A gentle walk through countryside before climbing Conic Hill and ending on the shores of Loch Lomond
After setting off from Milngavie today’s route passes through the ancient earldom of Lennox between the Campsie Fells and Blane Water. You follow a series of good paths through beautiful rural scenery to the outskirts of the small village of Drymen. A recommended stop is the Glengoyne Distillery, where you can take a tour and enjoy a wee dram to send you on your way. Enroute to Drymen is the Beech Tree Inn, which has a lovely garden and serves great food.
Passing Drymen the route begins to climb towards 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.
If you wish to visit Glengoyne Distillery today it would be advisable to pre-book a distillery tour on their website. There are several options, but we would recommend the 1 hour Wee Tasting Tour which allows you to sample their 12 year old and 18 year old malt.
Today’s walk is gentle but it is your first day so we would advise you to take your time and take it easy. There are a couple of short sections where you will need to walk along and cross roads. The roads are generally quiet but, due to this, drivers in the Scottish countryside can often drive fast, so please take care.
The majority of the signposts do not state "West Highland Way" but are instead stamped with the thistle logo to let you know you are on the right path.
If you are taking advantage of the chance to visit Glengoyne Distillery, please be aware when crossing the road to reach the distillery. The road is long and quiet with clear views in either direction, but it does have a speed limit of 60mph.
There are several tastings and tour options available but remember to watch your whisky consumption at Glengoyne Distillery, as you still have 15 miles to go!
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 sticks it would be wise to bring them today.
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:
Noted on the interactive map are a few notable points of interest. Click the icons on the map for more information.
Before leaving Milngavie:
There are cash machines in Drymen but you will not get an opportunity again until Crianlarich or Tyndrum so it is a good idea to pick up some cash.
If you wish a certificate to commemorate your West Highland Way achievements, then purchase a log book (£2.50) at the Iron Chef. To receive your certificate the logbook needs to be stamped along the Way.
Be sure to stop by Boots Chemist to buy any forgotten any toiletries or midge repellent.
Where to eat in Milngavie:
There are several places to head to for dinner in the centre of Milngave, here are some of our suggestions.
The Burnbrae Bar and Restaurant - Right next to Bearsden Premier Inn and 600m from Milngavie Premier Inn is The Burnbrae Bar and Restaurant serving good standard pub grub.
Fantoosh Nook - The centrally located Fantoosh Nook serves traditional Scottish fish dishes.
Jessie Biscuit Café – Stop for morning coffee or lunch at Jessie Biscuit. An excellent selection of cakes you can devour guilt-free as you will shortly be burning off the calories walking along the trail.
Balmaha is a bustling little village and makes an excellent place to stop on your way to Rowardennan or as an overnight. In the village shop you can usually pick up forgotten items, just be aware they will be a little more expensive than Milngavie. There is also an ATM in the shop if you require cash, please note the ATM charges £1.55 per use.
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 okay. If you sometimes use walking sticks it would be wise to bring them today for the decent 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.