West Highland Way | Day 13
Blue sky, hot sun and a cool stiff breeze made for perfect hiking conditions today. It felt like the nicest day of the year so far, and after a fairly dreary spring it felt nice to sit in the sun for a our breaks.
The Blackwater Hostel, Glamping & Campsite lies directly on the west highland way making it an ideal place to spend the night. The site was reasonably busy but everybody kept themselves to themselves and there was no noise from anybody. It was very pleasant. We had a good night, waking at 6 am.
When we popped to the coop the night before to grab some dinner, we met a lovely lady (and her cat) who invited us for a breakfast from the deli in Kinlochleven. Thank you so much. And that is exactly what we did, and it was exactly what we needed.
As soon as the tent was down and packed up we wandered to the deli Mo's and were kindly given a hot breakfast roll (potato scone and egg), drink (tea and a funky mango drink for Eve) and a cheese sandwich each. As if that’s wasn’t enough we were also given £20! Thank you so much!
The kindness of strangers is mind blowing and I can only hope we can pass it down over the years to come!
We sat on a wee bench to eat our breakfast and drink our drinks before setting off, and I am so glad we did!!! Whilst finishing our drinks we were approached by a lovely gentleman who gave Eve a massive Easter egg! It was so lovely, thank you so much
Regardless of whether you are walking the west highland way from north to south or south to north you will be faced with a stiff climb out of Kinlochleven.
The climb was steep and rocky. Although we have walked it before, this time it felt like it was never going to end. We met numerous people on the way with more than a few people stopping to talk, all of them to say this is tough and much harder than Devils Staircase. We had to agree.
Some of the issue I think it that the trail goes through a woodland, so you can’t see the end, unlike devils staircase. You just have to keep climbing.
The effort is well rewarded with some of the most stunning views over Kinlochleven you could wish for. Set with the backdrop of a blue sky and hills, it looked serene and calm. We stopped for our first of many breaks overlooking the village below.
We stopped today for over 15 mini breaks! I don’t think I have taken my backpack on and off so many times in one day.
The trail levelled out slightly and we put on Harry Potter again to listen as we walked.
Eve was a lot slower and less motivated today. I’m not sure why as normally when there is a Sarah waiting at the other end (especially after not seeing her for several days) she has a spring in her step. Today she was slow and almost lethargic. She isn’t unwell so my best guess is the pause after starting to walk and the steep ascent out of the village took it out of her. I kept a close eye on her, had plenty of breaks (loads) and made her drink more than usual, although she normally drinks like a fish. Eve actually drinks more than me!
All but the last mile of today was following a rough mountain trail that was originally an old military road.
These trails are hard to walk and we can only imagine what it must of been like when it was in use by the army.
We walked along sandwiched between towering hills on both sides that acted as a bottle neck for the cool breeze that despite the hot sun, kept us cool and prevented too much perspiration.
One thing I did fail on is keeping an eye on Eve and and sun, as she has a rather red neck. I didn’t carry any sun cream but from now on I think I’m going to have to. I feel rather bad like I have let her down although Sarah has told me it’s fine and to just carry sun cream.
Today felt like the first summers day, it was so warm. We drunk several litres of water making good use of our Sawyer water filter. The good thing about mountain burns is they are always cold so you always have cold drinks on a warm day!
After a number of hours hiking along the glen we reached the edge of a felled woodland and we could start to see the end coming into sight.
We had arranged to meet Sarah on the only road that comes close to the west highland way between kinlochleven and
Sarah walked a short way up to meet us, but being such a rocky trail Eve couldn’t do her usual running to mummy for a hug.
As soon as we met up with Sarah Eve got her second wind and walked the quickest she had all day.
We reached the van after 7.9 hard miles with Sarah having arranged a little surprise for Eve.
Eve was quite disappointed that she couldn’t have fish and chips for dinner last night, so Sarah had already researched and phoned a local chip shop to make sure that Eve could have fish and chips for dinner this evening. We couldn’t let her eat on her own so we also had some chips with mushy peas and curry sauce… it hit the spot!
This evening we had a quick shower and are sleeping together in the van on a wee site where we have the entire camping field to ourselves!
Tomorrow morning we will complete the West Highland Way walking the last section with the film crew!
We are excited and can’t wait to have completed another trail in aid of Scottish Autism
Lastly my apologies if this post is a bit ‘dry’ but my stomach is really painful again this evening and I’m really tired having to keep an extra close on Eve today being a bit lethargic.
Getting into the ‘writing zone’ is just not happening this evening (hence the late post) despite my best efforts. I think I need to try and get Eve to come up with a few more quotes like she did yesterday.
Sleep well and we will see you in the morning for the last day on this glorious Scottish trail!
Ian, Sarah and Eve