2021

Day 32 – The West Highland Way Ends

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!

Loch Leven
Tigh-na-sleubhaicg, Lairig Mor
Along the old military road
Allt Nathrach
Our lunch spot
Ben Nevis looms above us
At the finish line of the West Highland Way: really, it was easy
The Jacobite train, and the Caledonian Sleeper behind

14 comments on “Day 32 – The West Highland Way Ends

  1. Beautiful photos, looks stunning. Great daily updates, very enjoyable

  2. Peter Mastenko

    Well done on finishing the West Highland Way,Tim! The views look amazing. Day 32 and more to come! Will you remember where you live when you get back? Would have been the steam train for me.

    • Hi Peter, thanks it can only get easier! I can remember seeing Paddington station full of steam trains. Always was a thrill

  3. Vicky Williamson

    Kia Ora, Tim, stunning countryside to keep you looking onwards and upwards and great company to share it with. Lucky you. I’ve just signed on to walk the Te Araroa Trail so now committed to walking 3000kms!! I could do with some company!? Kia kaha, Vicky

    • Vicky that’s fantastic. When do you start? I don’t think I’m allowed into NZ but I have the T-shirt

  4. Philippa

    It looks glorious Tim! And Vicky, when you are passing through the Waikato, I’d be keen to walk some of the way with you!

  5. Vicky Williamson

    Kia ora, Tim. I plan to go to Kaitaia 24 September and depart Cape Reinga 25/26 September. There is no transport there so either I hitch or I take an expensive tour which eventually gets to the Cape. Philippa I’d love some company. Would you please give Tim your email address and Tim would you please pass it on – I’m not willing to publish my email here. Tim, I’m longing for a picture of a hairy coo – surely you must have seen some!? Kia Kaha, Vicky

    • I’ve been looking out for these highland cattle but so far without seeing any. But I did see some last year near the start of the Pennine Way, Day 20. Hopefully more to come

  6. Jane Sherratt

    Congratulations Tim and to Lizzie, we have enjoyed your company. Photos are amazing, wow!

    • Thanks Jane. I hope the landscape and weather stays this good

  7. Congratulations, onwards to Orkney and I see Lizzie climbed Ben Nevis too, wow, my feet would have wanted a few days off first!

    • Absolutely fantastic effort by Lizzie. Great summit photo. Real achievement

  8. Rachel M Clarke

    So lovely to read about The West Highland Way in your words Tim. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and Lizzie. I’m convinced you don’t taste nice, as I was covered in midge bites when I arrived home. Here’s to plenty more long walks and possibly bumping in to each other again!

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