The West Highland Way itself is a trail, and was the first officially designated long distance footpath in Scotland. The trail was approved for development in 1974 and was completed and opened on October 6, 1980 by Lord Mansfield.
The path uses many ancient roads, including Drovers’ roads, military roads and old coaching roads and is traditionally walked from south to north. The route is traditionally walked in seven to eight days, although fitter and more experienced walkers do it in five or six. The route can be covered in considerably less time than this, as you will read below.
The WHW Race itself began in 1991 and usually takes place in the middle of June. It begins at Milngavie Railway Station (7miles north of Glasgow) and the competitors must reach Fort William Leisure Centre in less than 35 hours, covering 153km (95 miles) and 4499m (14760ft) of ascent. Along the way competitors must pass through checkpoints, all within time limits:
- Milngavie Railway Station – Start
- Rowardennan Visitor Centre – CP1
- Auchentyre Farm – CP2
- Bridge of Orchy – CP3
- Kinghouse – CP4
- Kinlochleven – CP5
- Lundavra – CP6
- Fort William – Finish
The last stage passes the foot of Ben Nevis and it’s not unheard of for some to crown their achievement by also climbing the UK’s highest mountain. In order to participate you must have your own motorised backup, consisting of at least two people, one of which must be capable of covering the last two sections with you (or find you) if assistance is required or during the hours of darkness. You must also have completed an off -road ultra longer than 65k. The race is always full, entries for 2013 will go out in August 2012 and will be filled to limit in 6-7 Days, so get your extry in straight away.
Thank you, and in memory of Dario for the kind permission to use West Highland Way website extracts and photographs.
Note the month, opposite (When), and then find the date for this ultramarathon event in our ultramarathon calendar.