Last day push into Fort William

The  climb out of Kinlochleven was a shock after a full Scottish breakfast!   Despite lots of huffing and puffing the fantastic views over the village were enjoyed.

The walk then took us through a remote valley, past ruined stone cottages and onwards towards Fort William.

We were expecting a forest trail but disappointed by the scar left by the foresters.   The weather was very hot and sunny and we missed the shade that would have been provided by the trees.

The spectacle of Ben Nevis provided a changing backdrop as we stepped out to the end of the walk.  The final two miles along the Glen Nevis road, was an anticlimax after the stunning scenery experienced during the day.  The official end of the West Highland Way at the main street of Fort William provided a quick photo stop before that final and well earned lager in celebration of our achievement!  We did it!

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Up the Devil’s Staircase…

After returning to the path, we tackled the nervously anticipated “Devil’s Staircase”.

The path was so named due to the extreme effort required in construction and despite the name, it did not elicit fear.  In fact we were rewarded with fantastic weather, spectacular scenery and a wee “tuckshop” at the top!  Enterprising scots.

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The path wound its way into Kinlochleven.  From our reading prior to the walk we were expecting a dim and uninspiring village – gladly mistaken.  Kinlockleven proved a beautiful overnight stop off with a wonderful creek-side pub for our daily beer.

Undoubtedly the best day of walking on the West Highland Way.  Magic.

In search of highlanders!

The walk from Bridge of Orchy climbed slowly and reached some misty peaks with views down to Loch Tulla and the Inveroran Hotel.  This was a beautiful part of the West Highland Way.  the mists we experienced over the remote Rannoch Moor made it seem very eerie .   Lunch today was in the rain, huddled behind some ruined walls, there was no shelter anywhere!

Unfortunately the fame Kingshouse Inn was under renovations and we had to make our way to the Glencoe Mountain Resort for a shuttle to Ballachulish. The walk today was a true taste of the Scottish Highlands.  Very exhilarating.

Forests, munros and a train-side teahouse!

We had been looking forward to some relaxing walking after the trials of the previous stretch. The overnight rain made sure we were presented to a muddy challenge as we walked through the forests towards Crianlarich.

We left the trail to experience the delights of yesteryear at the station’s tea house and enjoyed a hot drink and very welcomed toastie.  The munros of Ben More and Stob Binnean provided a sense of the changing scenery to come.  Once back up on the forested trail we enjoyed a gentle stroll into Tyndrum.  We enjoyed a hearty pub meal fireside at the local. Great end to another testing day.  The nineteen kilometre stretch was a much kinder experience.

 

In the footsteps of Rob Roy

The day’s walk seemed like it should be a doddle – a stroll along the mighty Lock Lomond and the chance to visit sites linked to the legendry Rob Roy.   The trail meandered through gently ascending forestry tracks, provided some stunning water views and glimpses of the Arrochar Alps.  We were lulled into a false sense of ease with a beautiful waterfall welcoming us to lunch.  We ate in the sunshine at Inversnaid , in happy ignorance of what laid ahead.  The afternoon presented a range of challenges as the path turned almost into bouldering and the sunshine gave way to rain.  The path turned into creeks and our shoes became coated in mud.  It was with great relief that we arrived at Beinglas Farm!  The twenty-two kilometres really provided us a challenge.

Up hills and down dales and on to the bonnie shores of Loch Lomond

The walk on day 2 starts with a short summit of Conic Hill’s summit (361m), on the Highland Boundary Fault  which separates the highlands and the lowlands and provides fantastic views of  Loch Lomond.  After the steep descent  into Balmaha we were rewarded with a well deserved ale and sandwich.

Our afternoon was filled with a scenic but challenging path which followed  the loch shore, natural forest and headlands as we made our way to Rowardennan.  The day two walk was an energetic twenty-three kilometres.