After getting into Fort William and finding the guesthouse we had planned to leave our bags there and walk to the “new” finish line. It was however already getting dark and so we decided to do this in the morning when light. The Chinese we found finished off the day well. After a restful night at the Guisachan guesthouse we completed the final 1/2 mile in the rain. It sort of underlined how lucky we have been with the weather as we both agreed how miserable the walk could have been if every day was like this. Photos of the finish later as it was raining too much to use the phone camera. All that remains is the journey back. The train from Fort William cuts through parts of the same route as does the West Highland Way and it was an opportunity to reflect on the walk. So, if you are planning a walk in Scotland. Why not try the WHW. See my next post which I’ll xo on my return for more details.
Today is our longest trip. We had wanted to shorten it by walking to Inveroran however due to the reviews for accommodation there a. Too expensive b. Poor service c. Talk on the reviews of mould in the rooms, we opted for a stay at The Bridge of Orchy Hotel which was excellent.
Having 21.1 miles ahead meant an early start and I was under way by 8.30 (earliest breakfast at hotel 8am for the civilised who enjoy log fire lounges and glasses of whiskey). A brisk climb of 800ft before dropping down to pick up the old military road which climbs gently towards the edge of Rannoch Moor. Then into Glencoe where the scenery is spectacular, sadly other than dropping to catch my breath no time to fully appreciate it though, the aptly named Devil’s staircase climbs to 1,800ft and over to an equally dramatic fall back to sea level in Kinlochleven, the last part completed in the dark and my arrival at the Guesthouse was at 7:30pm. To complete the evening we ate at the Highland Getaway which was one of the best meals of the walk. Back at the Edencoille Guesthouse a wonderful bath awaited to help soothe my legs and feet.
Today being our final day, we enjoyed the hospitality of Edencoille before a 9:30 start. Yet another climb to around 1000ft to pick up the old military road (not that it could claim to be maintained as such for some time). More spectacular views of Kinlochleven enhanched by the changing foliage of the silver birch trees lining our path. Our route is determined by the huge block of stone that is the Nevis range. So initially north then west before going North to pass the western side of Ben Nevis and on to Journeys end. That was till it got moved! See the final post for now details. On our way down we were treated to a mix of sun and rain which gave an impressive rainbow over Ben Nevis.
After a great night at Craigbank in Crainlarich our journey to the Bridge of Orchy took us into the mountains and onto better paths left by old military roads, while there are still some challenging parts where cascades cross the path and the ground is boggy or where rocks submerged as stepping stones move – nice bootfull of water one mile in! All in all though a good day and only light drizzle as company. Below are a collection of photos from the day. Some are what you are supposed to see and what we saw. Tomorrow is our longest day where hopefully we will reach Kinlochleven a mere 21 miles away. I’m struggling with my phone battery so will have to ration the photos but I’ll see what I can share with the blog
The common held view of Scotland is that there’s a lot of rain. That may be true but as with most things in life you have to have some bad so when the good comes along you recognise it. As a result the rain allows the landscape to demonstrate cascades and waterfalls.
Our stay at the Inversnaid bunkhouse over (thank god) – I should say that on balance there were good points as the food was excellent however I’ve never stayed anywhere that doesn’t offer at the very least to opportunity to make a drink as a result we became a captive market which made the place feel like an offshoot of Ryanair. So we took the path along the top end of Loch Lomond and saw across the water the hydroelectric plant, very reminiscent of the film Heroes of Telemark. The path then, for about five miles was in effect an up down up down scramble. Imagine a street where the houses are side by side and to get from one end to the other you had to go into each house and go to the uppermost floor in each before moving on to the next one…..for five miles. Here’s a few shots of what I mean (I’m reliably told this is the hardest bit of the walk)
There are times where you appreciate your place in the world. Today while walking about 400ft above I came across these very tall pine trees, Cleary near maturity the reach up nearly 80ft. The picture of the two fallen trees nearly claimed the title, you wait all day for a tree to fall down and the two come along together. Certainly not something I’ve seen before. The final shot is where we are staying this evening. The Inversnaid bunkhouse. Another warm welcome, the room is basic, but sufficient and the food the best we’ve had so far.