The West Highland Way - Stage One (Milngavie to Balmaha)

This walk is part of the trek The West Highland Way in Five Days.

The West Highland Way is the most established of Scotland’s long distance walking routes. This is the first of a five stage route, staying at prebooked accomodation along the way.

Technical sheet
No. 15367072
A East Dunbartonshire walk posted on 29/09/21 by El Sud. Update : 01/06/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 10h10[?]
Distance Distance : 30.75km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 488m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 517m
Highest point Highest point : 317m
Lowest point Lowest point : 14m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Area Area : Loch Lomond and The Trossachs
Location Location : East Dunbartonshire
Starting point Starting point : N 55.941419° / W 4.314741°
Ending point Ending point : N 56.08443° / W 4.540984°
Download : -

Description

(D) Having arrived in Milngavie, leave Milngavie train station onto the B8030, cross over at the lights opposite St Joseph's Church and turn left along the pavement. Go through the carpark and past the bank to reach Douglas Street.

(1) Turn left (South_West), and go over Fantoosh Fish road and down to the start of the West Highland Way. The sign posts are fairly clear but just ask if you can't find the place.

(2) Turn left onto Ellangowan Road, heading North and follow the path under Allander Road. Continue along this path North in the trees. It eventually goes close to the river (Allander Water) near a footbridge on your left-hand side. Carry on along the river on the East bank until it crosses a stream.

(3) Our route bears right (North-North-East), away from the river, through Allander Park.

(4) Upon reaching a dirt track, bear left, into a wood that hugs the river, over a stream and into Mugdock Wood. The path finally crosses the Broadmeadow Road near Craigallian Bridge.

(5) Turn left then right where large rocks block the path to motor vehicles. The path stays with the river left as it passes behind Lower Graigallian, skirts around Scroggy Hill and then leaves the river to go around the western shore of Graigallian Loch.

(6) Take the right-hand fork near Carbeth to cross the footbridge near Carbeth Loch. The path then reaches the B821. Turn left (West) along the road (Ballachalairy Yett) to go past Easter Carbeth farm.

(7) Then turn right (North) through a metal swing gate onto a dirt track heading North. Our route takes us past the Dumgoyach Standing Stones and across Blane Water where we turn left along a track that comes out at Dumgoyne farm, just next to the Beech Tree Inn, on the A81.

(8) Carry straight across the road (A81) and continue on this disused railway track. The route goes past some old sewage works and then past Laighparks Garden Centre.

(9) Cross over a road (Station Road) and keep heading along the West Highland Way North to cross the A81.

(10) At the Gartness road, turn left (West) to cross a bridge over Endrick Water and follow this quiet road past Easter Drumquhassle Farm and Camping Site and past a Roman Fort.

(11) At a sharp lefthand bend in the road, take a path off to the right (North) to reach the A811.

(12) Turn right (East), heading away from Drymen on the Old Military Road for a short while. At Blarnavaid take the track off to the left, heading North into High Wood.

(13) The route crosses a minor road and heads through Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and the Garadhban Forest. The route weaves it's way through Garadh Ban Wood coming out onto the open hillside to cross Burn of Mar river.

(14) From here, the climb is quite pronounced to reach the top of Conic Hill with some spectacular views all around but especially over Loch Lomond.

(15) Keep on a South-West heading to come off the top, bearing left to go through Bealach Ard then right again to go back into the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. The route comes out into a carpark and goes past the Balmaha Visitor Centre and then out onto the B837 to enter the village of Balmaha(A)

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 51m - Milngavie Station
1 : km 0.16 - alt. 54m - Milngavie WHW Start
2 : km 0.41 - alt. 56m - Ellangowan Road
3 : km 1.39 - alt. 61m - Stream
4 : km 2.71 - alt. 89m - Allander Park
5 : km 3.68 - alt. 110m - Craigallian Bridge
6 : km 5.82 - alt. 132m - Carbeth
7 : km 7.02 - alt. 133m - Easter Carbeth farm
8 : km 11.7 - alt. 28m - Dumgoyne farm
9 : km 14.06 - alt. 32m - Station Road
10 : km 15.76 - alt. 40m - Gartness road
11 : km 19.28 - alt. 51m - Sharp bend
12 : km 19.62 - alt. 65m - Drymen
13 : km 22.08 - alt. 170m - High Wood
14 : km 27.01 - alt. 152m - Burn of Mar
15 : km 28.71 - alt. 312m - Conic Hill
A : km 30.75 - alt. 14m - Balmaha

Useful Information

This route begins in Milngavie, at the train station, and the journey by train from Glasgow is only 23mins. The walking is fairly easy, but it is a long day, so check the light hours to ensure you reach Balmaha. Drymen is an alternative if the days are short. If the weather is wet and cold, make sure you have the right gear. It's a good idea to sort out your accomodation and book well in advance.

The West Highland Way is the most established of Scotland’s long distance walking routes. Officially opened on 6th October 1980, it celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2020. The WHW stretches 96 miles (154 Km) from Milngavie to Fort William, taking in a huge variety of scenery along the way, from countryside parks to loch-shores and open moorlands to steep mountains.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

There's plenty to see along the way. If you get to Balmaha in good time, check out the Oak Tree Inn and the St. Mocha Coffe Shop. Turn left along the B837 to reach Birchwood Guest Lodge in half a mile. Enjoy the route and look out for wildlife along the way. Don't rush, just enjoy the journey and make the most of the moment.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.