Day 1: Milngavie to Drymen (14.21 miles hiked)
When our family was invited to thru hike the West Highland Way (WHW), a 96-mile trail in Scotland with one of our favorite families in all the land, we jumped at the chance! We had spent the last two summers taking backpacking adventures together and the Laursen kids are like an extension of our own kids, so there was no doubt in our minds that we were setting ourselves up for another successful adventure! We met in Milngavie (pronounced “mull-guy”) the morning of June 27 and were eager to start our 8-day trek of the trail!
After a restless night sleep with excited anticipation of the day ahead, we woke up to a full Scottish breakfast (Aidan was the bravest among us, eating both black pudding and haggis!). We met the Laursen’s at the trailhead at 9 a.m., took our obligatory trailhead picture and we were off into the wilds of Scotland! “Wild” is a relative term as the day started in public park but it was lush, wooded and nice terrain to get started. In true Scottish fashion it was raining but not hard enough to drive us completely nuts, thankfully.
Spirits were high but as we approached the Glengoyne Distillery which was practically on the trail, the adults picked up the pace! The tour included a dram of scotch, the perfect warm up for a chilly, wet day.
After the tour we hiked a short distance to something the kids were more excited about this time–a restaurant that served fried Mars bars with ice cream (apparently this is a Scottish “thing”). The kids loved the extra boost of sugar and calories!
As the afternoon wore on, we were eager to get to our first town stop for the night. You see, the WHW is fairly unique in that it passes through many towns, strategically placed to tempt walkers with a cozy B&B vs. camping for the night (although there are places to camp too). We, however, opted for the deluxe glamping for this trip, and with Scotland’s rainy climate and midges (more on those later), I wouldn’t do it any other way.
The last few miles into town were via country roads which are much harder on tired feet than true trails, so we were ready to be there already. Finally, we arrived in Tyndrum and found our inn, The Hawthorne. It was quaint, homey and the hosts were incredibly accommodating, including free use of the washer and dryer! Yep, one day on the trail and we were already spoiled with clean clothes for day 2!