I’ve spent a good chunk of today sitting on the floor, surrounded by books and maps, and scratching my head at some length.
Our lack of experience of walking in Scotland (we’re actually supposed to be there right now, coming into the final week of a two and a half week jaunt that was aimed at gaining a bit of experience in the general areas where we are to walk next year) is proving to be something of an impediment to all of this planning. I’m also finding that it’s just not feasible to fit in all of the places in Scotland that I’d like to visit (some of those will have to be reserved for our first TGO Challenge).
The one place that I really want to visit on the walk is the Falkirk Wheel, so thus far I’ve planned a route from the border up to Falkirk.
From Falkirk, the result of all of the head scratching has been a list of five possible routes (albeit some are just minor variations on a theme):
1. Falkirk – Drymen – WHW – Fort William – Glen Affric – Inverlael – Oykel Bridge - Lairg – Kinbrace – Dunnet Head – JOG
2. Falkirk – Drymen – a route east of the WHW via Brig o’Turk, Killin, Bridge of Gaur and Laggan to Fort Augustus – Glen Affric, then as Route 1.
3. Falkirk – Drymen – WHW to Tyndrum – then a route to the east of the WHW to Bridge of Gaur the as Route 2.
4. Falkirk – Kilsyth – Kippen – Callander – Crieff – Aberfeldy – Pitlochry – Blair Atholl – Larig Ghru – Aviemore – Inverness – Dingwall – Oykel Bridge – then per Route 1.
5. Falkirk – Kilsyth – Kippen – Brig o’Turk then as Route 2.
To whittle this list down, it has been a process of elimination.
My starting point was that I didn’t want to include the WHW into our route, so that rules out Route 1.
I really would like to include the Larig Ghru; however, Husband used to live in north east Scotland and has driven up and down the A9 more times than he would care to think about. For that reason, he doesn’t fancy a route that runs up by the A9. So, that rules Route 4 out.
That leaves us with three possibilities, two of which at least touch the West Highland Way (and it just seems a bit counter-intuitive to me to go all the way west to go north when you could just head north west). So, I think that I’ll start by plotting Route 5 and see how it looks. If we don’t like the look of it, then it will be back to the drawing (or plotting) board.