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]

Thursday 6 May 2010

Day 44 - beyond Kingshouse to Glen Nevis

Wednesday 5 May
Distance: 19 miles? (Tot: 755 miles; >75% complete)

Last night was spent in the cloud. As soon as darkness fell, down came the cloud, so it was damp and drizzly all night, although I only noticed one spell of light rain.

Given the forecast, I expected this morning still to be dreary, and indeed there was cloud right down in the valley. However, there was then a big clear gap, before the high cloud above the summits.

In fact, the forecast turned out to be entirely wrong. The day was fine, often sunny, with high cloud, and seldom was there any noticeable breeze.

So, did we modify our route to take in the tops? 'Fraid not. We had come up with a desire to reach Glen Nevis by the end of the day (going for distance in lieu of height), and that's what we stuck to.

I'm sure that being up high would have been spectacular, but we've not walked that section of the WHW before. It was a fine day to enjoy it and there was a lot to enjoy in terms of surroundings.

Even better, having reached the foot of Devil's Staircase by about 8am, we were ahead of the people leaving Kingshouse, and having not left Kinlochleven until gone 11 (after a late and substantial second breakfast in one of the hotels), we were behind those who had started from there this morning. It was a good few hours before we caught up with the masses, which coincided with when people were coming the other way too, so it was a sudden glut of people followed by almost solitude again.

Pass people we did, although today it was mainly because they had stopped. Our speed was much lower today, partially because of the horrible rocky and loose surface of the track, which went on for miles, and partially because we paused so often to take photos of our magnificent surroundings.

You might have thought that, having met the rally in Kielder Forest, we had had our share of motor events for this walk, but thanks to being so far ahead of ourselves, we today placed ourselves perfectly to run into the SSDT (Scottish Six-Day Trials) motorbike event. Although a few bikes displaying "Official" or "Press" passed us during the day, we didn't encounter any serious action until we were about four paces from the end of the stage, when three bikes came past us.

Having already decided lunch was required at that point (it being gone 2.30), Mick made a quick detour to talk to an official. It turned out that those three bikes were the first of 300 due through the stage between then and 8pm, and as we sat up on the bank eating oatcakes and cheese (spiced up with purloined sachets of brown sauce), plenty more came through. Glad we didn't tarry longer in Kinlochleven or it could have become an unpleasant game of dodge-the-bike along that track!

Late afternoon saw us enter a forest (techically it was the third forest of the afternoon, but the other two had long been felled), and there the underfoot conditions improved from the earlier miles of nasty-track, and for a forest it was quite lovely.

Then came the disappointing last few miles of the Way proper. The delightful forest path merged with a nasty scar of a track, made from unconsolidated aggregate, and on that scar of a track we were to continue until Glen Nevis.

I'm sure that any fatigue that crept into today was entirely psychological, with the knowledge that tomorrow we have a rest day (our first in over a month). That rest day threatened to become 2 days when we arrived at the campsite to learn that our parcel hadn't arrived. The prediction was that it wouldn't be here until at least Friday, what with it being a bank holiday week (it was posted first class last Saturday, at which time we didn't expect to be here until Friday or Saturday).

Having set up the tent we were just considering our options when Margaret from the campsite reception came trotting over with our parcel, which had been overlooked somewhere. That was a relief!

So, just one rest day it is, before we head back out for our final couple of weeks of northwardness.

(Martin: Beinn na Caillich did look particularly fine, and the path up couldn't have been more clear and obvious. A hill for another day...)
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. Wimps!
    And there I was, thinking you had taken up Marilyn Bagging!

    Word = 'griss'

  2. Have you voted?

  3. Hey guys, glad to hear your walk is going well and I hope you enjoy your rest day!

    Last weekend I did my first ever multi-day walk: the first three days of the Ridgeway in Wiltshire/Oxfordshire. I've started a proper walking blog now so feel free to come over and have a look at

  4. It's all seems to have gone so quickly. Difficult to believe that you are on the last stage! However, you've probably saved the best until last. Have fun!

  5. Ah, Margaret. She's a sweet woman. I wish all sites had 'a Margaret'!