The West Highland Way celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2020. Officially opened on 6 October 1980, the Way is the most established and best-loved of Scotland’s long distance walking routes, attracting a growing number of UK and overseas visitors.
To submit photos, stories, videos or other material for the 40th anniversary campaign, please visit the 40th anniversary and exhibition page.
15th July 2020
How Businesses found a (West Highland) Way to Adapt During Lockdown
All businesses have had to adapt during lockdown and hospitality and tourism operators along the West Highland Way are looking forward to welcoming back walkers with new products and services.
Gavin’s Mill, Milngavie
Gavin’s Mill, close to the start of the West Highland Way in Milngavie, operates as a Fair Trade and Zero Waste shop as well as a Café. New health and safety measures have been introduced and the Cafe is now operating a ‘Food To Go’ vegan and vegetarian menu for takeaways. Physically distanced seating is located outside on the peaceful riverside terrace and deck areas.
A new Online shop, launched during lockdown, offers a click-and-collect and delivery service with a vast array of products, including Freedom bakery breads and Fair Trade food and gift items.
Julie Kelly, General Manager, says: “We’ve been working hard through lockdown to serve the community via our online shop and to ensure our Fair Trade suppliers are supported through these difficult times too.
Our fund-raising efforts to enable us to buy the Mill for the community have been slowed so we would like to encourage customers and walkers to browse our great products online or sample our new Deli-style Cafe menu and famous home-baking.”
Beech Tree Inn, Dumgoyne
The Beech Tree Inn is located approx. 7.5 miles from the start of the West Highland Way, providing a welcome stop for walkers.
Owner Lynne Alldritt says: “At the start of lockdown we decided to turn our restaurant into a click and collect grocery service. We were inspired to do this as we saw how difficult it was for people to get essentials, especially elderly people in our villages, and how hard it was to get delivery from big supermarkets. We offer same day collection and delivery for those who need it to our surrounding villages.
We are also working hard on transforming the beer garden so that we can have pre-booked customers in for food and drinks, with socially distanced tables and hand sanitising areas. We are following the guidance to make sure we have the place as safe as possible for both our customers and staff. We now have a limited takeaway menu to offer to walkers on the West Highland Way as we miss them too!”
Strathfillan Wigwams, near Tyndrum
Rena Baillie who manages tourism business Strathfillan Wigwams, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, has found several ways to keep busy during lockdown.
Firstly, bedsheets from Kirkton Farmhouse, rented out alongside the Wigwams, were given a new lease of life as gowns for NHS district nurses in Glasgow.
“Our group of five women made 70 gowns of which 18 were made by myself on a 1958 Singer sewing machine. I also started making face masks for locals and relatives with the proceeds going to the Falls of Dochart Care Home in Killin, who do an amazing job.
Fiona from Glenorchy Farm came up with the idea for the flour hub when it became difficult to source from supermarkets. At Strathfillan Wigwams, we were able to source bread flour from our suppliers, which was sold in the porch at the Artisan Cafe with an honesty box so that there was no contact between buyers. This supply of flour got lots of locals (adults and children) baking bread and cakes during lockdown.”
The Granite House, Fort William
The Granite House is a family-run gift shop on Fort William High Street, just a few metres from the iconic end of The West Highland Way.
Owner Alistair Ness says: “We decided to offer a free local delivery service during lockdown offering thousands of products, including jigsaws, Lego and craft related goodies to keep the kids and big kids busy.
This service, organised by sisters Katherine and Gillian, proved to be very popular and kept us busy despite the sharp drop in visitors to the Highlands. Gillian became a familiar figure on her electric bike, delivering birthday presents around Fort William.
Our lovely loyal locals have supported us during lockdown. However, we’re looking forward to the return of walkers on the West Highland Way and climbers on Ben Nevis as soon as possible!”
The West Highland Way, Scotland’s much loved long distance route from Milngavie to Fort William, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in October this year backed by funding from the LEADER programme.
The West Highland Way project is funded by the LEADER programmes of Forth Valley and Lomond, Argyll and the Islands, and Highland. LEADER is funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Scottish Government.
The West Highland Way (WHW) is managed by the Highland, Stirling, Argyll & Bute and East Dunbartonshire Councils plus Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, which is the group’s lead body.
A special edition of the West Highland Way official passport has been produced to celebrate 40 years of this magnificent long distance route. You can buy your passport from selected retailers or online.
Coming soon – A limited edition range of merchandise will also be available from selected retailers.
40th Anniversary Memories
We are asking people for their memories and photos of the West Highland Way over the last 40 years so that we can collate an archive and create a short legacy film.
To submit photos, stories, videos or other material for the 40th anniversary campaign, please visit the 40th anniversary and exhibition page and look out for more information on social media.