West Highland Way

93 – Opening of the West Highland Way

October 6, 1980

THE West Highland Way is 96 miles through some of the world’s most beautiful scenery

It shows off our varied wildlife…and takes you past a lot of excellent pubs.

Scotland loves it.

It’s enough to feature on anyone’s bucket list.

It is traditionally walked south to north, to keep the sun out of your eyes. And you wouldn’t want to have your view obscured.

Naming the sights reads like a list of settings for a Scottish romance novel: Crianlarich, The Devil’s Staircase, the King’s House, Rob Roy’s Cave, Bridge of Orchy, Glen Coe and Rowardennan – to name just a few.

Robert Burns
Robert Burns

The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

At the time, its opening met some opposition from walkers who feared that establishing a right of way could threaten their traditional right to roam.

But the walk has gone from strength to strength and attracts around 15,000 whole-route walkers and 80,000 part-route walkers every year.

It has been estimated to generate £3.5 million every year for the Scottish economy and supports almost 200 businesses.

Much of the way follows ancient drovers’ routes Highlanders used to take their cattle and sheep to market. It also uses military roads built to help control the Jacobite clans.

Even some of the wildlife has a place in history – the feral goats you might see are descendants of those left behind following the Clearances.

It is a walk through Scotland today that gives a glimpse of Scotland yesterday.