The route from Kinlochleven to Fort William is the final 15.25 mile stretch of the West Highland Way. 94 miles ago, at the edge of the hustle and bustle not far from the City of Glasgow, Scotland’s most famous hiking route began and now culminates in a fairly easy, yet spectacular path to the foot of Scotland’s greatest mountain and beyond.
Although this is a relatively long section of the West Highland Way, the spectacular views and knowing the end is near is usually enough to get struggling hikers to the end.
The town of Kinlochleven is well versed in accommodating visitors using the facilities before starting out on this section of the walk and are invariably helpful in pointing travellers in the right direction. As with the rest of the West Highland Way, signposts are periodically placed along the route and are easy to follow.
This outset will see you take on an ascent to around 200 metres through woodland. The trees are fairly sparse and do not quite manage to impede the view of the stunning mountainous landscape which dominates the view throughout this walk.
After some steep upward walking, the path levels off and the woodland thins. This is the ideal place to get some photographs as you will be standing in the shadow of Beinn na Caillich (732 metres), which adds to the drama of this panoramic view.
Further along, the path will reveal some buildings which have been left to ruin before turning left over a footbridge and then ascending into some more woodland. Keep following the thistle logo as another path merges with yours and follow on through a gate and another footbridge. By now, the trees will have become much more sparse and Ben Nevis will be visible (weather permitting) directly ahead.
This path will continue on for around 2 miles before ascending again to reach some more woodland. This part of the path can occasionally become boggy after periods of bad weather. Loose stones and tree roots are worthy of attention as they can become an increased tripping hazard as walkers become more tired.
The route will soon take you past an old fort which offers a great view point and then will begin to descend in a snaking formation into Glen Nevis. The path will form a junction with another route at which point you should turn left. This part of the path will take you through wooded area and on to the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre.
After passing the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre and the start of the path up the mountain itself, you will find yourself a little under 2 miles from the end of this section and the official end of the West Highland Way. Continue on to Fort William and past the high street, you will now be looking at a bench with a bronze statue; the “weary traveller” who will be more than happy to pose for pictures, at what is the official end of a truly epic journey through some of Scotland’s most spectacular and varied landscapes.