/ West highland way 19-28 May - accommodation

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Heike - on 08 Jan 2018
Hi everyone,
My sister in laws sister from Germany has asked me whether it's necessary to book accommodation ahead for the Westhighland way for the above dates. They just wanted to take it easy and don't commit themselves day by day, so she asked me... To be honest I have no clue as I have my van and also a tent and never book any accommodation in advance...worst case scenario I drive back home ;-). Seeing the popularity of Scotland at the moment do you think they need to book in advance or take a tent as a back up? My gut feeling would be to take a chance and just take a tent as a back-up, but as I say with the recent popularity maybe that is bad advice? Any thoughts welcomed.
Mal Grey - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Heike:

Maybe book the first night, carry a tent as back up, then phone on ahead each evening to the next place?

I suspect that week will be half term, may well therefore be quite busy, especially for those who are trying to avoid the height of the midge season.

PPP - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Heike:

Is she looking for hostels, B&Bs or hotels?

I don't think carrying a tent is necessary - it's really civilised path where you're never that far from the public road. I camped when I did it (took me 3 days), but I learnt that carrying food is completely unnecessary since there's plenty of options for food. Probably wouldn't camp either, if I ever did it again.
Heike - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to PPP:

I think they don't mind whatever, they just don't want to book as they would rather do it without having the pressure to get to a certain point as they have ten days or so.
My gut feeling normally would have been to say, don't bother booking. It's just the last year or two has been so hideously busy, I don't want to tell them the wrong thing.
Cheers for your input!!
tom_in_edinburgh - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Heike:

The problem with the tent is the weight. Some people have a company book all the accommodation and move their luggage from stop to stop so they can just walk with a day pack and it definitely makes it easier and allows for longer stages if you want to do it in fewer days.

There's a few stages with very limited accomodation, if the Kings House is closed then that will also be a problem.

The alternative to booking ahead or carrying a tent is to get accommodation where you can and use the bus at the beginning/end of the stage to get to/from accommodation and maybe doing stages out of sequence or in the reverse direction to make the logistics work.
Mountain Llama on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Heike:
Hi Heike

I did the whw a few years ago in late April. I booked all the places in advance and got my luggage transfered so I could walk with only my usual day hiking gear.

The dates you mention are across the last May Bank holiday so areas where there is limited accommodation may be fully booked.

Hope that helps Davey
Post edited at 20:42
PPP - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Kingshouse now have a bunkhouse which seems to be fairly big. Cafe is open in the new building too.
Heike - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to all:

Ok, cheers, guys. Looks like they should be booking. Thank you as that's not my area of expertise living in Dunblane with a van/ tent and never stopping in hotels / hostels.
Deleted bagger - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Heike:

Mark Collins - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Heike:

I would say as long as they're prepared to use the tent often then they should be ok. We 'walked' it last year around that time of year and found it to be very popular. We also found unrelated events occurring along the way that would totally sell out accommodation in valley bases, such as vintage motor cross based in Kinlochleven and the Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William. We booked all our accommodation in advance. Some of the walk runs along the side of a railway so if you need to bail via public transport to meet your accommodation requirements, this can be an option.
annieman - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Heike:

Yes, book accomodation, especially in Fort William. The N3P groups will be in full swing at that time.

Having fixed accomodation in FW does complicate plans but accomodation is finite.

Walked the WHW in the 90's. I tried to book accomodation, for May, in the January. The solution that I came up with, as I was finding accomodation hard to find, was to guide the route for a company in return for free accomodation, in a B&B, for me and my OH.

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