’ll understand why photographers flock from all over the globe to capture incredible photographs. If you’re an early bird, don’t miss the change in colours across the landscape as the sun rises, it’s something you’ll never forget!
Top tip: It can get a little boggy and terrain can be varied underfoot so remember to wear suitable walking boots.
Ballachulish Slate Quarry
Nestled on the shores of Loch Leven, not far from Glencoe, is Ballachulish Slate Quarry. Established in 1692, this quarry was booming with production back in the 18th century, proving slate roof tiles to the surrounding area. With picnic tables dotted around, the Ballachulish Slate Quarry has become a charming tourist attraction, ideal for picnics and those with a penchant for Scottish industrial history. While you’re there, don’t forget to take the short walk to the slate arch! Originally used as a pair for the transportation of slate from quarry to the shore, the last remaining slate archway stands at 24m high – a great photo opportunity not to be missed!
Add on this beautiful treat when you reach Fort William as the Steall Waterfall shouldn’t be missed. Also known as An Steall Bàn (“The White Spout”) or Steall Falls, this is Scotland’s second-highest waterfall, with a single drop of 390 ft.
There is a car park on-site where most people begin the walk from which can take around 40-minutes. Some climbing and even scrambling may be involved, and it can be quite challenging in adverse weather conditions, so take extra precaution with your footwear and kit. Once you scramble over the brow, the glen unfolds with the magnificent Steall Waterfall cascading ahead. For the more adventurous souls, there is a high-wire bridge which crosses over the river.
Wherever your West Highland Way adventure takes you, remember to soak it all in and snap those memories on camera, and tag your photos on Instagram with #MyWestHighlandWay for a chance to be featured on our page.