Walk through pine forest, and enjoy the views from the summit of Conic Hill before following the West Highland Way along the shores of Loch Lomond to reach Rowardennan.
Leave Drymen and walk through a forest plantation before the ascent of Conic Hill, which sits astride the Great Divide separating the highlands and lowlands of Scotland. The climb is fairly steep but on reaching the summit you can enjoy fantastic views over Loch Lomond, Britain’s largest body of fresh water covering 27 square miles. You will descend a steep path towards Balmaha, a small village nestling in a protected bay on the shores of bonnie Loch Lomond.
From Balmaha the path alternates between the loch shore, natural forest, and headlands. There are numerous short steep climbs along this section of the route. The scenery, forest, and birdlife between Balmaha and Rowardennan are outstanding.
Take your time coming down Conic hill as it is quite steep and can be busy with walkers coming in the opposite direction. Coming down hills can often be harder on your knees than going up them, if you sometimes use walking poles it would be wise to bring them today.
At a few points the path joins or crosses the road which can be busy. Please be careful if stepping out or taking photos when close to the road.
If you wish to carry a hardcopy map, we would recommend buying the West Highland Way map from Footprints. Alternatively, you may wish to print the daily maps directly from our app.
If you wish to bring a guidebook, we would recommend Trailblazer's West Highland Way: Milngavie to Fort William by Charlie Loram.
Macs Adventure Blogs
Using our decades of experience we have written several blogs containing helpful tips, daily wildlife information, lunch stops, where to eat, FAQ and more. Please follow the link below to read our West Highland Way insights:
Sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required. The weather can change quickly so be sure to take all equipment even if the weather looks OK. If you sometimes use walking poles it would be wise to bring them today for the descent of Conic Hill.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it would be beneficial to bring a power bank.
Please see the interactive map for notable points of interest. Click the icons on the map for more information.
Balmaha is a bustling little village and makes an excellent place to stop on your way to Rowardennan or as an overnight halt. In the village shop you can usually pick up forgotten items, just be aware they will be a little more expensive than in Milngavie. There is also an ATM in the shop if you require cash, please note the ATM charges per use.