John Muir Way - West Section

John Muir Way - West Section

A self-guided walking holiday from Helensburgh to Edinburgh through the beautiful Lomond Hills.

8 to 9 nights
94 miles
Moderate / Demanding

From £885 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

From Helensburgh to Scotland’s capital of Edinburgh, the west section of the John Muir Way follows coffin roads, canal paths, dismantled railways and a stretch of the West Highland Way through flourishing countryside, omitting the coastal stretch at the eastern end of the trail.

This half of the route enjoys staggering views across Loch Lomond and some of the wildest parts of the John Muir Way as it passes Lennoxtown and Kirkintilloch. The 14th century Callendar Park and House lie on the route, too, and the broad Union Canal leads the way into Edinburgh, a grand city full of history, architecture and all kinds of shops, museums and theatres.

© Contours Walking Holidays John Muir Way - West Section map
Helensburgh to Edinburgh
94 miles (150 km)
26th March to 29th October

Holiday highlights

Stopping for a sip of whisky at Glengoyne Distillery, where the distilling process takes longer than anywhere else in Scotland.

Walking along dismantled railways through what feels like deep, desolate wilderness as the route departs the foot of Campsie Fells.

Gazing up at the Falkirk Wheel, the only rotating boat lift in the world.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
JMWW1 From Helensburgh to Edinburgh 8 nights, 7 days walking Moderate / Demanding£885
JMWW2 From Helensburgh to Edinburgh 9 nights, 8 days walking Moderate / Demanding£1000

John Muir Way - West Section 8 nights, 7 days walking

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Route profile
  • Travel info
  • Weather

Travel to Helensburgh where your first night's accommodation has been booked

Day 1

Helensburgh to Balloch. 9 miles (14.5km)

Day 2

Balloch to Strathblane. 18.5 miles (29.5km)

Day 3

Strathblane to Kilsyth(L). 13.5 miles (21.5km)

Day 4

Kilsyth(L) to Falkirk. 13 miles (21km)

Day 5

Falkirk to Linlithgow. 9.5 miles (15km)

Day 6

Linlithgow to South Queensferry. 14.5 miles (23.5km)

Day 7

South Queensferry to Edinburgh. 15.5 miles (24.5km)


Depart from Edinburgh after breakfast

Your Itinerary

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.

Overnight stops marked with an (L) have very limited accommodation, and therefore more often than not will also require a transfer, particularly on bank holidays and weekends. We will use non-transfer accommodation wherever possible.

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Dog-friendly tours are subject to a Daily Dog Charge, which will be listed below if applicable. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

A note about transfers
Solo Traveller Supplement
£45.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£40.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£60.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Edinburgh)
£80.00 per person / per night
Extra night (South Queensferry)
£65.00 per person / per night

What's included?

  • 8 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

With beautiful views from its placement on the Clyde, Helensburgh plays host to Hill House, designed by the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the fragrant Geilston Garden. A rest day here adds a day at the seaside to your walk, while one at Falkirk offers excellent sites to explore, including a French chateau set in Scottish countryside at Callendar House and fantastic architecture in the town itself.

Edinburgh, meanwhile, is a capital city like no other, offering a vast amount to see and do. Walk between the stone townhouses in the World Heritage Site of Old Town and New Town; visit Edinburgh Castle, perched atop the remains of an extinct volcano; or take in the incredible city skyline from Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park: you won't yet have touched the countless further museums, galleries, theatres and landmarks that Edinburgh offers.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£60.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Edinburgh)
£80.00 per person / per night
Extra night (South Queensferry)
£65.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 93.5 miles (149.5 km)
Duration: 8 nights, 7 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 9 miles (14.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 18.5 miles (29.5 km)
Code: JMWW1 Grade: Moderate / Demanding
Season: 26th March - 29th October
Start of holiday: Helensburgh
End of holiday: Edinburgh

Route Profile

John Muir Way - West Section Route Profile

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air - The most convenient major city and international airports are Edinburgh, Glasgow and Glasgow Prestwick.

By Rail - There is a choice of rail stations at the start of the trail (Helensburgh). Helensburgh Central or Helensburgh Upper - the most convenient will depend upon the location of your accommodation. There is a choice of rail stations at the end of the trail (Edinburgh). The nearest station to Edinburgh city centre is at Edinburgh Waverley.

By Bus - Various bus services run to Helensburgh and from Edinburgh.

From London - Trains run from London Kings Cross & Euston stations to Helensburgh Central.

Return To The Start - The easiest way to return to the start of the trail, is to take the train from Edinburgh to Helensburgh.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.

Routes on this trail

John Muir Way
11 to 13 nights
135 miles
Moderate / Demanding+
From £1,200 per person
Cross through the stunning scenery of the Scottish heartland from Helensburgh to Dunbar.Find Out More
John Muir Way - East Section
4 to 5 nights
42 miles
From £440 per person
A self-guided walk from the city of Edinburgh to Dunbar along the unspoilt Scottish coastline.Find Out More