The rain had been tapping on the window above my bunk all night and when the time came to get up it didn’t look good outside. ‘Dreich’ is, I believe, the Scottish word for the conditions.
The forecast however was more promising. The rain was due to stop between ten and eleven. There was a discussion about delaying the start for a couple of hours but in the end we agreed we would rather get underway and take our chances.
The initial climb out of Kinlochleven was sharp but short thankfully. Then, yes, you’ve guessed it, the old military road. “Trudge along the old military road” doesn’t have the same appeal as “West Highland Way” but to be honest that’s what it is in the main part.
It’s popular though, as the photo above illustrates. There just isn’t enough variety for my liking. Wide grassy paths are my favourite terrain and there were virtually none on this walk.
Ian pressed on ahead after a couple of miles, in the relentless rain and Kevin and I followed on behind. The burns were all in spate and every fifty yard or so there was another to negotiate
The rain eventually stopped about 11.30 so I stopped to take my waterproofs off. Five minutes later it started again. Bearing in mind Angela’s advice, I stopped again to put my jacket back on. Angela is the Ray Mears of Jigsaw choir so I knew it would be foolish not to.
There was a small section of ‘proper’ footpaths with a bit of ups and downs before we rejoined our old friend the OMR for the last few kilometres in to Fort William. The weather had finally improved by this point.
They had thoughtfully moved the official end of the walk to the far end of Fort William. We stopped for the obligatory photo at the ‘Sore Feet’ statue before repairing to the Black Isle bar behind the statue.
We were able to catch up with a few faces we had seen during the week and they served great ale and great pizza. It was nice to take the rucksack off and chill out knowing we didn’t have to do it all again tomorrow. Ian and I also had the Caledonian Sleeper to look forward to!
The walk, which had been recommended to me by a few different people was a disappointment. The rip-off prices everywhere probably contributed to that. Ian and Kevin were great walking companions even if they do bicker like an old married couple, as only true friends can!