West Highland Way | Day 8

West Highland Way | Day 8

Evening everyone

It felt really good to get back outside, hiking the West Highland Way towards Tyndrum.

It was one of those days where everything felt a little odd. We struggled to get into any rhythm and find our stride. It’s one of things we are going to have to become a bit more accustomed to with our new slower plan for the year. Hiking every day, with just odd days off here and there as we were doing, you can keep in the mindset of life on the trail. The longer we have off, the longer it takes to get the body back into a pattern.

It’s going to be a whole new challenge in itself and I do wonder how it will pan out.

We had a good breakfast at home and drove the 90 minutes back to the start point on the A82 where the trail goes under the road.

We recorded a quick video diary for the documentary crew on the GoPro and headed off after giving Sarah a huge kiss and cuddle.

The first challenge was to get over the crash barrier. Together we lifted Eve but in typical child style, she offered no help nearly resulting in two parents with multiple fractures as we crumpled under the weight of Eve’s flailing limbs. If it wasn’t so hard it would have been comical, especially for any passing motorist.

We headed up the steps and onto a rocky path with deep puddles over a few metres. The odd thing was, nearly every puddle had thousands of tadpoles in it. We have seen plenty of frogspawn, but these were the first tadpoles of the year.

It was cold walking this morning and I had multiple layers on including gloves. Eve was cold but is build out of sterner stuff than me, so didn’t layer up like me.I’m not coming down with anything but I would go from hot to cold like a yo-yo.

We met loads of hikers and got recognised a few times. We were given a donation of £5 by a lovely lady who is doing a charity walk for the Scottish Poppy appeal. Thank you!

The views over the hills and mountains around us was absolutely amazing. With their snow-capped peaks all shrouded in clouds making them look even more impressive and almost threatening. In good weather the hills and glens of Scotland can be the most magnificent place of earth, but in the bad weather they can feel bleak and unforgiving. Looking up at the towering munros above us, they looked truly menacing.

We arrived at the edge of Ewich Forest on the edge of Crianlarich with a feeling of in-trepidation. We have hiked the West Highland Way before and for us Ewich Forest was the toughest section of all. Lucky it wasn’t anywhere near as tough as I remember.

We stopped for a wee break on the edge of the forest and sat at a picnic bench where we wild camped last year. It felt odd to be back but also good as last time we really struggled and camped there more out of exhaustion than choice.

We walked through Ewich forest along its roll coaster trail going up and down constantly, but we made good time and before we knew it we walking onto the recently felled section on the edge of the main road.

Hiking through the forest we listened to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Eve has a thing at the moment about Harry Potter so we binge watched 3 films over the last few days.

When Eve is listening to an audio book we don’t tend to talk quite as much so I had some time to do some thinking. I’ve been trying to plan what I can do on our extra days off, especially to try and earn some money!

The trail eventually lead to the edge of the road where we had to take great care crossing. The trail emerges almost immediately and without warning onto the edge of the road. Once safely across, we walked along a narrow path and over the river Fillan, passing by St Fillians Priory and graveyard.

We had spoke to Sarah a few times today on the phone as we are staying together this evening in the campervan in Tyndrum. It feels so much nicer to hike when Sarah isn’t working.

Sarah had parked up in Strathfillan Wigwams to wait for us with the kettle on. So after a brief walk from the river over some sheep fields we arrived to find Sarah with the kettle on and a tea brewing! After a quick drink and a bite to eat we set off on the final short section that would take us through Tyndrum Community Woodland and passed some amazing historic sites.

We walked along a lovely path beside the river Fallan, under the road bridge and into the woodland where we passed sites such as the Battle of the Dalrigh and the Lochan of the Lost Sward as well as the remains of old Lead smelting where Eve made a small stone stack!

Sarah arrived walking towards us. Seeing Sarah on the trail is always a welcome sight. We walked the last wee section together and into the caravan park where we are staying for the night.

One of the highlights for today was going to be our evening meal… we were invited to the The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum for dinner by the manager.

After I had a quick shower, we walked together into Tyndrum, avoiding the rain, to the cafe.

In our opinion the cafe is one of the best we have been to, the meals are feasts and the quality is superb! I had chick pea curry, Sarah vegan fish and chips and Eve has haddock and chips. We have never enforced the plant based diet that we try to keep to onto Eve instead allowing her to make her own decisions which she does. I am pleased as she clearly doesn’t feel the need to please us or follow what we choose and rather make her own independent choices! I think that’s a positive thing, even if it’s not so good for the fish!

They even gave us pudding… Eve and I had a cake but Sarah was too full! We can’t thank the cafe enough as they really looked after us and all the staff were absolutely lovely!!! THANK YOU!!!

It is now throwing it down with rain so hard we can hardly hear ourselves think. But we’re tucked up in our little van all warm and cosy. The weather is meant to be atrocious tomorrow.

We are wild camping somewhere and I am taking several days of food with us as we really have no idea how far we will get or where we will end up…!

Tomorrow will be an adventure!

Sleep well and see you all in the morning.

Ian, Sarah and Eve