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WEST HIGHLAND WAY


“IF YOU ARE THINKING OF DOING THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY, GO DO IT. THE SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT LASTS FOR YEARS”


Top right: It’s all getting too much


for Iain who decides that the final 500 metres should be cancelled!


Right: the intrepid


adventurers at the end of their journey


DAY SIX


Kingshouse to Kinlochleven, 9 miles Terrain: Big ups and big downs – Te Devil’s Staircase... Highlight: Te amazing view of the Buachaille Etive Mòr, probably one of the most photographed views in Scotland. Accommodation: Blackwater Youth Hostel. Nice walk away from Kingshouse along the tarmac


covered path, eventually you get to the start of the Devil’s Staircase at the side of the A82, the main road through Glencoe. Te hill is steep so the path weaves its way up and over the top, then back down the other side. Once you’re over the top of the hill, it’s a little exposed, but with a map and compass it would be ok - for us the weather was fantastic so we were fine. Two of the guys were very slow on the uphill, but they had no problems with the downhill so soon caught the group and overtook again – returning our cheeky comments of how slow they had been with words of encouragement such as “keep up!” We got pretty annoyed with them as they videoed me struggling with sore knees on the downhill section - it wasn’t a good look! Short mileage today but that was just right…


TRIP ESSENTIALS... What you take on the Way is a personal decision and getting it just right requires experience. If you are new to long-distance walking, the following tips may help. Te main consideration is a sensible balance between comfort, safety and manageable weight. Make sure you take plastic bags for your rubbish which must be carried to a


disposal site and NOT left in the countryside. You can either camp or stay in lodges, hotels or bunkhouses. Remember, camping means you’ll have to carry your gear. It’s vital to have the right footwear and weather protection. Scotland is very unpredictable! Insect repellent is another must, as you’ll be eaten alive without it during the summer months!


DAY SEVEN


Kinlochleven to Fort William, 16 miles Terrain: A good path mainly following old military roads. Highlight: Te final downhill miles as we descended and reached the end of the WHW – what an achievement and a great feeling! Accommodation: Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. Definitely the hilliest day, more than twice the ups and


twice the downs. Basically a fair walk up and a long descent back down to Fort William’s level. We had various friends who joined our core group for


different parts of the trip, which was nice. Te last day was no exception - hard lesson for one of them though. He found his boots were totally inappropriate for the job; he really struggled with the final few miles. Great feeling walking into Fort William, we’d done it. If you are thinking of doing the West Highland Way, stop


thinking and go do it. Te sense of achievement will last for years.


2012 SCOTTISH HOSTELLER 65


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