Monday, July 25, 2005

Scenes from the West Highland Way

We set off from Milngavie in brutally hot conditions, and soon found it was necessary to soak ourselves in sunblock, anti-midge Skin So Soft (works, by annoying the midges, not killing them) and anything capable of destroying clegs, ticks and other beasties the tourist brochures never mention.
First two days ( Milngavie to Drymen, Drymen to Rowardennan) were really hard going - 16 miles a pop, feet not ready, blisters agogo - and the less remote first sections are a bit tedious. Loch Lomond on a hot Sunday between Balmaha and Rowardennan was a nightmare of jetskis (ban them all) messy barbecues and huge piles of litter. Rowardennan on was a delight, but that path up the eastern side of Loch Lomond is a struggle. And the Inversnaid Hotel is a disgrace - it should have a big sign saying WALKERS BARELY TOLERATED. Idiots. They must be losing a fortune through stupidity and arrogance. Whaur's yer Manley Hopkins noo?
Beinglass Farm comes highly recommended - great wee bar. Crianlarich next day wasn't really far enough - we were fitter and faster and ready for more. But great to see the trains! Over to Bridge of Orchy past Tyndrum was a delight - fast, hot, glorious mountain scenery, and the old military road provoking us to marching songs. Pity about the tick bites - would I get Lyme Disease? Great food at Bridge of Orchy - good hotel, posh but welcoming. Then the magical trek through Rannoch Moor to Glencoe. Fantastic. I love the Kingshouse Hotel, though you couldn't describe it as anything but, well, rough and ready. It's for climbers, basically. Four tea bags per pot! Those deer were photographed from the window at 10.30 pm. There was venison on the menu...Bambiburgers. Then the Devil's Staircase out of Glencoe and a short bash into Kinlochleven, before the wonderful Larigmhor to Fort William. I ate like a horse and lost half a stone. Also, cider now works for me, which it never did before. James was a star. Nasty infection from the tick bites, but no Lyme Disease. But be warned. Don't wear shorts...