How to move

by | 9 Jun 2015 | 0 comments

Scotland has a good public transport network, so for those of us who make the West Highland Way from the outside, it’s the easiest and most comfortable way to move us.

I assume that everyone knows how to get to Glasgow or Edinburgh, as Ryanair or Vueling make it easy.

The West Highland Way begins in Milngavie, on Douglas Street. Milngavie is a town in Greater Glasgow. Therefore, coming from Glasgow has no complication: trains and buses leave every 30 minutes. According to the official schedule, the train journey lasts 24 minutes and bus, 27 minutes.

And if you’ve reached Edinburgh, then it’s okay, because trains also run every half hour to Glasgow. There are also coaches, but I prefer trains.

The end of the Way is at Fort William. From there we can go to different parts of Scotland, but we will assume that you want to go back to Glasgow. There are also two options: train or coach. The train takes 3:48, and the bus, 3:17. It has to be said that the train takes a longer way, but let me doubt the reliability of the coach’s journey time. I came back by train, which I like most, and the journey is a real pleasure, both for comfort and for the landscape, undoing much of the route taken on foot.

West Highland Way starts here

West Highland Way ends in Fort William

Get around The West Highland Way

There is also a good network of communication between the different towns or settlements that we find along the way. As you can read in my story, I established Crianlarich as a base camp for three stages, and it was no problem to move towards the start or end of the stages I had to make. Probably the most complicated part where moving in public transport is the one before the arrival at Crianlarich, especially the one that runs along Loch Lomond, as the road and train pass just on the other side of the lake, so I imagine that ferries should be used to cross the other side.

Please note that they have (or had) more or less frequency of passage depending on whether it is winter or summer season. I went there when it was still winter, and so there were fewer combinations.

Route Scheduler

The easiest way to find out how to go from one point to another, leaving aside the operators’ own pages, which I mention below, is with the route planner Traveline Scotland: put the place of origin, and the final place, and you get all the possible combinations, whether on bus, coach, train, tram, ferry, plane or bicycle.

Get around the West Highland Way by train

ScotRail · Scotland's Railway
The Scottish public railway system is operated by a Dutch public company under a Scottish government concession. Less or more. The point is that, regardless of who the service operates, everything is under the brand ScotRail.
It has to be said that the ScotRail people have made things easy, and they have dubbed the line that interests us as the West Highlands. You can catch it in Edinburgh, it takes you straight to Glasgow, and the first station we are interested in is Crianlarich. From here, it runs much of the West Highland Way to Fort William. But beware, that in Crianlarich there is the possibility of detouring to Oban, which is a beautiful village but out of our way.

If the links are no longer working, you can find the schedules on the ScotRail webpage

Take the West Highland Way by coach

When I did the West Highland Way, who was operating the coaches that were going well to cover the route was Citylink. I do not know whether there are other companies operating on the same lines, or whether each concessionary has its own routes.

ScotRail · Scotland's Railway

The point is that Citylink can move us, by coach, between different towns, with the difference that with them we can already move from Inverarn, just out of Loch Lommond.

The lines that we are interested in are 915 and 916, which they have called less commercial than those of ScotRail: Glasgow – Fort William – Skye.

If the links have stopped working, you can find the schedules on the​ CityLink webpage

Move your backpack

When we start such a route, we all go with the idea that we will be able to carry the backpack, every day, without any problems. But sometimes things don’t turn out the way we imagined, and maybe the backpack weighs too much, or maybe we get injured, or we get pain in some part of the body, or etc., and we prefer to carry less weight during the day.

No problem. Luckily, there are companies that are dedicated to moving our luggage up and down. Here are a few. I used AWS Scotland, and it was all very easy: I emailed them telling them that after two days I needed to move my backpack from Crianlarich to Fort William, they replied that no problem, I left the £ 10 in my backpack, and when I got to the Fort William hotel, there it was.