Eve came up with the most beautiful, poetic and poignant quote I have heard, and her timing was impeccable.
We had just climbed to the top of Devils Staircase, stopped to look over Glen Coe, the mountains and moorland as it stretched as far as the eye could see.
Eve paused and without looking at me said “it’s like we’ve just stepped into a painting, it doesn’t look real” and then… she hugged me around my waist.
Given the effort to climb up there and coupled with an almost sense of relief (on my part) this really touched a nerve and for a while it felt like nothing could touch us.
We found a quiet wee spot (away from a very loud group of people) and put the kettle on for a hot drink. It felt wonderful! I felt genuinely privileged to be sharing this moment with Eve. I love being a father and if only a few more parents would (or could) take a step back from the rat race, and the endless pursuit of money, I am sure we could all be a lot happier living a simple life with simple pleasures.
And on that note, Sarah is coming up tomorrow evening in the campervan. We are really excited to see her. Sarah is coming up, not just to be together but also to provide moral support as the film crew are filming us arriving into Fort William and completing the West Highland Way.
Eve also did a few GoPro videos today. I have had to put the camera away a little further to stop Eve recording everything, killing the battery and filling the memo card! 😂
This morning we were both awake at 6 so laid talking for about 30 minutes before moving. We got up and had a quick drink, skipping breakfast and packing up.
My belly felt a lot better this morning but this evening I can feeling it churning and getting painful again. Eve seems fine so I think it’s just me.
We walked out of the Glen Coe ski resort where we camped and headed across the road towards the Kingshouse Hotel where we stopped for some of our breakfast.
We met a few people who recognised us and we were given a donation of $100 US dollars. I think we can exchange it at the post office so will have to sort that out on a day off. We were very grateful and can’t thank people enough for any donation regardless of currency or amount! Thank you.
The walk was easy up to the start of Devils staircase along a rocky mountain path that gently rose and fell.
We spent the day listening to Harry Potter with Eve asking me loads of questions of which I don’t think I was a able to answer one! We needed a Sarah!
Starting Devils Staircase we were overtaken by loads of groups of people who I think, but could be wrong, were military due to their identical backpacks and they way they spoke. They were also considerably faster than Eve and I.
We stopped for a lot of breaks today mostly at my request. Eve has a hot spot on her foot to sort out with some blister plasters and I have my first case of chafing. I decided to put shorts on which helped a lot.
Devils staircase has a reputation of being formidable and brutal. We don’t think it deserves this. It is hard but no harder than Conic Hill or Loch Lomond, it’s just steep but doesn’t take long. My advice would always be to just take it slow and to just plod, which is exactly what we did. Before long we had reached the top.
The views from the top were awesome, spectacular, beautiful, awe inspiring (I think you get the message) with 360 degree views that can’t help but to stop you in your tracks to appreciate the splendour.
Then the walk down into Kinlochleven.
I have said it many times and I will keep saying it. Walking downhill is harder than going up hill. It hurts the feet, knees, back, hips and I even jolted my neck at one point. Hiking uphill is all about stamina and aerobic capacity. Downhill just breaks you.
The trail from the top of Devils Starcase all the way to Kinlochleven is easy to walk along and follow. It had brief sections that were flat and some that were very steep going down. This was for us the hardest part of the day.
Getting into Kinlochleven was a relief.
This evening we are camped at Blackwater campsite. It’s a lovely wee site right on the trail with pods and everything else a hiker needs. If you’re on the West Highland Way I can highly recommend it!!!
We popped our little tent up and walked into the village to get some chips for dinner only to find the chip shop is closed every Monday!
Eve was really disappointed so we went to the coop to grab some dinner and some food for tomorrow.
I got Eve an ice cream and we sat on a bench outside to eat it whilst talking to Sarah as she’d just got home from work. We also spoke to a few local people who recognised us. It was really nice as Eve got to pet a cat too!
This evening we are going to settle down for an early night as we have been kindly invited into a local cafe for breakfast! Eve is very excited (and so am I). Thank you!
So that’s it for this evening. Keep safe and we will see you all in the morning on the penultimate day of the magnificent West Highland Way
Ian, Eve and Sarah