The West Scotland Trail / About

00. West Scotland Trail. Complete Route. From Cona Glen northwards the route follows the Cape Wrath Trail except for 2 days each side of Loch Ailish.

A. Toward Lighthouse. The start of the West Scotland Trail

The “West Scotland Trail” is not an official trail but just something I made up. I hoped it would showcase the best the West of Scotland has to offer. Starting at Toward lighthouse in the south the route is almost immediately into the Highlands although the mountains of Cowal are gentle compared to those just a few days further north. It is a gentle introduction.  The route is quite coastal initially and heads across from the head of one loch to the next, usually on paths but occasionally off piste until it reaches Ballachulish by Glencoe at the end of the first section. 

B. Coming down to Loch Fyne near Ardkinglas on Day 3

C. A Highland cow with its new calf in Glen Strae north of Dalmally

The second section follows the Cape Wrath Trail (CWT) once this “West Scotland Trail” crosses the Corran Ferry and meets the CWT for the spectacular section through Knoydart and Kintail, which is arguably the best part of the CWT with high rugged mountains and stunning remote sea lochs. Much of this section passes a series of bothies which make for convivial evenings, often in the company of other CWT walkers.The second section continues to the northern limits on Kintail where we cross into the start of the third section and Torridon. 

D. The campsite at Coire Mhic Fhearchair on the north side of Beinn Eighe

E. A red grouse in Fisherfield near Shenevall bothy

K. Changeable weather in Fisherfield with An Teallach in the background

The “West Scotland Trail” now leaves the CWT and goes between the giants og Liathach and Beinn Eighe for a spectacular camp in the magnificent and spectacular Coire Mhic Fhearchair. After this it descends to Kinlochewe to meet the CWT again at the small hospitable village with shops and cafes. After Kinlochewe the route heads along the east side of Loch Maree before heading north along the base of the impressive Slioch mountain before it rejoins the CWT and heads deep into Fisherfield and Shenavall bothy. From here it is a super day past An Teallach mountain and over a couple of ridges to reach Loch Broom at Inverlael to end the third section. 

F. Looking south west back to AnTeallach mountain in Fisherfield

G. Climbing up over the Moine Thrust between Glencoul bothy (pictured) and Glendhu bothy

For the fourth section The “West Scotland Trail” follows the CWT all the way to the end but takes the remote variation to the east of Ben More Assynt after Strath Oykle. It means missing out in Inchnadamph but being rewarded with spectacular scenery and the comfortable quiet lochside bothies of either GlenCoul and Glendhu. The route between these two bothies goes over the Moine Thrust, a geological superstar. From the bothies the routh heads north across remote “cnoc and lochan” landscape associated with the near 4 billion year old Lewisian Gneiss topography before reaching the sea again near Kinlochbervie. After Kinlochbervie the route follows the CWT past magnificent sandy beaches for the final stretch across the Parph wilderness high above the wild Atlantic Ocean to Cape Wrath and the end of the walk. The end if the minibus is running off course. Otherwise it is a night at the superbly located Kervaig bothy and then a walk to the Kyle of Durness and the road. 

H. The wild Sandwood bay with its famous sea stack and peach coloured sand north of Kinlochbervie

I. Strathchailleach Bothy is a cosy bothy due to a large peatbank nearby for fuel. It is the last night before Cape Wrath

Perhaps the best time to do this walk is the last week in April and the first 3 in May. The west of Scotland is often blessed with good weather and the midges have not yet hatched. Although there are many bothies, a couple of bunkhouses and a few hotels one must reckon on camping for about half the time, especially if the bothies are full or noisy. A ultra light tent will be at the mercy of any late seasonal storms if any come through. There are plenty of places to send resupply boxes to with 4-6 days of food and some surreptitious fuel. It makes for a more fluent and undisturbed journey if all the provisions are organised in advance although it does need some more dedicated planning. 

J. Dramatic seascape near Kervaig bothy which has a magnigicent beach also

My intended plan can be seen here and the boxes with the green fill are resupply points. One column shows either a tent or bothy or hotel for each night. There are links to strava routes which I created for myself and from these it should be possible to create and download a GPX if needed.


As I go I will write a blog and post it under the blog section but I have previously walked this route in 2011 and have changed that slightly for 2024. The report for the walk I did in 2011 is here. I also walked the Cape Wrath Trail in 2018 with some small off piste sections and the report for that walk is here. The latter report includes a more detailed route map and some image galleries.