West Highland Way Failed Attempt

Date walked: 03/04/2017

Time taken: 3.5 days

Distance: 74km

Massively underestimated the West Highland Way, this combined with poor planning meant that I had to drop out of this epic walk at Crianlarich much to my disappointment!

I guess it wasn't to be. On day one I lost my phone which was when things started going sour. No idea how this happened considering it was in my coat front pocket! But if anyone has found an iPhone 6 on the way, look me up! Aside from that the fact I was carrying 20kg on my back didn't help things and even after the first stage from Milngavie to Drymen my feet were forming blisters. On the bight side we found a perfect wee camp spot outside Drymen sheltered among the trees from the drizzle. At night we played cards, drank whisky and listened to folk music! A good end to the day.

Day two was tough. With an already cumbersome pack I loaded the extra weight of the tent which I was sharing with my pal. The Vango Banshee 200 was an extra 2kg of weight which really took its toll on my feet over the next stage between Drymen and Rowardennan. Again this was poor planning, I had massively underestimated how much the weight would effect my feet and body! I packed my new Karrimor 65 rucksack with so much extra stuff I didn't need including three days of food, two bottles of meths, two bottles of whisky and a 2 litre bottle of water. To top this off I had my Dads old Trangia which was heavy enough itself. Don't get me wrong, I love the Trangia but with all its extra bits (extra pot, skillet, wind break) it was just extra weight. In total there six of us were walking and unfortunately we didn't communicate properly beforehand: we had four stoves between us which was just crazy. This simple mistake meant extra weight! By the end of Day Two I was exhausted and a massive gold ball sized blister was forming on the arch of my foot. This would ultimately be the reason I had to finish early. Also due to Loch Lomond camping bylaws we had to hike partly up Ben Lomond to get out of the permit zone which added to our tiredness woes. Nice little spot in the end though.

Day three I could barely walk on my left foot. The blister was agony and every step was pain! Took two Nurofen and my friend who was a nurse fed me an extra two Paracetamol for the pain. This stage was tough, lots of rocky scrambles up and down the banks of Loch Lomond. I tried to stay positive but my foot was so painful even with the medication. Maybe it was the fact I hadn't broken in my new Salomon Quest boots or maybe it was the Smart Soles I had installed that caused the blister, I have very flat feet and the arch of my left foot particularly sticks out on the right side and my thinking is that this part of my foot was slowly being jagged by the Smart Soles plastic housing. It was a beautiful walk but unfortunately I couldn't enjoy it, the pain was too great and the pure endurance took over all enjoyment! By the time we reached Beinglas I had started to consider pulling out. This was a great wee campsite which I would highly recommend for great facilities and a nice pub! Also managed to catch up with some other people we met during the Way, which I would like to point out had a great community spirit and we found ourselves bumping into people every couple of stops, meeting people from Germany, America and England all enjoying the great Scottish scenery.

Day four I decided to pull out, my foot was beginning to show signs of infection so I hobbled to Crianlarich where I got the bus home. Will definitely continue the West Highland Way on a later date but until then i'm resting my infected, swollen foot and with the help of some strong antibiotics I hope to be out walking again soon! In the future I will aim to carry at least half of the weight with me.

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Comments: 11


Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: The Bow Bar
Mountain: Stac Pollaidh
Place: Achiltibuie
Gear: Pretzl E Lite Headtorch
Member: None
Ideal day out: Camping on the west coast near Ullapool or a gentle walk through the serene Cairngorms national park
Munro rounds: 1
Corbett rounds: 1

Munros: 39
Corbetts: 2

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Trips: 1
Distance: 74 km

Joined: Mar 02, 2017
Last visited: Dec 07, 2019
Total posts: 1 | Search posts