walkhighlands

West Highland Way November 2021

Date walked: 14/11/2021

Time taken: 5 days

Distance: 129km

I've previously done the WHW in 8 days with my partner during a very hot summer! Great experience and met some lovely people.

This time I wanted to do the Way in 6 days in November, unsupported, carrying everything I need along the way (6 days food etc) . This didn't quite go to plan :lol:

I was ready for wet weather but damn it was wet! With only one dryish day (what else could you expect in November?!)


Day 1 - Milngavie - Sallochy Campsite - 24 miles

I knew this would be very challenging, the most milage I have ever done with a pack weighing around 16kg (includes water and food for 6 days).

To be fair, it wasn't as bad as I thought! I arrived at the campsite in the dark around 1700 with the bonus that the toilets were unlocked. I know this campsite is technically closed during winter months but didn't think anyone would might 1 man in a tent. If there was a donation box or something I definitely would of put something in.

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Day 2 - Sallochy Campsite - Doune Byre Bothy - 14 miles

After it hammering it down with rain all night, I had to pack away a wet tent, not ideal! (Note for me in future always pack inner separately!)

Loch lomond is a tough day, especially the section after Inversnaid Hotel. This was the driest day out of the Way so I was very thankful for that! I arrived at the Bothy around 1600, perfect timing as I wouldn't want to be doing that section in the dark!

So after settling in, hanging tent out to dry and getting a small fire going it begins to get dark. At around 20:00 I decide to call it a night when I hear voices and see the lights from headtorches. To my surprised I had 2 friends for the night. Turns out they were members of the Mountain Bothy Association checking things out and delivering a new fire grate for the Bothy. Had some good conversations about Bothy toilets and all sorts of stuff. My thanks go to Peter and Mike for bringing coal and Beer!

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Day 3 - Doune Byre Bothy - Tyndrum/Bridge of Orchy (15/22 miles)

After waking up to a fairly nice morning, the weather would turn. Also waking up to a tent which was still wet was another issue.

I had an OK start to the day and carried out some rubbish left by others at the Bothy to Beinglas Farm. After this the weather turned and the rain was relentless.

The original plan was to get to Tyndrum and try and push on to bridge of Orchy to camp by the hotel if I felt up to it but this quickly changed. By the time I got to Crainlarich forest I was soaked through all the waterproofs I had and also through my bag cover. Knowing accommadation is slim around this time of year I booked a camping pod in glencoe ski centre and also the bus from Tyndrum.

So I made it 15 miles, soaking wet, shivering cold and waiting for an hour in a bus stop in Tyndrum. I packed my bag into the bus and tell the driver I'm getting off at glencoe ski centre. Feeling better now I am in a warm bus and will be in a dry pod for the night, things would get a little worse. Despite pressing the stop button several times, I see the Kinghouse Hotel pass on my right hand side, the driver missed my stop. After some tense words I end up having to go to fort william and wait until the bus turns round to go back to Glasgow.(the driver did apologise and it calmed down after a bit) It was so tempting to give up there and then but I made it to my camping pod, just a few hours later than expected! Thanks so much to Angela at Glencoe Mountain Resort for putting the heater on full wack for my arrival!

Day 4 - Glencoe Mountain - Kinlochleven - 10 miles
(Originally would of either been Tyndrum - glencoe 17 miles or Bridge of Orchy to Glencoe 10 miles)

After my ordeal from the prior day I woke up and booked a hut at the Mcdonald Hotel in Kinlochleven to avoid the same drama.

The weather started off great but then became worse as expected. I made good time around 4-5 hours to get to the hotel and stopping by the co-op for a treat of a can of coke.

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Day 5 - Kilochleven - Fort William - 16 miles

No nice start to the day today! Straight away hammering it down with rain and it wouldn't stop at all!

With everything dry to start of with I knew I could get through it. Although that first ascent out of Kinlochleven left me a bit wet on the inside of the waterproofs from sweat :lol:

I actually quite enjoyed the day, I knew it was going to be brutally wet so I just embraced it. Made really good time again, left around 0930 and got there for 1530-1630 (well good time for me anyway).

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So not the complete WHW but around 80 miles of it (technically I was at the finish line twice :lol: )

Definitely learned a few things:

Pack inner tent separately after wet nights! (This seems like a no brainer now :lol: )
Always have a plan B and be flexible even if you are determined to do things a certain way.
And a brand new appreciation for some of the gear I brought with me!

If you are willing to embrace the wet and windyness of November then I recommend giving it a go! Just be prepared to change your plans if needed.

Thanks for reading! (The pics may look nice but trust me the weather was brutal!)

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West Highland Way

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 11/07/2018
Distance: 154km
Views: 102

brory


Activity: Mountaineer
Place: edinburgh

Sub 2000: 2



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Statistics

2021

Trips: 1
Distance: 129 km

2018

Trips: 1
Distance: 154 km


Joined: Mar 19, 2019
Last visited: Jan 24, 2022
Total posts: 2 | Search posts