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 22 October 2008

Day 5 - Tyndrum to Kingshouse

22 October
Distance: 19 miles
Weather: morning: sunshine, showers and rainbows; afternoon: rain

With the rain hammering on the windows of the hostel at 7.30 this morning, I prepared myself for a wet walk. Fully waterproofed up, we stepped out of the door fifteen minutes later and found a clear blue sky. Now that was a pleasant surprise. Even so, it took a while and a couple of light showers before I decided that it was safe to remove the overtrousers.

The white topped hills looked particularly pretty against the startling blue sky and with the novelty of such good weather we drank in the scenery, which was particularly good today (or was it just that we could see it today?).

A couple of other walkers were passed between Bridge of Orchy and Inveroran, where we joined a road until it ended, whereupon we joined Telford's old road, which until 1933 was maintained as the main road across Rannoch Moor to Glencoe (that being the information imparted by an info board at the start of the track).

It may have been a good quality of road by the standards prevailing at the time it was constructed, but it's a dreadful surface to walk on these days, being very slippery, uneven cobbles.

Even with the less-than-pleasant surface, we made incredible time. At just gone 1pm we were 15 miles through the day, at Ba Cottage which was our intended pitch for the night.

Even though by this point the sky had long since clouded over and a persistent rain was falling, we decided to make the most of the spring we had in our steps and press on for Kingshouse.

With two snack stops and a quick lunch stop (made quick by the fact that it was still raining and shelter is not a feature of Rannoch Moor) we made the 19 miles (or 20 if you believe the Trailblazer guide) to Kingshouse in just over 7 hours, arriving before 3pm. It's seldom we walk that fast!

We had been tempted to continue on another couple or three miles, which would have put it within our grasp to finish the walk tomorrow. However, the greyness and wetness made it sensible to be happy with 19 miles covered.

Along the river we wandered, to find ourselves a pitch, the problem being the amount of standing water on what must ordinarily be pretty good pitches. It was looking hopeless for a moment, but then we realised that there was one more small, level patch slightly further upstream and to our relief it held no puddles.

Deciding that if we waited for the rain to stop before pitching we could be standing around for a jolly long time, we went for the world-speed-tent-erection title and were soon bundling our stuff and ourselves inside.

Since arriving the rain has come down yet more. Our reasonably dry pitch is reasonably dry no more. We have substantial puddles in the porch. Thank goodness for the extra groundsheet inside!

We feel quite at home where we are. It feels like our proper place. Like so many of our pitches in Scotland earlier in the year, we have rushing water right next to us and rain pattering above.


  1. I bet they don't have such good roads in the Yukon.

  2. Undoubtedly worse roads in Yukon, but having checked the stats, and ignoring the temperatures, they had better weather in the Yukon than we had in Scotland!