5. The Care-Package
A few items to help look after yourself. Food and drink, amazingly often forgotten by some folk! Snacks, sandwiches, treats – you’re going to need them as there are some long days on the West Highland Way.
Bring cold drinks be they water or juice. A flask of a hot beverage on a bad weather day can make a huge difference to how you feel and your performance, don’t underestimate! Food and fluids are VITAL FUEL! Carry your own personal medicines and first aid kit. If you are travelling with a guide they will have a first aid kit but knowing how to manage small first aid concerns is an important skill.
Take some sunscreen, insect repellent and maybe sunglasses too (if you spend days unprotected and/or squinting into the life-supporting ‘miracle orb’ you’ll finish the trip etched and looking ten years older!)
Ready to roll?
Well…. No! The above is pretty much the absolute minimum. You will, of course, require more ‘stuff’. Here is my list of ‘useful’ items which you’ll want to bring as well.
- Walking poles can make a massive difference, they act as a support for balance and take a lot of strain off your knees. Learn how to use them here.
- Comfortable footwear and clothing for changing into at your accommodation.
- A wash kit bearing the essentials, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and shampoo.
- Electronic devices: camera, tablet, laptop, phone, hair straighteners? Or anything similar might need a charger and/or spare batteries with it too (though I, Luddite-like, recommend leaving that all behind anyway apart from your camera and phone).
- Binoculars or a monocular are great for wildlife spotting and watching.
- Take and know how to use a map and compass if you are self guided, though having your own map and following even with a guide is really useful and navigation is a top skill in the outdoors.
- Carry a whistle and make sure you know the emergency signal using: 6 blasts followed by 1 minute interval then further 6 blasts, interval, blasts… Repeat continuously.
- I also recommend carrying a head torch in case we finish late… or if you go for a late stroll to gaze at the stars!
The essentials I would carry. Top L – R Spare windproof top, waterproof breathable overtrousers and jacket. Middle- gloves hats and gaiters. First aid kit, lunch, water bottle and flask. Bottom – walking poles, camera, monocular, sunscreen, insect repellent, map compass and whistle.
This is by no means a definitive list for what to bring on the West Highland Way. I’ll be carrying lots of items not listed here, your guide will carry extra emergency items like a group shelter, a GPS device and a comprehensive first aid kit. Pack a luxury or two in your main baggage, but don’t overload your day walking pack!
I hope this list will help to assist you when the time comes to pack for your trip and that by following some if not all of these top tips you will remain relatively comfortable whilst walking our guided West Highland Way or self-guided West Highland Way with Wilderness Scotland. So pack your bags and come with us through some of Scotland’s iconic and inspiring scenery… see you on the hill!
Now that you have what to bring on the West Highland Way covered, you can worry about what to eat along the way! No need to fret however as we’ve gathered all of the best places to grab a bite in our Interactive Foodie Guide to the West Highland Way.
Fancy Walking the West Highland Way?
It’s consistently listed in the top 10 walks in the world, on many traveller’s bucket lists and all because it’s got such iconic splendour along the way. You’ve got Loch Lomond, the 300yr old Drover’s Inn, Rannoch Moor, the 3 Sisters of Glencoe and Ben Nevis packed into this incredible route.