Tuesday, October 16, 2007

West Highland Way (Part Eleven).

I woke the next morning to find much to my surprise that I had a clear head, I felt no ill effects whatsoever from the night before. I also found when I awoke that the tent was covered inside and out with ice. Cocooned in a sleeping bag filled with duck down as I was I felt nothing of the cold.

Due to the extra miles walked yesterday I’d got an easy day today, just eleven miles to Kinlochleven. The second John was away before I was, I never saw the first John or Brian, just three more passing ships.

Kingshouse Hotel (9:50am).

The air was crystal clear this morning which served to enhance the views as I made my way down to the Devils Staircase. I was particularly enthralled by the view of Glen Etive. To me the Devil’s Staircase conjured up a horrific climb but really it turned out to be a pussy cat. At the top I stopped to savour the views and eat my five chocolate digestive biscuits and Pineapple juice, I don’t remember where I picked that up from as I usually just have plain old water from the tap. From here it was seven miles nearly all of them down hill to Kinlochleven. There, didn’t I tell you we were in for an easy day!

Looking to Glen Etive.

Glen Coe (73 miles-11:15am).

View from the top of the Devil's Staircase.
As I looked down I could see the path stretching out before me twisting back and forth down the hillside, there was no doubt which way I was to go. The most noticeable occurrence on the way down took place about three miles before Kinlochleven at a wooden bridge over a fast flowing mountain stream. I’d seen two people with bicycles ahead of me when I was climbing the Devil’s Staircase, now at the bridge I caught up with them. It was a young man and woman, the woman was on the bridge with her bike, the man and his steed were in the stream. I asked in passing if they were okay, the man replied that it was until they got a puncture, he seemed rather disgruntled about this. The woman then went on to say how she’d fallen off several times on the way down. This didn’t surprise me as the path was quite rough in places. When I enquired if she had hurt herself she said she had a few bumps and grazes but was enjoying it never the less.

The path to Kinlochleven.
I can’t say I was impressed with Kinlochleven, the way entered the village from behind an aluminium works which came as a shock to the system after the beauty of the hills and as first impressions are usually the ones that count the most I think my view of Kinlochleven was tainted before I even got too it.
Kinlochleven (79.5 miles).
One welcome sight as I approached Kinlochleven was the array of signs offering accommodation. It was the first and last time that I was to see this sort of thing. This practise was quite common when I’d walked the Pennine Way. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to come across a sign in the most remote of places, offering accommodation up to two days walk away.

Sings of things to come (79.75 miles).

My site for today was at Narrach Bridge one and a half miles beyond Kinlochleven on the road to Fort William. It was a beautifully situated site on the very shores of Loch Leven. I had the place to myself so I chose to pitch close to, and overlooking the loch. During the time it took to pitch my tent the wind got up quite considerably. So much in fact that I even considered moving to a more sheltered place. In the end I decided to put in more pegs. The wind was up and the sun was gone and I would hardly see it again for the rest of the walk. There were no chips, beans and sausages on the menu tonight, and no beer either. I had to make do with shepherds pie followed by apples and custard from foil packets and instead of the beer was a mug of tea. The rest of the night was spent generally lazing around. I wrote a couple of postcards while there was still enough daylight to see. I also did camp chores and took a stroll around the campsite.
Camp chores - wash up time.
The end of the day usually comes with a cup of tea being drunk whilst lying in my sleeping bag. Zipping myself in to my sleeping bag at the end of the day is to me one of life’s exquisite pleasures, especially after a long day on the trail.

My little tent.


Blogger Jeanette said...

OHH Bob I would need more than a few beers maybe a couple of strong brandies, to help me sleep when it was cold enough to form ice inside the tent.The Kinghouse hotel would make a lovely postcard picture, the winding path would add afew miles to your walk, the scenery is just lovely. look forward to next episode... Jen

10:55 AM  

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