In June 2022, my wife and I will be hiking a portion of the West Highland Way, finishing in Fort William on Wednesday evening and staying over that night. We are flying home (likely from Glasgow, though it could be Edinburgh) on Saturday. So, we have time from Thursday morning until we fly back, and we are considering options. We have been to Scotland before and are thinking likely that we'll take the train from Fort William to Edinburgh and stay 2 nights there, and then get up Saturday morning early to get to the airport in Glasgow or Edinburgh. I realize this is not much time and we don't have a car (though I'm not opposed to getting one if I don't have to drive in a bigger city). With these constraints in mind, any recommendations or thoughts on ways to spend this time?
I would spend the time in either Edinburgh or Glasgow depending on which city you end up flying out of. There's plenty in Glasgow to explore for a couple of days.
You don’t say if you have spent time in either of those cities in your past travels and there is lots to see in either for 2 days. If you haven’t been to either, I would just spend the days in whichever you fly from. Once you decide that, people can help with specific suggestions.
Well, if you’ve finished the West Highland Way, it’s something of a tradition, if time and conditions allow, to finish the whole thing off by scaling Ben Nevis, which would take a whole day. The path starts not far from where the WHW leaves Glen Nevis for Fort William, either via the path past the pub at Achintee or the path across the glen from the Youth Hostel. So no public transport required, just more boot sole! That would be the ‘tourist path’ (most paths designated ‘tourist’ in Scotland are inaptly named and this one is no exception but it is easy to follow).
The trains and buses away from Fort William towards Glasgow are infrequent and need both careful planning and pre booking to guarantee a seat. The ‘Skyebus’ to Glasgow goes right into the city centre and you could connect to Edinburgh by train from there and may be easier to access than the train.
Personally, I would prefer to be in the ‘airport city’ the night prior to departure, especially if the flight is an a.m. one. Takes some of the transport ‘unknown unknowns’ out of the equation, but then, that’s just me.
Have a grand trip!
Why not spend the Thursday in Fort William - catch the train to Mallaig (it doesn't have to be the Jacobite steam train which is really expensive as the 'normal' train coveres exactly the same route!) It is a fantastically scenic run across Glenfinnan viaduct made famous by Harry Potter films. Details of fares and timetable here.
On the Friday catch the City Link bus to Glasgow, but break journey at Glencoe.
If you take the train the West Highland line is one of the best in Scotland, especially across Rannoch Moor. It will go direct into Glasgow Queen Street.
Have you spent time in Glasgow? It didn't for many trips, but there are some wonderful things to see in Glasgow. I would love to visit the new Riverside Museum. Also there is a Tenement Museum which is fascinating. The Cathedral is quite old and worth a visit. (Check out Pat Mcintosh's mysteries based Glasgow at the time of the construction of the cathedral.