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]

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

WHW: Ready!

The Bag
In my mind, in backpacking terms, it is winter. That means that my PHD Minim 300 sleeping bag which has seen me through so many comfortable nights this year has been retired until next year. My powerstretch gloves have been supplemented with my Buffalo mitts. My powerstretch beanie has been supplemented with my Lowe Alpine Mountain Cap.

My ‘summer’ kit fitted nicely in my OMM Villain, but with a full bag of food, space could get tight in there. I couldn’t see the winter set-up squeezing in, so I didn’t even try it. Out came my Osprey Aura 50, which has sat unused since February.

It’s been a trial to fit everything into it. Theoretically, it should all slot in just fine. Indeed, I’ve used it with bulkier items. I think that the problem has been that I’ve become so used to packing the Villain that the Aura has forgotten where everything goes. I’m sure that it will get used to its contents over the next few days and that by the weekend everything will fit fine (plus, of course, I’ll have eaten some of the dehydrated meals by then, which always helps free up some space).

The Weather
The good news is that the weather forecast for the rest of this week is looking significantly better than when I first looked at it at the end of last week. The bad news is that it still looks inevitable that we will be encountering heavy rain and strong winds.

It must be down to the law of averages: having completed the coast-to-coast without a drop of rain, we’re now due a week of wet and windy walking (just to add to the three and a half weeks of rain we had when we walked through Scotland earlier this year).

Time Management and Hair
It’s all been a bit hectic. How in the world I ever made in away on holiday in time when I used to work for a living I do not know. However, we did get through the job list in the end, which is how we are now sitting here all packed and ready to go.

The only thing that I did want to do, yet didn’t manage to squeeze into the day, was a trip to the barber. My hair was getting a bit long (probably approaching three-quarters of an inch!) and I did want a trim (to minimise the incidents of hideous-hat-hair and to reduce drying time, you understand).

There was only one thing for it: I appointed Mick as hairdresser for the evening and handed him the clippers as soon as we got home. I’m impressed by the result. And there wasn’t even an utterance of ‘oops’ followed by ‘I’m sure no-one will notice’, which is an improvement on when he last made the mistake of letting me loose on his hair!

The Plan
I have put together my usual itinerary for this trip, which makes assumptions as to how we will split the walk. Past performance would suggest that we will deviate from the plan, but here it is all the same:

Day 1 – Milngavie to before Conic Hill
Day 2 – before Conic Hill to Rowchoish
Day 3 – Rowchoish to Inverarnan
Day 4 – Inverarnan to Tyndrum
Day 5 – Tyndrum to before Kingshouse
Day 6 – before Kingshouse to Kinlochleven
Day 7 – Kinlochleven to Glen Nevis

It’s a leisurely itinerary (a day longer than the first time I planned it, way back when), but we’ve got a few days spare and there’s no benefit in us getting to Fort William a day earlier, so we may just as well take our time over getting there.


  1. May I recommend the cafe at White Corries? just before the Kingy. Great food and a superb view and comfy chairs too! Just walked that section. Forecast is indeed rather interesting!

  2. hope you enjoy it as much as i did when geoff and i did it in may :-) BTW it rained most days :-(

  3. Gayle, Mick - have a great time - we'll be thinking of you as we stride through the dunes in our t-shirts. You say you have spare time. You are probably aware that beside your rather dull (that's only my opinion, of course, and many would disagree) route are some of the finest mountains in Scotland. If weather permits you should really, really, really try to go via one or two of them.
    Have fun.
    Martin and Sue