The Oak Tree Inn is on the famous and much loved West Highland Way. This is the long distance, 96 mile walk from Milngavie (just outside of Glasgow) to Fort William.
Balmaha is 20 miles into the walk and an ideal stopping point if you’re planning to complete the walk in 5 days. If so this will be at the end of your first days walk. You will certainly have earned a good Scottish beer or Gin & Tonic in our bar!
If you are aiming to compete the walk in 7 days you will probably be leaving Drymen in the morning after an overnight stop there. You will be in Balmaha for lunchtime, with hopefully an overnight stop booked to allow you the chance to explore the beautiful area. We mention this as a lot of our guests who are doing the walk say that they wish they’d allowed more time to enjoy Balmaha. Many walkers visit us again to spend more time in the village, inspired by the Balmaha part of their West Highland Way experience.
Back to the walk itself and let’s pick up the section from Drymen to Balmaha. This is just under 8 miles and one of the most enjoyable sections of the long distance walk. Once clearing the forest that is just after Drymen there are the first views on the walk of Loch Lomond. These views are present almost continuously as you head towards Balmaha.
Before arriving in the village you will need to first climb and then descend Conic Hill. A pretty steep climb is rewarded with some incredible views of Loch Lomond and its islands, as well as Ben Lomond. As you descend Conic Hill you may suddenly see an increase in the number of people present. This is because Conic Hill is a very popular walk from Balmaha especially at weekends.
As you make your way down the hill you will head into the forest, that leads to the village car park. In the car park is the National Park Visitor Centre, this is a great place to find information about the special geology, wildlife and nature that can be found in this part of Loch Lomond.
Once you walk through the car park you will find the Oak Tree Inn straight ahead of you. We have St Mocha Coffee Shop and Ice Cream Parlour, Village Shop and of course our Bar and Restaurant to tempt you to a well deserved refreshment. If you’re booked to stay with us you can check in at our reception. Accommodation is both above the inn and in cottages located on-site. All of our rooms are B&B and we serve a hot and cold buffet breakfast to set you up for walking the next stage.
Just a mention for our Village Shop (pictured above), as this will be the last one until Tyndrum! There is every chance that we will have the very item that you are looking for. We have thoughtfully stocked the shop with items such as blister plasters, smidge (midge/insect repellent), walking poles, micro fibre towels, ponchos, maps, energy drinks, snacks, paracetamol etc. just in case you need them. There is also a cash machine, again the last until Tyndrum.
If you have time in Balmaha we would highly recommend a trip over to nearby Inchcailloch Island, one of the highlights of any Loch Lomond visit. You could maybe just enjoy a chance to chill out and enjoy some good Scottish food and drink in The Oak Tree or St Mocha.
When it is time to leave Balmaha you can rejoin the walk, getting more good views at Craigie Fort. The route then walks along the side of the loch, towards Rowardennan.
If you haven’t already do check out the website for the West Highland Way, it is a very useful planning resource. We work with all of the businesses that transport bags onto the next overnight stop. This is one of the reasons why the West Highland Way continues to grow its popularity each year.
We really hope that you enjoy your visit to Balmaha on a West Highland Way adventure.