The old end of the route. Walkers now face an extra mile through Fort William

The old end of the route. Walkers now face an extra mile through Fort William

Scotland’s most popular long-distance trial gains in stature this weekend, with walkers facing a greater challenge.

Footsore hikers on the West Highland Way face going the extra mile as the official end of the route moves from the inauspicious roundabout at Nevis Bridge to a purpose-built finishing point complete with artwork and sculpture.

An official opening of the new terminus takes place on Saturday, with walkers being offered the chance to walk the extra mile to the accompaniment of pipe bands. Organisers of the event say anyone who has walked the West Highland Way is welcome to join the gathering as it makes its way from the unlovely roundabout to Fort William’s West End, the final point of the route which will then be 96 miles (154km).

Walkers are asked to gather at 1pm ready for a 1.30pm start from the Ben Nevis Woollen Mill car park to Gordon Square. There will be a ceilidh and Highland dancing after the official ceremony at 2.05pm.

A sculpture of a resting walker, stone map of the route and benches now adorn the end of the West Highland Way, which starts in a shopping precinct in Milngavie on the northern outskirts of Glasgow and makes its way through some of the western Highlands’ most impressive scenery.

About 85,000 people are estimated to walk the route each year, which officially came into being in 1980.

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