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WHW with my 11 Year Old son

WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby Walkscot » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:21 am

Route description: West Highland Way

Date walked: 22/04/2011

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West Highland Way 22 April to 26 April 2011
96 Miles/5 Days

Last year I had asked my son Ciaran if he wanted to do the WHW with me as he had already been up a few hills with his first being Ben Lomond when he was 4. So in January this year we made definite plans and just hoped for good weather at Easter.

DAY 1 - Milngavie to Balmaha - 19 Miles - 7 Hours
Along came Friday 22 April and my eldest daughter took us to Milngavie and dropped us off just before 8am.

Ciaran at the start at 8am

Our target today was Balmaha, 19 miles away and Bay Cottage B&B (with a hot tub). Making good progress we get to Carbeth Huts at 4 miles and disaster struck! The camera said 'Internal Memory Full!' Why? I have an 8GB SD card in there. Then I realised I had taken the card out the night before to transfer a picture onto the PC and had forgotten to replace it. Now I can't walk the WHW with my son and not be able to take pictures. So decide to press on and go into Drymen as there are a few small shops and hopefully one of them will have an SD card but it's a long shot. Try the SPAR - nothing and then the small Post Office and luckily they have just what I need. New card installed and try it out on Ciaran outside the Post Office. Phew saved!

Dryment Post Office for a snack

Then we're up and away again.

Towards Conic Hill

Surveying Loch Lomond from Conic Hill

Day 2 - Balmaha to Inversnaid - 14 Miles - 5.5 Hours
A bit of a dull start at 8.30am - misty and damp but it soon cleared up. The intention was to stop at Rowardennan for lunch but we were far too early and the breakfast we had at Balmaha was enormous and so didn't feel the need to stop. Ciaran thought this was an easy day. Spent the night at the Inversnaid Bunkhouse.

Damp start from Balmaha

Still looking happy

A few friends on route

Arriving at Inversnaid

Day 3 - Inversnaid to Tyndrum - 20 Miles - 8 Hours
An early start at 6.30am for some very clear photographs of Loch Lomond. Got some supplies at Beinglas Farm and carried on by-passing Crianlarich and straight onto Tyndrum. Stopped off at Kyntyre Farm for a Bacon Roll before going into Tyndrum. Tough day for Ciaran. After a shower and some shopping he went for a 2 hour sleep. Bunkhouse accommodation tonight.

Early on Loch Lomond

Morning reflections

Doune Cottage and Bothy

Strolling back from the shops at Tyndrum

Day 4 - Tyndrum to Kingshouse - 19 Miles - 7 Hours
Another early start at 6.30am and a wonderful clear day. Having a snack breakfast on route again. Nice easy path all the way to Kingshouse Hotel in Glencoe. Ciaran still plodding along and finding it incredibly easy although he did confide that on Day 1 at the foot of Conic Hill he was thinking 'I can't do this!' but that he carried on. Now he was feeling this is easy. Stayed at Kingshouse Hotel.

More Wildlife

Approaching Bridge of Orchy

Nearing Glencoe

In the woods at Kingshouse

Relaxing at Kingshouse

Day 5 - Kingshouse to Fort William - 24 Miles - 9 Hours
A perfect day but the longest day of the series. I was thinking that he is going to struggle with this one so again started at 6.30 just in case it was going to take a long while as we had to catch the 7pm bus back to Glasgow. Left Kingshouse and there was frost and ice on the cars. But knowing that in just under an hour we'd be going up the Devil's Staircase we'd soon be very warm. At the top of the Staircase the views were stunning. Crisp blue sky and perfectly clear hills. Ciaran said this was the best part and easiest part of the walk because the hills looked like North America (not that he's ever been - neither have I). Down into Kinlochleven for some supplies at the Co-op and then up the hill again towards FW. Got to Glen Nevis forest and Ciaran is now running about like a wee dog and I'm telling him to slow down. He felt this was the easiest day. I've really no idea why. I always think Day 1 is particulary easy but he thought that was difficult. First we get to the old end of the WHW and then carry on towards the town centre and on route get a shower and changed at the Railway Station and then progress to the new End at the other end of the town and it's quite impressive with the map engraved into the concrete on the ground.

Morning at Kingshouse


Buachaille in the background

Top of Devil's Staircase looking over to Ben Nevis


Ben Nevis and nearing the end

The new end

The Map on the footpath

Well for his first long walk I think he did particularly well even although we did use decent accommodation. We did carry our own gear (although not very much) and did not use the bag carrying service. His longest walk prior to this was 6.5 miles and that was a one off. So 96 miles in 5 days was quite a jump. He survived, he enjoyed it, no blisters, no sore feet and he asked, where next? Where next indeed.
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby pigeon » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:25 am

Superb ,you had a great week for it well done to the young fella :clap:
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby steven65 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:56 pm

Hi Walkscot - well done to young Ciaran , an achievement to be proud of.
I`m off doing the WHW for my 1st time on Tuesday 3 / 5 & finishing on Sat 7 / 5 hopefully the weather will stay set fair for us - walking with friends Steven & Davie - it`s their 3rd time.
I`m really looking forward to it.
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby mountainstar » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:08 pm

Well done to Ciaran :clap: , some really long days there, helped by the lovely weather you had. :D
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby Merry-walker » Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:55 pm

Fantastic effort especially from young Ciaran. 8) 8) 8) What a great time you guys must have had, one which you won't ever forget. Super trip, brilliant pictures and report. :D
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby Dunfie » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:37 pm

Well done to you both. Ciaran looked like he was having a great time.

I'm out with my 11 year old too and getting him into the hill - not sure if he would fancy the WHW though. Hats off to you.
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby Walkscot » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:20 pm

Thanks guys for all the nice comments and Ciaran says thanks too. Now that I've shown this to Ross (age 7) he now wants to do it mainly because of your comments. We'll see!
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby webbie88 » Fri May 13, 2011 7:41 pm

looks a cracking walking 8) makes me want to go do it more and more plus its good to see some-one local on the site as well
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby The Morgans » Mon May 16, 2011 10:41 pm

well don-e to you both, loved all your pictures and report, if your son enjoyed this walk you should try the Great Glen Walk.
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby erin_niamh » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:38 am

Well done to you both! :D Just getting into the walking myself, would love to be able to say id done the WHW at 11! excellent report & good pics, puts me in the mood! hoping to do it myself later this year :D
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby Slogger » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:06 pm

I'm surprised you even thought he would be okay on a five dayer on the WHW. However he clearly was, most impressed, I would think he would be fine tackling most LDPs, now.
Well done to both of you.
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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby stevemillar » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:15 pm

Very well done.

I spend a lot of my time at Blackwater Hostel in Kinlochleven and see many a supposedly 'fit adult' struggling by that stage.

Pity you never got someone to get pics of both of you for the album. :thumbup:

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Re: WHW with my 11 Year Old son

Postby Walkscot » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:20 am

Thanks guys for the comments. I've done the WHW lots of times over a variety of days and I knew exactly what he needed to do and he did surprise me by how easy he found it. I wish I had done it also when I was 11 but it wasn't there! During the walk I mentioned other walks and for some reason the Speyside Way stuck in his head and he keeps on saying that'll be his next one. I've done that also so I know he can do it. perhaps that'll be next.

He keeps saying that Day 1 from Milngavie to Balmaha was the hardest day and yet I always find that the easiest. And Day 5 which was his longest day from Kingshouse to FW he found the easiest. Whatever. I'll get him out somewhere over the next 6 weeks as his football season is now over.
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