Tuesday, October 16, 2007

West Highland Way (Part One).

I set off from Milngarvie on the outskirts of Glasgow at 10 am on Saturday the 22nd of December 1990. It was a pleasant autumn morning, quite mild and sunny, a good day for starting a walk.
Vicki, Fallon and myself at the start of the 'West Highland Way'.
To soften the blow of being dumped alone in a strange place, my family along with friends Vera and Pearl accompanied me as far as the first muddy puddle where they made their excuses, said their goodbyes before dumping me alone in a strange place!
Vera and Pearl.
I’d walked for no more than thirty yards when from behind I heard the cries of ‘daddy, daddy’ from Fallon. I turned to see her running after me. I thought I’d managed to get away without any crying but this was obviously not to be. There were enough tears around now to start my very own muddy puddle and I hasten to add that they were all Fallon’s, I’m a man and men don’t cry, they prefer instead to choke on the enormous lumps in their throats. After a lots of hugs and kisses that did nothing at all to take away the pain of parting for a whole week, I went on me way.

Looking back to Milngarvie.

Soon after leaving Milngarvie (pronounced something like ‘mul-guy’) and being English that’s probably not quite right but its probably closer than you were trying to say it! Anyway as I was saying the way was no through Mugdock Country Park. This turned out to be a fairly easy walk through woodland on a good path. Nothing is ever very easy about starting a long walk carrying everything I needed on my back for a whole week. Well almost everything, the only thing I needed to acquire along the way was fresh water. Accommodation, food and entertainment along with a few other essentials were all packed snugly in to my backpack.

The way through Mugdock Wood.
The way eventually came to Carbeth Loch which it followed for away until extensive views north opened out before me. On the horizon I could easily see Ben Lomond. It was also possible to pick out the place I hoped to reach by nightfall tonight. At first it felt good to see my destination so early in the day, it made it seem like I didn’t have far to go but as the hours ticked by and the countryside slipped past the end when it was visible in the distance hardly seemed any closer. I never find the start of any such journey easy. I miss my family, the going is always hard due to the pack and the fact that my body is never up to the challenge. There is a considerable amount of concentration needed just to keep from getting lost which can be a real setback when every step is a labour, the last thing you want to do is cover the same ground twice so much attention to map reading and guide book following is very important. The objective is to be looking for landmarks and know where you are at all times. If the map and the landscape around you don’t gel then stop because it’s more likely to be you that’s wrong and you need to find out why.
Carbeth Loch.

Tonights camp is in centre of picture on far hill.
After lunch at Dumgoyach Hill – one of the remnant volcanoes from which the Clyde Plateau lavas emerged – the way was now mostly along a disused railway track to Drymen (pronounced dim-men). The old track was a blaze of colour from the rose hips and hawthorn berries which hung from their branches like they were dripping blood. The going underfoot was not so pretty though, most of the way being wet and muddy.
Dumgoyach Hill.
Path along disused railway line to Drymen.
Blood red berries.
The biggest surprise of the railway journey, and perhaps even the whole day came after seven and a half miles. On the top of a raised brick manhole was a piece of paper covered in bold red writing. Being a nosey sort of person I just had to take a closer look. It’s a good thing I did too…


Blogger Kimmie said...

Wow, looks great... you have my attention...in more ways than one...how did I miss the fact that you have a daughter? ! Love her name...if that is indeed her name.

Children certainly can grip your heart like nothing else on this earth...oh that our hearts would embrace it.

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

5:44 PM  
Blogger La Tea Dah said...

Very interesting --- a lovely 'walk' --- I'm enjoying the scenes of the countryside. I'm very interested in the volcano remnants, as I live in volcano country with 8 volcanos making up a nearby mountain range. I look forward to more of the story. . .


6:33 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Bob ~~ Enjoyed reading about your walk through that
lovely country. Enjoyed seeing Loch Lomond, one I'd heard of. Were you entirely alone? No dog even? Or other walkers?I hope you and Vicki had a Happy Anniversary recently.Thank for comments about my pictures. Take care, Regards, Merle.

9:10 AM  
Blogger UKBob said...

Yes Kimmie Fallon is her name.
The volcano's are long extinct and just make nice hills now La Tea Dah.
We didn't own a dog in those days Merle. I was walking alone but I did meet people on the trail from time to time. There are lots more and I think better things to see along the way so I hope you pop back to enjoy some of them with me. Loch Lomond is very well known and very beautiful as you will see tomorrow. Bob.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Jeanette said...

Gday bob, "Wow" im enjoying the beautiful Scenery along your hike Bob Did you get lonely out there on your own?...

12:37 PM  

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