Kinlochleven to Fort William, 25Km
It’s a tough little walk, this West Highland Way. A cursory glance at the map suggests a bit of a stroll but there are many tiring ascents and descents.
I ordered “Overnight Oats” for breakfast and when I appeared at 7.30 this morning, I faced my first challenge of the day. It was a giant bowl of creamy porridge which had been refrigerated overnight and then laced with a banana, chocolate drops, blueberries and coconut. Delicious but a saucer full would have been sufficient.
Lizzie was waiting at the camp site and we started the final day of the West Highland Way. Whichever way you leave Kinlochleven, it’s steeply uphill. An old military road led us into a secret glen called Lairig Mor which is only accessible on foot. As you’d expect, it was gorgeous, a rich hilly heather covered landscape with masses of wild flowers, butterflies and happy sheep high above us. The sun was shining and it was hot but we could see the whole vista, no mist or rain. Also, any survivors of the desecrated midge population would have died of heatstroke.
As we walked along the Allt Nathrach we passed a few derelict farm houses and tried to imagine the isolation their occupants must have experienced. Lizzie told me about her new vegetable patch and how the broccoli was eaten by caterpillars but we all know what they metamorphose into. We received a message from Colin & Rachel saying they caught their train home.
The path led us to a grassy patch by a waterfall with an ancient tree providing both shade and armchair comfort for two. We ate our Coop ham and cheese sandwiches as the water flowed by. It is quite possible that Macbeth sat there in the middle of the 11th century, contemplating his kingdom.
And then we descended under the massive bulk of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain at 1345m, to Fort William and with renewed energy, strode along the high street to the finish line and a celebratory beer.
This evening I ate salad and fruit from the giant supermarket and sat at the station like the hobo that I am. A steam train pulled in while, on the other platform, the Caledonian Sleeper prepared to depart for London. I wondered whether I could continue the blog from Weybridge but the train was full. Onwards to Orkney!