Time to cross the finish line. The rain this morning is the worst we have seen all week. But we braved it and walked the last mile to the new official (commercial) finish of the West Highland Way.
The day started with what is probably the best breakfast of the trip, it included fresh bled scones, smoked salmon and a large selection of berries and fresh fruit. Richard’s West Highland breakfast could barely fit on the plate.
Having dropped down into Kinlochleven yesterday we had to climb back out this morning through the forest to the old military road.
We were slower today than we had planned – so we got to Fort William too late to pass the “official finish line” and take photos. So we will finish this walk tomorrow.
But we did pass the “old finish line”!
Twenty-one miles today – Rannock Moor and Glen Coe. The weather forecast is fair for the day so I have unloaded the gaiters and over trousers.
I got to the B&B in Kinlochleven at 5pm which meant eight hours and twenty minutes on the track. I had a couple of ten minute breaks and tea on the summit above the Devil’s Staircase. The drop down from there to Kinlochleven was very steep and longer than I expected.
above – Rannoch Moor
above – Glen Coe
above – Glen Coe
And when I finally sat down with a mug of tea at the B&B, “The Big Bang Theory” was on the TV
The first thing to do today is to get back to the path – which is about half a mile away but it is nearly all “up”.
I am completing this post whilst sitting in front of the log fire, in the lounge at The Bridge of Orchy Hotel lounge.
The day did start with a few spots of rain but by midday it was dry but overcast with the tops of low mountains shrouded in cloud.
We crossed the main road at Tyndrum – where we stopped for a tea and sausage roll in the conveniently placed cafe.
Tomorrow is a twenty-one mile day so we are in a hurry to get to Kinlochleven before dark.
It is now about 3.30pm and we are about four miles away from Crainlarich on the old military road – and the path is such that I can write this whilst walking.
The first five miles of the day were some of the most difficult we will have to walk this week. A narrow fractured, undulating path, where you had to watch where you walked. It took us over three hours to cover five miles. It was similar terrain for the end of yesterday and that too slowed down our progress. This afternoon once we reached the military road our pace picked up.
We had some great views this morning over the loch and even found somewhere to get coffee, Beinglas Farm.
Another thing we saw (and smelt) were goats along the side of the loch, and you really could smell them before you saw them!
The rucksack is heavier today, as we are carrying our overnight stuff, food and equipment we need for tomorrow, because we are not having our case transported today (it costs too much to ship it to Inversnaid). It was because this extra load that, at the last minute, I decided to bring and use my Golite Jam backpack. The Jam has a very good compression system so it makes a very comfortable daypack for the other days. The large external pocket is particularly useful for my waterproofs, sitmat and gortex gaiters.
To start the walking day we have a taxi ride to Sallochy Bay, where we finished yesterday – I know exactly which rock I was sitting on when the taxi came and that is my starting point for the day.
No 3G signal today so the post is being made from the Inversnaid Bunkhouse, where we ar staying tonight. It is a converted church. The room is OK, but we have not yet found a kettle so it looks like if we want a cup of tea we have to buy it – we will ask later.
The walk today was great – we followed the banks of Loch Lomond all day, so it was an easy 10 mile jaunt, the long days start tomorrow. There was plenty of sun today and some great looming clouds and mists.
Tomorrow we needed an early start but breakfast does not start until 8am but we will have to manage.
Small change of plan today, we have shortened today’s walk (to save on the taxi fare!) but what it really means is that day three will be a ten mile day rather than seven.
The accommodation here in Drymen is very good, we have a three bedroom apartment, all the bedrooms and living room have flat screen TVs, the kitchen is well supplied with tea,coffee, milk and the makings for breakfast. There is central heating, and two shower rooms. Richard has done really well to find this place. It has allowed us to sort ourselves out following the first days shake down walk. (Parrot count so far zero – see our Coast to Coast blog.)
We booked our taxi back last night with a local taxi company here in Drymen.
Before starting we watched Jensen Button win the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Pottery pub where we had dinner last night – the photo was shot just before setting off today – blogging in the rain again, at least for the first part of the day – that’s my positive attitude showing through.
The path was a stream.
Lunch – no raincoat and a great view.
I even wore my sunglasses!
We are now waiting for the taxi – middle of nowhere and a strong 3G signal – so I’ll publish this now.
Train into Glasgow, we need a cashpoint and a pie shop.
Is there an app for removing rain drops from my photographs?
The Start at Milngavie
There is no missing the start (or the end) of the West Highland Way.
It looks like today is the perfect day to use my water tight case for my iPhone, so I can blog and take photographs in the rain.
The rain has been patchy and mostly light (no over trousers needed) so it has not been hard to deal with. On the plus side there has been some nice light to photographs the woodland colours.
By 2.30pm the rain had stopped and I had my rain coat off.
My new lightweight rucksack came yesterday – I was working last night but I did have a chance to throw a few things in and play around with some packing options.
I got my one man tent in the front pocket with room to spare and my inflating sleep mat in the main compartment without any problem. Getting the mat inside was important to me as when I had it strapped to the top of the previous pack it made the pack very awkward when making my way through overgrown areas.
When I put on the pack it felt very comfortable. The hip belt pockets were a little difficult to use but I am sure with use the zippers will loosen a little and I will get used to them. I could reach the drinks bottle reasonably easily.
In my Karrimor pack I had a foam back pad that included two flexible aluminium strips embedded in it, which gave the soft pack some rigidity which I found useful – I have inserted this into the pad pocket on the Golite. It makes it easier to pack as it gives the bag some structure and I also think it will protect my back from the load and the water bladder and help transfer some of the weight to the hip belt. There is a weight penalty for this stiff pad – 165gms – which I feel is a bargain if it makes my walking more comfortable.