Kinlochleven to Fort WilliamJuly 4, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C
Wow it is tough to believe but today was the last day of my West Highland Way hike. The BnB I stayed in last night was fine. I had a good night's sleep. It had seven rooms. I don't know why retired people take on such a burden in their retirement. The seemed a little harassed over breakfast but who wouldn't. Maybe my retired friend Ray will open a BnB to keep himself busy in retirement. My advice is to start small and do it as a hobby. The decoration was mid century clutter. They had hundreds of Doulton figurines. The owner drove a Land Rover but I not sure it would be worth it. I bought some sandwiches from a sandwich shop run by a very attractive hipster looking woman. She had been outside the afternoon before having a fag and she had given me directions to the BnB. The other option was the co-op grocery store but I owed her a favor and the town needed some major financial infusion. I not sure whether 5 pounds for sandwiches would be sufficient to rise the economy of the town however she seemed happy. She told me she had moved to Kinlochleven with her boyfriend from Glasgow who had grown up there and had opened up the shop 2 months before. Armed with a hearty hipster lunch and knowing that I had contributed to the economic well-being of a depressed town, I headed out . Immediately the trail climbed out of town for a good hour before leveling off on the pass. There were lots of people as traditionally everyone other than the campers do the Kinlochleven to Fort William stage on their last day. There are lots of day hikers and hikers only doing a few of the last stages. I met some Virginians from a group of 19 and wished them all a happy July 4, some retired British army soldiers with PTSD, a recent Cambridge graduate and more. There is a lot of comraderie on the trail, I try not to talk to people for too long. It was cloudy and overcast. I walked in my mustard hiking pants and red shirt for the majority of the time. Heavy rain was predicted for the afternoon but I got in before it started. There was a little light rain which I put my raincoat on but quickly overheated so took it off. I sat on a rock and ate my lunch with a beautiful view of the mountain pass with farmhouses and valley and sheep. It was very pretty. The descent into FW was on a logging road and not to steep. Once I hit the outskirts of town I walked for a long time on a sidewalk beside a road. I really wasn't use to being so close to traffic after eight days away from it. The path seemed to go on forever as it progressed into town. I got a little lost but eventually found the finish. There was a little line in the stone which I hopped over. I felt a little emotional. It is not often in my life that I have the opportunity to start something and through persistence see it through to completion in the course of a week There is a statue of John Muir sitting on a bench which it is traditional to have one's photo taken with on completion of the trail. Of course there were lots of people getting their photo taken who didn't look like they had walked even one segment of the trail and probably didn't understand the significance.
I enjoyed the hike. I think that I could have done it in 7 days. Compared to mountain hiking which is all I have experience with,it was easier. I think mountain hiking 15 miles per day would have taken things a few notches. That said I was blessed with good weather, no blisters and no musculoskeletal problems which had any of these arisen I would have been happy to have had an extra day to have completed the hike. I think the training paid off. I was tired at the ends of some days but not exhausted. I probably could have done it without training but it would not have been any fun. I don't think my son Andrew could have done it and I think that I made the correct decision insisting that he had to train if he wanted to come. As it is, he is at a white water canoe camp and it sounds as though he is having a better time there then had he come with me. My father who passed away from Parkinson's disease ten years ago had always wanted to do a multiday hike in the UK but ran out of health to accomplish this. I did the hike for myself but also in memory of old Ken. I wish that I could have done it with my Dad, we would have enjoyed doing it together. I bought a Mars bar today to celebrate my completion of the Way. My father loved Mars bars and I thought eating one would be a tribute to old Ken. Of course when I did finish the trail, I was very thirsty and I just wanted some water to drink. I will eat the Mars bar tomorrow for a treat and think about my dad.Read more