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West Highland Way 2010

West Highland Way 2010

Postby jyp18a » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:26 pm

Route description: West Highland Way

Date walked: 26/09/2010

Distance: 150 km

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An account of my mini expedition doing the west Highland way

Day 1 (Sunday) 26/09/2010

Megabus to Buchanan Street bus station Glasgow then local bus to Milngavie. Nearly left walking poles at Glasgow, pointed out by a Californian girl who was walking with an older man, father maybe, they had done a ridge walk in England and after the WHW they were doing the Great Glen Way. After a visit to Paris they were then doing the Pilgrims Way in Spain, Camino de Santiago, taking three weeks to do the walk.

Milngavie-Balmaha 19 miles

Got photo taken at the start obelisk by a man who then referred me to a visitors centre to sign the visitors book. A lady inside then tried to get me to take a passport type form to be stamped at various tourist attractions. This would entitle me to a free certificate at the walk’s end. Haven’t even set foot on the walk and I am being subjected to the hard consumerism sell. Declined.

Eventually got started at 10:40
Through Mugdock park saw the Californians again for the last time. Passed and met lots of cyclists and joggers with their dogs, all very chatty.
Stopped at the Beechtree pub for a pint, consumed a cheese and onion piece that I had brought with me, OK to eat own food in the picnic area. Spoke to three fellow walkers, the younger one, dressed in army kit, had blisters after only seven and a half miles.
At the carpark just before entering the Garadhban forest had a drum up with pot noodle . Then over Conic hill which I found tough. The descent gave me very shaky legs by the time I reached Balmaha at 19.20.
Got speaking to a group of young lads who were camping. They said there was room beside them, so set up tent near the top of Craigie Fort, a hill just after Balmaha.

Ate by torchlight, lamb stew and tea.

Saw hoodie crows and a hairy caterpillar.

Pint in pub £3.20

Warm and sunny from mid morning.

Day 2 (Monday)

Balmaha to Doune bothy 18 miles

Refilled water bottle at the tap in Balmaha then had breakfast, oatcakes with raspberry jam.

Set off at 08:30

Saw the other lads that were just setting off, they were doing the way in five days. Only saw them once again briefly further up the trail so assumed that they managed it. Lots of up and down, Mars bar required to keep going at 11:00. Slight diversion past some men erection cages and filling them with rocks, a field at the loch edge had slumped into the water and require some remedial works. The 3 guys I met at the Beechtree pub were camping on the loch shore, waved to them and never saw them again. Saw some walkers with day packs and a water skier trying to do some summersaults. Rowardennen for lunch, mackerel in spicy tomato sauce, crisps and biscuits. Spoke to three mountain bikers out for the day.
Good time made on the next bit which was a forest road. I did not notice where the road ended and the path of sorts started but it did become much slower going, due to the terrain. Saw a seaplane flying just below the cloud cover and numerous helicopters. Waved to passengers on a passing tour boat from the jungle, got a wave back. Arrived at Inversnaid at 16:10 for a pint. Left at 16:45 along a difficult path, roots, rocks, stile and narrow gaps between the trees. Arriving Doune bothy at about 19:00

Nobody else in, so spent the night on my own.

Curried lamb for tea by candlelight. Texted home.

Saw small brown frogs ½ inch, heron, wagtail, shell duck? mallard, chaffinch, furry fast rodent, smelly goats, found a pound.

Pint in pub £2.60

Overcast all day, very dark but no rain.

Day 3 (Tuesday)

Doune to Tyndrum. 15 miles

Breakfast, Oats so simply (bowf, no milk, made with water) oatcakes with raspberry jam, tea.

Set out at 08:30

Showery from the start, jacket on/off until midday when the rain came on steady. Lots of up bits, lots of “expletive deletives” required in the description of the uphill bits. Once I got to the top yet more uphill bits, it went on forever. Spoke to a walker coming towards me at Beinglas farm, he was asking about camp sites at Balmaha, he did not know about bothies and was greatly surprised that he could use them free. He had started at Inverness doing the Great Glen way first.
The next bit along tracks still going uphill but at least the pace became a bit faster. Lunch, curried mackerel, crisps and water.
Onward through a cattle creep under the railway, must have been small cattle as I scraped my rucksack off the roof. Along a bit further, then through a bigger pipe under the road.
The way then climbed gradually along a muddy track, improved by The Caladonian Society, difficult to see where the improvement was as it was still wet, muddy, rocky and uneven. Onward to the junction of the Crianlarich path. Then up (always up) on a path descending a bit, passing a sign for Ewich where two of my friends had stayed for the night during the previous week.
Crossing the road on a pointless diversion round by St Fillans Chapel then back across the A82 along a path passing the old lead mine. This area totally poisoned by the lead. Met my second walker of the day just as I entered Tyndrum.
Booked in to the “By the Way” hostel. Luxury, a bed and a shower. Good drying room.

Finished at 17:00

Texted home.

Pint at Paddy’s, fish and chips at the café, in the tent extension.

Saw buzzards, frogs, small and leopard coloured, heron, chaffinch, thrush and a dead newt.

Rain most of the day

Hostel £16
Pint £2.80
Fish chips and mushy peas £9.50
Supplies for next few days £3.05 (3 packets of crisps and two large Yorkies)
An expensive day.

Day 4 (Wednesday)

Tyndrum to Kingshouse 20 miles

Breakfast, oat so simple, again with water, still bowf and tea.

Started 08:10

Set of with, dare I say it, a jaunty step? Must have been the nights sleep in a bed.
Passed the Green Welly hailed by some other walkers hiding from the rain in the coffee shop. Spoke to them later. Over the saddle and down the track, under the railway arriving at Bridge of Orchy at about 11:00. A bit of Yorky, then over Mam Carraigh to Inveroran pub. 12:00
I was the first of the day according to the bar lady. The floor of the pub was dry before I arrived, I looked down 5 minutes later to discover than my rucksack looked as if it was piddling all over the floor. It had been raining from the start of the day. Had pint, then joined by others including a guy who looked and sounded like Reevell Alderson a BBC reporter. Then came in another four guys who had been hiding in the Bridge of Orchy hotel when I passed. Then a group of five Canadian girls, one who had fallen off the path yesterday, she showed all in the pub her bruised ankle. She had an impressive array of Velcro strapping and confessed that falling off paths was a habit she had. Next was Norman, an Irishman who had attached himself to the Canadians. Still raining so had another pint and a BLT boagie. (a submarine type filled roll).
Out into the rain again, round and then over the Drove road. Overtaken by the Canadians singing along the way. Beatles and Monkees were the chosen racket. Stopped to let them pass. Got into conversation with one of the girls who came from Sault Ste Marie in Ontario.
Easy fast walking all day.

Arrived at the Kingshouse at 17:00

The Canadians to their posh rooms, me round the back in a tent. Never saw them again.
Erected tent beside the track, shallow pegs, rocky. Stew and dumplings for tea.
Lying in my tent I got in to a conversation with an older man (70years) who was walking with his daughter. My mug of tea was getting cold but he kept conversing forever.
I had a pint in the climbers bar where I got into yet another conversation this time with a couple and their spaniel. They had done some hills in Knoydart and were doing the Buachaille the next day, they were in a campervan.
Nearly couldn’t find the tent as I had forgotten my torch.
Wore my wet socks in bed to dry them for the next day.
Texted home.
Food and drink in Inveroran £8:30
Pint in Kingshouse £2:90

Only saw Chaffinch and tame deer.

Wet all day.

Day 5 (Thursday)

Kingshouse to Kinlochleven and then Larigmor 13 miles

Started at 09:00 after pot noodle and tea for breakfast.

Along a track and then onto a path that wended it’s way to the bottom of the devils staircase. Got overtaken by a couple of german girls and later by a german man. Spoke to them. The german girls crossed the road at the bottom of the devils staircase and started up the path to the buachaille. Must be munro bagging I thought. After about five minutes the german guy started shouting and whistling at them to stop. It turned out that they were doing the WHW. Saw the two girls later, not speaking to each other, the grumpy one at the front blaming her pal for not getting the map reading right. Could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for the other jerry stopping them.
A bit slow going up the staircase being overtaken by everyone. Passed them all on the way down to Kinlochleven.
Found a Canadian 10 cent piece but left it for the following Canadian group.
Arrived at 13:00.
The chippy at Kinlochleven was closed for refurbishment so had lunch at the Tailrace pub. Cheeseburger, chips and a pint. This being my main meal of the day.
Left at 14:30.
Spoke to two guys on mountain bikes going to Fort William, they asked me if they would make it. Also got into conversation with a couple from a flat bit of Cambridge. who were enjoying a fortnights touring holiday. Up the path to the Larigmor track took ages. Having a break at the top, I got passed by a couple that were intending to stay at Larigmor. I told them to keep me a space but due to the weather forecast they must have gone on further, as I never saw them until the end of the walk the next day. On the Larigmor track I was able to stride out making good time arriving at Larigmor This is an old ruined building now demolished, just a pile of rubble.

Arrived at 17:00

Tent pitched with all pegs and rocks on top of the guys. Bad weather had been forecasted so I was doing all that could to keep the tent standing.
Curried noodles and a two day old roll for tea. Early bed as it was dark by 19:00

No phone downlink.

Food and drink £11.05

Saw a vole, black hairy caterpillar, buzzards and lots of sheep. Heard deer as the rut had started.

Dry all day.

Day 6 (Friday) 1/10/2010

Larigmor to Fort William 11 miles

Very windy during the night but the tent still stood.
Got packed up in howling gale, tent reasonable dry at this point.

Set out at 08:10 after a breakfast of oatmeal block and water.
The strong tailwind helping me along. The trees had been cut since the last time I had been here about four years ago. It looked totally different beside the cairn to the highlanders who had made a stand here when fleeing from their enemies.
Eventually got a strong phone signal and texted home. Left phone on for a reply but the signal had totally disappeared within about five minutes. Got a reply two hours later when I dropped into Glen Nevis. Leaving the track for the path I saw a mountain biker going the same way. He had come up the road from Fort William but was returning over the path. The way then climbed for ages before descending into Glen Nevis. The weather by this time had turned to heavy rain with a strong tail wind. Stopped to speak with a couple of mountain biker struggling against the conditions. They were attempting to get to Kinlochleven. I doubt if they would make it due to the really strong headwind over the pass. Got overtaken at this point by a tall thin foreign guy, spoke to him for a bit.
The fire road down to Fort William seemed to take ages and the last bit along the road was a total anti climax. Arrived at the original end of the way at about 12:00. As I had come this far I had to do the last mile to the new end in the square. A cynical way to entice walkers’ wallets to become lighter. It did work, as I spent some money in Tescos buying sandwiches and coke for the journey home. I finally finished the way at 12:35 getting my picture taken by a couple who had done the way five years previously.

Trekked back the way I had come to the swimming baths for a shower and change of clothing.

Rain and high winds all day.

Only saw one raven and one pipit due to the bad weather.

Well that’s it, apart from the journey home.

Saw the tall thin foreign guy that had passed me earlier and also the camping couple.

After the shower got the Citylink bus to Glasgow and eventually a Megabus home.

Food for bus £4.47
Shower, towel and shampoo £2.40

Kit list
Tent (Vango micro 200) Sleeping bag
Karriemat Waterproof jacket
Waterproof trousers Old fleece
Hats warm and baseball type Gloves (not used)
Shirt Socks
Knicks Boots
Spare clothing, shirt, trousers, knicks & socks Specs, sun & seeing
Torch Stove, Meths, lighter & matches Kettle Dixie
Mug Knife
Lpoon Food
Water bottle Water
First aid kit Trowel
Bog roll & disinfectant Paper tissues
Toothpaste & brush Drugs
Camera Walking poles x 2
Map & compass Mobile

A pair of short gaiters may have prevented the wet socks if I had remembered to take them.

Food carried at the start
3 main courses – (ex forces) lamb, curried lamb, beef stew and dumplings.
2 pot noodles and 2 packets of curried noodles.
cheese and onion piece
3 mars bars
3 packets of plain crisps
3 tins of mackerel
Packet of oatcakes (ok until became crumbs)
Oat so simple (always bowf, not able to make with milk)
Raspberry jam, (had the consistency of the jam in the middle of jammy dodgers)
5 packets of biscuits brown (binned some of them due to not being used and the weight)
Teabags and straws of UHT milk

Rucksack at start weighed 14 kgs.

Food bought on route
2 large yorky bars
3 packets of plain crisps

2 meals in pub and chip shop 6 pints in various pubs

Money spent on route £66.27

October 2010
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Re: West Highland Way 2010

Postby Dunfie » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:59 pm

Good report Sandy and I'm very impressed that you did it without spending very much money.

My son and I are starting the WHW this Saturday. We have booked bunkhouses, a wigwam and a microlodge hobbit for our accomodation rather than camping. I'm still trying to do it on a budget but my son isn't prepared to camp (neither am I tbh). :lol:
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Re: West Highland Way 2010

Postby skuk007 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:00 pm

Nice report of your adventure Sandy, sounds like you met plenty of people on route to chat with.

Very good effort doing it on that budget, but only 3 Mars bars.
If I was doing this on my own I could easily see off 3 a day.
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