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West Highland Way - Our Story

West Highland Way - Our Story

Postby robertd19m » Wed May 30, 2012 9:24 pm

Route description: West Highland Way

Date walked: 26/04/2010

Time taken: 5 days

Distance: 150 km

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I recently registered with walkthehighlands and was impressed and amused with some of the accounts of walking the WHW. I thought I would explain our unusual way of walking the route just in case anyone came across us in April/May 2010.

After much discussion our small group decided we could complete the walk in 5 days. The team consisted of Robert (aka Chuckly Bear), his friend Paul (who jogs as a sport), Angus (aka Spaceboy) and myself Robert (aka Dunny). Our team were already collectively known as "Numpties" (two of our fellow Numpties (King of Peds & Old Papa) decided that they were so unfit that they would not walk opting to meet us at the finishing post in Fort William)). We did not fancy carrying camping equipment so agreed we would book accommodation along the route. Our idea (which many frowned upon and ridiculed us) was to head from Milngavie to Fort William but actually walk in a southward direction (you can now understand the team name).

Day 1 On Monday 26 April 2010 we travelled from Edinburgh in two cars eventually leaving one in Milngavie Station. We all set off in the second car and left this at our overnight digs in Balmaha (Balmaha House). The beginning of our walk took us over the Conic Hill (not the most relaxing of starts). The weather was not at its best and initially views were restricted. From nearer Drymen however we could see in the distance our eventual goal. It hardly seemed feasible. After a long walk through paths and roads we eventually arrived at Milngavie. We collected the car and drove back to our digs in Balmaha where we headed for a couple of beers at the Oak Tree Inn. Our room consisted of two pairs of bunk beds. Boy was there some serious snoring coming from Chucks & Paul.
Dunny Paul & Chucks at Balmaha
Chucks strides ahead on Conic Hill
Spaceboy & Chucks and the long road ahead
Spaceboy meets a local
Spaceboy, Paul & Chucks in Milngavie

Day 2 After a mighty breakfast of all things unhealthy we drove to Inverarnan, the other car being left behind. This was to be be our longest daily walk of over 20 miles. We had been warned by our friend Roddy that we would be taking on one hell of a walk along Loch Lomond. The stretch to Inversnaid was very tough with lots of ups and downs. Chucks and myself climbed into Rob Roy's cave with the other two wimping out to eat jelly babies. All of our feet were starting to feel the affects of blisters and it was nice to get the boots off at the Hotel and drink a cool pint. The weather was a bit misty with occasional rain. Looking at the map revealed we still had 7 miles to walk to Rowardenan and then another 7 to Balmaha! Panic was beginning to set in but we carried on nonetheless. By the time we reached Rowardenan Hotel our boots felt like they contained stones. Could we carry on? Should we call a taxi? Thankfully we decided to continue but boy did we suffer. It was almost dark when we limped down the road into Balmaha to reach the car. How I kissed that white Mazda 6 with relief. Because we were running late our plan to eat back at the Drovers was up in the air so we slummed it with a McDonalds in Balloch. It took about 5 minutes to walk from the car into the premises. We had a late drive to collect the other car and headed to our accommodation at the Wigwams near Crianlarich which were booked for two nights. Absolutely shattered we could only muster one each of the many cans of lager that were brought along. We all dealt with our blisters in different ways with Chucks using scissors to cut off the loose skin - - oouuch!.
2010 WHW 27 Apr (10).JPG
Chucks, Paul & Spaceboy begin an epic
2010 WHW 27 Apr (21).JPG
Loch Lomond - The way ahead
2010 WHW 27 Apr (38).JPG
Spaceboy takes on some fuel
2010 WHW 27 Apr (40).JPG
Chucks & Paul negotiate the Loch Lomond path
2010 WHW 27 Apr (46).JPG
Paul on the look out for Rob?
2010 WHW 27 Apr (68).JPG
Much later = oh to have a kayak

Day 3 With heavy rain beating down on the Wigwam roof the morning came around all too soon. How those blisters were already throbbing! First up was Paul and although the bacon smelt great could we muster any enthusiasm to walk? Could we give up already? Again we decided to carry on and took one car back to Inverarnan. On this occasion we were actually walking north! Now this must have been confusing to all others attempting the walk who had met us and said hello over the course of the last two days. Although a fairly pleasant day the going was again tough and we reached the intended half way point of the day back at the wigwam. The other car was used to collect the one at Inverarnan and lunch was had at the wigwam. Although part 2 of our intended walk was from the wigwam to Bridge of Orchy this was reduced with a start from the car park one mile north of Tyndrum back to the wigwams. Spaceboy decided enough was enough and refused to continue blaming his age (he was the youngest). Yes we were walking south again! The poor guys we met in combat jackets (and limping) who passed us in the morning now met us going in the other direction later in the day. They probably put it down to exhaustion. We carried on and had a pleasant, but sore walk back to the wigwam. Our intended plans of heading into Tyndrum for a boozy night never really materialised and again we had a fairly early night nursing our own feet with anything that would soothe them.

2010 WHW 28 Apr (5).JPG
Chuckly Bear and The Bear (at The Drovers)
2010 WHW 28 Apr (12).JPG
Beinn Dorain
2010 WHW 28 Apr (39).JPG
North or South - which way?
2010 WHW 28 Apr (56).JPG
Spaceboy and the Wigwam

Day 4. Again Paul was acting master chef with the bacon. Today's trek would be from Kinlochleven to Bridge of Orchy though there was some doubt this could be achieved For precaution we took one car to the Kings House Hotel and carried on in the other to Kinlochleven. We all set off beside the pipes and up the long winding road and eventually reached the top of the Devils Staircase. On this occasion our southward direction helped and we met some very exhausted walkers heading up the hill. Although the weather was drizzly the walk along Glencoe was still haunting. Eventually we reached the Kings House Hotel for a couple of beers and the feet were throbbing again. The thought of walking to Bridge of Orchy was a bridge too far for Spaceboy and Dunny who decided to speak to other walkers in the bar with Chucks and Paul continuing (Chucks heading off with three pairs of socks on each foot to act as cushioners). It was there we met a young South African girl (Karin) and her party who was intrigued to meet this band of Numpties that everyone was talking about and who were walking the wrong way. She had just met Paul on the drove road carrying Chucks on his back (or so the story goes). After a quick visit to the ski slope Dunny and Spaceboy waited at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel for the others to appear and have dinner. We waited and waited and waited and eventually set off in the car to Inveroran where they eventually appeared. To their credit they wanted to continue, with us relieving them of their backpacks. Back at the Hotel again we waited and waited and waited until the struggling duo appeared. A late dinner was had and eventually we drove back to the bunkhouse at Kinlochleven. On this occasion we did manage a couple of beers until tiredness again set in.
2010 WHW 29 Apr (16).JPG
Chucks and the Pipes at Kinlochleven
2010 WHW 29 Apr (43).JPG
Team Numpty
2010 WHW 29 Apr (52).JPG
Trooping along Glencoe
2010 WHW 29 Apr (73).JPG
Kings House Hotel

Day 5 For the "final" leg we all drove to Fort William and left the car at a luxurious B & B (Buccleuch Guest House) for some later comfort. We walked to the "end of the walk" for the start of our day. Again the going was tough through the forest with heavy showers making life difficult. On this day the sun decided to come out and the walk through the mountains was superb. We met an army of WHW walkers looking forward to the finishing line. The later ones (including the guys in combat jackets) were limping home as if they had just walked from the battle fields. To their credit they had all almost finished a great challenge. We eventually came down the mountain into Kinlochleven with Chucks boots throbbing with exploading blisters. What a relief to get back to the car for the journey back along to The Fort in beautiful sunshine. As I looked in the car mirror Chucks had the head down fast asleep. Back in Fort William we freshened up to meet our other two old Numpty friends for beers and food. They had the nerve to complain that they had a long walk from their Hotel into the town centre (they went for a cheap Hotel on the outskirts that took bus parties). A great night. Luckily lager refreshes the part others don't reach and by midnight Chucks had recovered enough to dance the night away in one of the local bars.
2010 WHW 30 Apr (4).JPG
The Finishing Line?
2010 WHW 30 Apr (52).JPG
En route to Kinlochleven
2010 WHW 30 Apr (94).JPG
Chucks surveys the walk down
2010 WHW 30 Apr (99).JPG
The Pap

Day 6 On the way home the missing leg from Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy was walked (northwards) so that Chucks/Paul completed the route. Dunny was to return two weeks later (on his own) to walk his final missing link from Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse Hotel.
2010 WHW 23 May (74).JPG
Drovers Road in May

Despite all the blisters we all agreed that this is a great walk. Our mistake (as Roddy had advised) was to attempt the walk in 5 days rather than 7. I would recommend it to anyone that is fairly fit - but please take precautions for the feet.
2010 WHW 23 May (97).JPG
A famous cottage
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Re: West Highland Way - Our Story

Postby mrssanta » Wed May 30, 2012 9:47 pm

like it!! very novel. I did half of the Pennine Way the wrong way years ago and it was fun, but not quite as oddly as this :lol: :lol:
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Location: north yorkshire moors

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