Milngavie resident Patrick Stevenson is the owner of The Highland Way, a local business which offers walking and cycling holidays tailored to all ages and abilities along Scotland’s West Highland Way. Their packages are designed to allow you to enjoy everything it has on offer, without worrying about where you will stay, which route you will take or how you will manage with heavy baggage. They can meet with walkers & bikers in Milngavie, at the start and make sure they are well prepared and have all the relevant information required to enjoy the walk.
Milngavie Online recently caught up with Patrick for an interview:
Q1. Pat, tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to opening your business in Milngavie.
I was born in Milngavie and first walked The West Highland Way in 1982. I have always been passionate about walking and climbing. There was no local business offering a complete package including accommodation and baggage transfers from Milngavie to Fort William, I felt there was an opportunity to provide a local service based on 30 years of working and enjoying The West Highland Way.
Q2. Tell us about your business The Highland Way and what you offer
The Highland Way ltd is a small local company with an in-depth knowledge of the WHW. We offer an experience which is tailor made for each individual person who wishes to walk/cycle on the WHW.
All year round either part or all 96miles of the way.
Q3. How difficult is it co-coordinating the pickup & delivery of baggage from different people at different locations along the Way?
Co-ordinating baggage is straightforward we work with Travel-lite another local company, with years of experience moving bags along the way.
Q4. What countries do most of your customers come from?
Most walkers are from the UK, Holland, Germany and Belgium are also huge fans of the walk there are also walkers who come from Australia, America in fact the West Highland Way has a world wide following.
Q5. Have you met any interesting customers over the years – who stands out?
On the WHW you will meet all sorts of interesting and different types of people for me the charity walkers are the most fun, over the years the WHW must have raised huge amounts for many good causes in 2010 I was lucky enough to be part of a group which raised over £17k.
Q6. What percentage of you customers actually complete the entire 95 miles of the West Highland Way? What advice do you have for people consider walking it?
Almost all who set off to walk the whole way complete it. Some do it in stages at different times, which ever way you chose to travel my advice would be to plan well in advance, book accommodation early, walk a daily distance which suits your ability, make sure your foot wear is well broken in and don’t carry your bags.
Q7. What’s your favorite part of the West Highland Way, and why?
There is not a section of the way which dose not have something special about it. However my favorite is the section between The Bridge Of Orchy and Glencoe most of the walk is on the old military road and takes you over Rannoch moor the scenery is stunning and you are in one of the most remote parts of the WHW, no trip is complete without a visit to the Kings House Hotel at the foot of The Buachaille Etive Mor
Q8. When are the busy times of year for your business?
The busy times are from May to September, however the WHW is open all year round and with the right planning and basic equipment you will have a fantastic adventure at any time of the year.
Q9. Describe your typical day with The Highland Way
A typical day would be an early rise followed by a Scottish breakfast to start your day then get your boots on and head north take lots of pics and keep an eye out for the varied wild life, perhaps sample one of our many traditional pubs for lunch, then continue on your way towards your chosen destination for the night, where you will be greeted with a hearty meal and a comfy bed where you can rest your weary feet in preparation for the next day.
Q10. Do you get many customers during the winter?
Not as many as we would like, winter on the WHW can be spectacular and it is also quieter and so easier to get the right accommodation. The days are also shorter which has to be taken into consideration.
Q11. What are some of the problem/risks with running your business?
We have to manage peoples high expectations which in the busy summer period can be difficult as there is not always enough quality accommodation.
Q12. What would you do to help local businesses?
We are working with the local council and with Milngavie traders with our aim being to try and promote the town centre as a place to stay before setting off on your adventure.
Q13. How much do you enjoy owning your business and why?
Owning my own business is challenging and very enjoyable. I get to walk on the WHW almost every day and have contact with people from all over the world and from all walks of life.
Q15. What are your plans for 2013?
We have very ambitious plans for 2013/2014. We hope to have a new town centre bunkhouse opening offering quality accommodation, at a price which will attract more visitors to Milngavie town centre, as well as expanding our accommodation service to a wider public.
Q16. In closing, is there anything you would like to say to the people of Milngavie?
Milngavie is a super place to live and work we are very happy to be here and will work hard to encourage more visitors to the area.
Thanks Pat. If you want to find out more about Pat and his business then you can visit his website, Twitter & Facebook page: