The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 17 October 2008

Day 1 - Milngavie to Conic Hill

17 October
Distance: 17 miles
Weather: Showers
Number of people who mistook me for a boy: 1

After our marginally disturbed night under an approach flight path, we set off this morning, but not in the direction of the start of the WHW.

Being as purist about the route as is our custom (i.e. not very) we instead walked past Craigmaddie Reservoir and through Mugdock Country Park to pick up the WHW at a point more convenient to our starting location.

Once we reached the way, I'm afraid that I found the first stretches of it rather uninspiring, but it wasn't too long until we started seeing glimpses of hills, which is always a cheering sight - particularly when you're heading towards them.

Along the disused rly line we spied a distillery ahead, just a short stroll from our route, but rudely we passed by without popping in for a tour and a wee dram. Well, we were only 7 miles through our 17-mile day.

Gartness was reached just about lunchtime and handily it is the home for a rather good cafe - and surprisingly it was even open!

It is a smart establishment that serves excellent food (or at least my soup and sandwich was superb and Mick didn't complain about his baked potato with haggis and whisky cream either). It only took a glance around to see that it is well frequented by Ladies What Lunch. Well turned out Ladies What Lunch at that. We felt a little underdressed.

I can only blame my attire and dreadful case of hat hair for the man who intervened to tell me that I was using the wrong toilet door as I tried to enter the ladies. That's the seventh time this month that I've been mistaken for a boy (not that I'm counting). I really must buy some low cut tops, maybe in pink, and start wearing lippy more regularly. Or grow my hair.

Lunch over I was about ready to pitch the tent and have a kip, but with great resolve I walked by the campsite adjacent to the cafe, and the next one, just a mile or so further on.

Instead we stuck to the plan and pounded the road to Drymen, where a detour to the village was needed due to a lack of prior planning on the grocery front.

It was during the last three miles of the day, through some forestry and out onto more satisfyingly lumpy open land, that the showers became more frequent. Cruelly, it was also quite warm, so I was in and out of my overtrousers, wishing that I had selected my Cascadas after all.

Just after 4pm, just in the middle of a particularly heavy shower, we found ourselves a good pitch. It was also the only time during the day that we had people walking along a short way behind us (we did see three heavily backpacked people heading the other way this morning but otherwise a few dogwalkers have been the only people out and about). I wonder if they were perplexed at my behaviour as they passed, as I was just lying down trying out various positions on the ground for flatness.

Waiting a few minutes before pitching meant that we did it in the dry, but getting inside the tent a while later we did come to realise that we have a potential problem. Mick's overtrousers, which proved to be lacking the essential quality of waterproofness apparently weren't improved by Nikwaxing them. He ended today with rather wet legs - and the forecast is only getting worse over the next few days.

With clouds now around us and the temperature falling rapidly, we're looking forward to a hot meal and our sleeping bags. I may even listen to a whole chapter of Harry Potter tonight before falling alseep.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh. Hopefully Micks legs won't be too bad.

    If my Paramo hold out, he can borrow my waterproof trousers (which I'm taking just in case of double re-proofing failure).