Not the West Highland Way by Ronald Turnbull offers all the benefits of the West Highland Way trail with some additional tracks which are guaranteed to inspire the explorer within you. This guidebook describes alternative routes above and alongside the West Highland Ways 9 standard stages, with add-on day trips over Ben Lomond or Beinn Dorain for a great expedition of up to 11 days.
This is not to deny that the West Highland Way is one of the finest, if not the finest, of Britain’s long distance paths. How could it not be when it passes through six separate mountain ranges, from the tall cone of Ben Lomond and the crag towers of grim Glen Coe, to the seductive Mamores. It runs from Scotland’s largest city, alongside her longest loch, by way of the biggest and bleakest patch of peaty moorland, to the foot of her highest mountain, yet it is (as it happens) paralleled in its path by the Highlands’ second busiest main road as well as the West Highland Railway.
Although you get to see the beautiful mountainous landscape by following the conventional route, you don’t get to actually explore them. The comfortable gravel path, the well-placed waymarks and cosy bunk-houses: do these really compensate for not going up any of those mountains? Not when above the stony path there rises to the compelling cone of Beinn Dorain, sprinkled at its top with snow.
For those new to the Highlands and the big hills, the West Highland Way is a dream – and a convenient dream, with its signposts and bridges, its hostels and its shops. With its well-made path, its centuries of history, its mountain surroundings, The West Highland Way is the best path in Scotland.
By taking the best of what the standard Way has to offer and adding in all its diversions away from the linear paths, Not the West Highland Way aims to reinforce and get to the heart of what makes the West Highland Way so great.