walkhighlands

Read other users walk reports for the long distance trails - and add your own.

NB. This board is for reports on multi-day long distance routes - reports on simply long walks should be added to the standard boards.

West Highland Way - Avery wet May 2012

West Highland Way - Avery wet May 2012


Postby Geoffwilz » Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:21 pm

Route description: West Highland Way

Date walked: 01/09/2012

Distance: 150 km

2 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

The West Highland Way – May 2012

We (all 12 of us – 8 guys and 4 gals) travelled up to Glasgow, and then onto Milngavie (pronounced Milgai) where we were staying in the local Premier Inn and where the event starts, and it rained cats n dogs for most of the night.
Next day (Monday) we were off, dodging between sun and showers, which means that every 15mins it's wet gear on and wet gear off or just sweat during the dry bits, and as it's quite a strenuous start uphill through a country park. A fairly easy first day to our target Drymen (pronounced Drimmen), and as the B&B wasn't open when we arrived we had to re-hydrate in the pub next door.

Day 2 – Started off reasonably dry but cool and a first taste of things to come for the route starts upwards, and seemed to continue that way through forested tracks for miles. The route eventually emerges onto moorland and we can see our first challenge 'Conic hill', there had been a few people that we passed or interacted with, all doing the WHW, and just before ascending the hill, it was decided to stop for a quick snack and get ready for our ascent. Then two things happened, dozens of youngsters appeared, none really dressed for hiking, they turned out to be a youth choir from Germany having a bit of exercise rather than being sat on the bus for hours. As they passed there was a short hail shower, followed by a little snow, then bright sunshine – which proves that when in Scotland just wait 20 mins and the weather will change to something else! An hour later we'd done Conic Hill and were sat outside a small shop in Balmaha with a drink and ice cream. That was the easy bit of the day, for after Balmaha the route takes you on an energetic ramble/scramble around the shores of Loch Lomond to our target at Rowardennan, and a nights sleep in the youth hostel there.

Day 3 – Our journey continued along Loch Lomond and an even greater challenge of scrambling/clambering/climbing along a switchback route to drop into a small inlet at Inversnaid. Whilst the route was difficult it was also beautiful with waterfalls and areas plastered with bluebells (Scilla non scripta) a sight to behold. We stopped for lunch at Inversnaid and enjoyed the last bit of sun before the rain arrived, after this the route didn't get any easier but eventually leaves Loch Lomond at Ardui and after a few short miles eventually we arrived at Inverarnan where I was spending my first night under canvas, a lovely site at Beinglas farm with good facilities, meals and alcohol, and only a short walk to a prize winning pub The Drovers where we had an evening meal – a posh version of 'Haggis, neaps and tatties' which I haven't had this since I was last at Stirling University.

Day 4 – It had rained all night and didn't really let up whilst I packed the sodden tent, then followed on with a hearty breakfast at Beinglas. We left in constant rain, a very grey day, following the river falloch as it winds its way along Glen Falloch, and if the clouds hadn't been so low we would have been able to see some magnificent peaks. I remember this day as grey and have difficulty remembering much of the scenery, all I can say is that the first part was relatively flat and the second undulating after a massive climb into woodland just before Crianlarich then a woodland trod for miles then a descent into Tyndrum (Pronounced Tynedrum and not Tindrum) and my second night under canvas. Erecting a wet tent in the rain on wet soggy ground isn't my best idea of fun but that's what I'd chosen so heyho! This campsite was called 'By-the-way' and without going into great depths of explanation wasn't the nicest experience I'd had. I have always considered that most true campsites in Scotland were a step above those in England although there are always exeptions to the rule.We were also advised not to eat at the place we'd booked a meal in, because they'd had food poisoning issues the week before and apparently were on the verge of liquidation. Which left only one other choice – The Real Food Company – at first glance a glorified chippy, but selling the best fish chips and mushy peas I've ever eaten, and for someone who spent a quarter of a century living in the former fish capital of the World – Grimsby – then they had to be good!
When we came out of there the temperature had taken a severe drop, and the only option was to get into my sleeping bag and wrap up. When I emerged from my tent around 0530 there were white tops on the surrounding mountains, at ground level it was a damp grey, cold and windy day. As the campsite offered no facilities it was an early start and a walk up to the 'Green Welly shop' where they did a decent bacon butty and cup of tea. There were only two of us in tents so we were in the shop early, but eventually the others trickled in by about 0830 we two campers were getting bored and decided to set off on this 19 mile section before the others. The road from Tyndrum follows an old military road to the Bridge of Orchy where there's an hotel and we could stop for a tea break and let the others catch up, which is what happened. It was at the Hotel when we saw the first of the days sun and the stopping of the rain. From the hotel is a climb over 'Marn Carraigh' and the 'Black Mountains' to Rannoch Moor and a long 10 miles trek over open countryside and although the rain had stopped it's constant battering the wind was still quite strong. This was a hard day and we were only 200 metres from the snowline on occasions but the mountain scenery was fantastic, eventually emerging into Glencoe just below the ski station, our overnight stop was at the Kingshouse hotel. The do some nice meals although their Cranachan isn't a patch on mine, but they do have a great choice of Whiskies.

Day 5 – A sunny day the walk starts following a path parallel to the Fort William road and alongside ' Buachaile Etive Mor' (apparently the most photographed mountain in the world)? The trail then climbs the 'Devils Staircase' to 1850 feet, the highest point on the walk. Whilst this section is difficult when carrying a heavy backpack, the views are fantastic and worth every kilo I was carrying. The route to Kinlochleven our next port of call, is only about 10 miles, but the path underfoot is a typical mountain track of big rocks so not an easy walk by any means, and even in big boots your feet get sore. When you do arrive above Kinlochleven it looks like a small alpine village nestled in a valley, and then the very steep descent down the mountain, which goes on forever. By the time level ground was reached my knees and feet were very sore. I suffer from Arthritis in both knees but particularly the right one which I'd managed to aggravate on our trudge around Loch Lomond,and to that point had been kept in check with liberal doses of ibuprofen. Kinlochleven once was the site of a hydro powered Aluminium smelter, which closed down some 10 years ago. The hydro station is still there and the pipework stretches down the mountain side but the smelter is gone, and it's former buildings have been converted into various ventures to cater for the tourist industry, the campsite is one such venture, my third night under canvas and first encounter on this trip with the midge, but the campsite was excellent. The others were staying in chalets (garden sheds) at the MacDonald Hotel about half a mile away, and it was there we had our evening meal a mediocre meal as I recall. Then back to the tent to snuggle down and refresh for the next leg, only to be dragged from my slumbers by a helicopter buzzing the area for an hour between 0300 and 0400. We learned later that a local man had after a skinful had gone to vomit over the bridge and followed it into the river, his body wasn't recovered from the loch until late on the Sunday.

Day 6 (Sunday) – There's a stiff climb out of Kinlochleven to 1100' and Lairig Mor to join the old Military Road which eventually winds its way into Glen Nevis. There's some magnificent scenery and one of the best sights is walking through the forest pathway with Ben Nevis emerging through the gap between the trees, it really is a great sight. At that point it seems that Fort William and the end of the walk is just around the corner, however from the top and the first view of Fort William it's over two and a half hours before journeys end is reached 97 miles. We were all spread over the hillside and eventually trickled in for the photographs then walked to our digs in Guisachan House which is a B&B I can highly recommend. We ate that night in the Grog & Gruel a very popular pub in Fort William.

Monday our journey back started at Fort William Station at 1140 and what a fabulous journey it is the railway passes through some beautiful scenery and largely follows the route we'd just walked so it was good to relive some special moments, it takes three and a half hours to reach Glasgow Central almost an hour to get to Edinburgh and a further four hours before I reached home, a long tiring journey. At 97 miles this walk was the second longest I'd walked and without doubt the most challenging. It's a very popular walk and we were never really out of sight of one person or another. Quite often the same faces day after day, although quite a lot we met on the first day didn't complete the event.
Attachments
IMG_0089.JPG
Geoffwilz
Backpacker
 
Posts: 1
Joined: May 11, 2012

Re: West Highland Way - Avery wet May 2012

Postby Wandering Walker » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:21 am

Actually, its pronounced Millguy ;)
Wandering Walker
Walker
 
Posts: 12
Munros:6   
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:4   
Joined: Sep 5, 2012

Re: West Highland Way - Avery wet May 2012

Postby westcoasthiker » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:44 am

Hello
Thanks for the trip report. We were the Canadians who were walking the WHW at the same time as your group. Your report brought back fond memories of the walk and of the many friendly people we met along the way.
User avatar
westcoasthiker
Walker
 
Posts: 44
Munros:1   
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:13
Wainwrights:26   
Joined: Jan 12, 2012
Location: Vancouver BC Canada

Re: West Highland Way - Avery wet May 2012

Postby Chrisabelle » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:39 pm

I always say "Mullguy" but then I'm a bankie (adopted)! I'm doing this walk soon, it's great to read how others got on. :clap:
User avatar
Chrisabelle
Rambler
 
Posts: 186
Munros:1   Corbetts:1
Grahams:1   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Sep 26, 2011

Re: West Highland Way - Avery wet May 2012

Postby raykilhams » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:41 pm

brings back memories , did it with the wife last year and I can still feel those pesky midges on my arms ,face , neck and back ( it seems that when you stop they land on your backpack and then make their way inside your top , happy days...... I think. If I had a pound for every time I put my cape on and took it off , oh well never mind. Great report , good walk and great scenery.
raykilhams
Walker
 
Posts: 148
Munros:13   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:11
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Sep 12, 2011
Location: Forfar

Re: West Highland Way - Avery wet May 2012

Postby raykilhams » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:30 pm

raykilhams wrote:brings back memories , Great report , good walk and great scenery.

just a few pics
Attachments
111.JPG
107.JPG
068.JPG
062.JPG
068.JPG
063.JPG
045.JPG
raykilhams
Walker
 
Posts: 148
Munros:13   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:11
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Sep 12, 2011
Location: Forfar

Re: West Highland Way - Avery wet May 2012

Postby Happy Walker » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:34 pm

Did whw last year, well half of it my son hurt his knee so we pulled out, going back this year taking my mothers asses with us. She had Alzheimer's so were doing the walk for Alzheimer Scotland, can't wait hope the weather is kind !! Last year weather was good but midges were unreal !! Your post brought back some nice memories , bring on May!!
Happy Walker
Walker
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 9, 2012
Location: Lochgilphead

Re: West Highland Way - Avery wet May 2012

Postby Buggiba » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:15 pm

Great report bringing back many memories.
Just to prove that it takes all sorts 3 of us did this walk in May 2011. We stayed at the Best-Foot-Forward B+B in Milngavie (the locals pronounced it Mullguy!!). From here the Travel-Lite company collected our 'main' luggage, leaving us to just carry (or wear) waterproofs, camera and food for the day. Recommended :D .

Stayed the second night at the wigwams at Easter Drumquasshie. An experience. Walked in to Drymen for food and drink. Next day up early, only with daysacks, and over Conic Hill. Arrived at the Rowardennan Hotel in plenty of time to watch the FA Cup Final before strolling on to the youth hostel, for overnight.

Third day dawned wet and horrible. Clambered alongside Loch Lomond and had a brief liquid lunch at the Drovers. Weather brightened up as we passed the Falloch Falls and it was dry by the time we reached our overnight stop at Crianlarich.

Day 4 was a wet but uneventful stroll to Tyndrum, stopping at the huge chip shop for lunch. A drier and more pleasant walk in the afternoon passed Ben Dorain, arriving at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel where we had reservations in the bunkhouse at the rear. A pleasant evening spent in the bar.

Forecast for day 5 was rain in the afternoon so, not wishing to traverse a sodden and shelterless Rannoch Moor, we were up and walking by 6am. Over the hill, through Inveroran, and across the Moor, arriving at the Kingshouse Hotel for our overnight stay at 11.15am, much to the amusement of the lady on Reception :roll: . Boy did it rain that afternoon!! We only got wet inside :) .

Cloudy but dry for day 6, still travelling light. Over the Devil's Staircase and down in to Kinlochleven. Arrived before our luggage (the only time). Stayed at the Blackwater Hostel. Excellent. A good fish and chip shop just opposite the Tailrace Inn, also.

Walking early again on day 7. Good climb up to the Mamore Ridge and then a sad walk through what was left of the forest. The interminable walk down in to Fort William and then the walk through the streets to the 'new' finish.

Collected our luggage then caught the bus back to Glasgow. A train ride then followed to Milngavie where we collected the car and set off for home at midnight!! Arrived near Birmingham at 7.30am, the morning of my 59th birthday.

Never saw (or felt) a single midge. Didn't pitch a tent (a story for another day). All had a great time for a remarkably small amount of money. Only the room at The Kingshouse cost more than £20 and no cold, damp or hard beds I always walk better after a good nights sleep :-D

Taking on the East Highland Way starting next Sunday (17/03/2013). More about that later.
Attachments
West Highland Way May 12th to May 19th 2011. 096.jpg
Buggiba
Walker
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Aug 4, 2012

Re: West Highland Way - Avery wet May 2012

Postby morag1 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:03 pm

OMG!!!!! (as the young people say)

I've just read this post plus the one on the General Discussion forum with horror - this is not what I had in mind when I decided to walk the way :shock: Maybe I should just stay at home and finish the Fife Coastal Path instead :?

Hopefully, by the time I do it the sun will be out and there will be blue skies all around 8)

By the way I was always taught to say Millguy, Tynedrum and Drimmen :wink:
morag1
 

2 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Return to Long Distance routes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information on the forum and in walk reports is provided by individual users. It is each walker's responsibility to check information and navigate using a map and compass.