Amanda’s West Highland Way Trip – Mission Control…
On Friday Morning Amanda slung here backpack on her shoulders and headed off for Milngavie to commence her 8 day hike on the west Highland Way. A 95 mile route from just north of Glasgow to Fort William in the highlands. We will have an extensive report of this trip from her when she returns but in the meantime here is a short update from ‘Mission Control’ back at Scotclans central.
It’s now Tuesday so Amanda has been on the road (or rather the slightly muddy path) for 4 days now. Last night she reached Inverernan campsite after a gruelling trip through one of the hardest stretches on the way; North from Rowardrennan. This part of the route winds alongside the northern reaches of Loch Lomond, twisting and turning over rocks, fallen trees and through mud. Challenging for most people who would be relaxing in luxurious B&Bs at the end of each day, even more so for Amanda, on her own and carrying a huge pack with, tent and all the associated gear! Yesterday she passed some on leave army servicemen going the other way. There was admiration mixed with incredulity in their voices as they wished her luck (even if they muttered ‘she’s never going to make it’ as they walked on.
Fortunately though she is not COMPLETELY on her own. We’re back at home providing remote support. With additional maps and better internet access and the ability to track her phone signal we can keep tabs and advise on any good looking camping spots on the way ahead. Also she seems to have become a bit of a celebrity on the route and was greeted to cheers and hugs as she made it to her lunchtime objective of the pub at Inversnaid yesterday.
Today she hopes to be getting to a place called Auchtertyre, just to the North West of Crainlarich, this will put her well over halfway and well past the worst of the journey. We will let you know how she gets on…
Last night Amanda spent a more comfortable evening at Strathfillan just south of Tyndrum after deciding to take a break from life under canvas and spend the night in one of the Strathfillan campsite’s wooden wigwams. A heater, a mattress – simple luxuries!
Today she will walk through Dalrigh (site of one of Robert the Bruce’s early defeats) The popular stop off village of Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy in the shadow of Ben Dorain. Hopefully getting to Bridge of Oran and the great little wild camping spot near the Inveroran Hotel. Venue for many a post Munro pint or three.
Yesterday afternoon Amanda reached her objective of the wild camping site a few miles past Bridge of Orchy near the Inveroran Hotel. Today she takes on the bleak but beautiful walk through Rannoch Moor to reach the Kings House Hotel at the entrance to Glencoe where a small camping area will provide a rest stop before the hike over to Kinlochleven, the steepest ascent of the 95 mile route.
It’s now been a week since Amanda set off. I had a slightly broken up phone call at lunchtime to say she was descending into Kinlochleven where she plans to spend tonight. Tomorrow she has a fairly long but by all accounts stunning walk from there to Fort William and the end of her 95 mile journey.
On Saturday morning we rolled up to the rather excellent if rather huge campsite at Glen Nevis by Fort William and waited… The campsite is just a short walk from the final miles of the route so we decided to take a walk up onto the path and wait. It wasn’t long before the first batches of walkers from Kinlochleven began to come into view. A few minutes later I pointed out to the children a distant figure heading down from the woods ahead. ‘look, there’s mum’.
To squeals of delight they both tore up the path and all were reunited.
Harvey our youngest decided he wanted to walk the last three miles with his mum so Rowan and I made our way back to the campsite and drove into Fort William to meet Amanda at the end of the trail. Annoyingly they have moved the end of the Way from the roundabout at the start of town to a designated spot on the far end of the high street. It must feel like the longest mile of the 95 (now 96) having to trundle past tourists and shoppers, like an alien world after 8 days in the wilderness.
There was a real sense of ‘bonhomie’ at the final stop, carefully landscaped benches and a statue give a sense of occasion and walkers who’s paths had crossed over the days greeted each other like old friends. (even if there was the occasional muttering of ‘see them, they only walked the last stage, the wimps’).
So tired, stiff and with feet that looked like something from a medical journal, Amanda completed her West Highland Way. Look out son for her account of what sounded like a wonderful and inspiring trip.Tagged