Scotland’s original long-distance walking trail, the West Highland Way, has received prestigious recognition as one of the world’s best treks. The famous and highly acclaimed National Geographic magazine recently included the 96 route, heading from central Scotland to the Highlands, in its “holy grail of trails” list. This included only 20 epic trails.

The WHW is hugely popular and attracts more than 85,000 walkers annually to hike from Milngavie, on the northern outskirts of the city of Glasgow, to Fort William.

Most people take on average five to seven days to walk the route, which heads through astounding landscape taking in scenes of Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe, although the fastest record is less than 17 hours, completed by runners in the annual West Highland Way Race.

If you have ever walked this route, or even part of it, you’ll understand why it can easily be claimed as one of the “holy grails of trails” in the world.

When choosing the top 20 list, American writer Doug Schnitzspahn was looking for great hikes that revealed more than an “essence of a place” and allowed people to “travel deeper into a location’s history and culture”.

The West Highland Way, Schnitzspahn explains, “cuts through the Highlands that kept out the Romans in ancient times and have helped the Scots retain their national character throughout history.

“The trail can feel big and windswept at times, taking in the rocky peaks and rolling grasses of Glen Coe and climbing the Devil’s Staircase path on the Aonach Eagach ridge. But the route also takes in more subtle beauty, including the bogs of Rannoch Moor and the shores of bucolic Loch Lomond.”

Other global trails to be included in National Geographic’s list include the Great Himalaya Trek, Cinque Terre in Italy, the International Appalachian Trail in North America and the Yoshida Trail in Japan.

To find out more about walking the West Highland Way check out the web link. 

Are there any great hikes you would have included in the list?