Day 5 (Sunday8th April 2012)
Kinlochleven to Fort William – 15.5 miles
The final day and once again we were up and out at a good hour. Once again I was feeling good, Stuart still had sore knees, Willie’s blister was getting bigger but Jock was as strong as ever.
The day started with a bang as we were straight into a steep ascent of the hillside from the road outside the hotel. The path rose very steeply through a woodland over looking Loch Leven and the modern town of Kinlochleven. We were on a drovers road again and after the initial climb, the gradient lessened although the trail continued to climb towards a ridge as far as the eye could see.
The pace was good though on this terrain and we were eating up the miles as the track crossed the moorland and bypassed a number of abandoned and derelict old farmsteads. The weather on the last day was probably the worst of the trip – continuous drizzle for the most of the day. It wasn’t cold though which made it a pleasure to walk in shorts rather than long trousers.
Lunch was taken on a springy bed of moss and heather under the shelter of pine tree branches. Once finished we pressed on through large areas of forest, large areas of which were being chopped down leaving an unsightly series of stumps where the trees had once been.
It wasn’t long before we reached a viewpoint and we got our first glimpse of Fort William in the distance and Ben Nevis away to the right, shrouded in cloud to stop us from seeing anything more than the lower reaches of the mountain. From this point it was all downhill but there was still quite a long way to go. The numbers of passing people increased steadily as many people were out for the day over Easter Weekend, walking from Glen Nevis or Fort William.
As we wandered down towards Glen Nevis we could trace the outline of the path up Ben Nevis that we will be following when Stuart bears his backside at the top on his 50th birthday on 26th May –cant wait for that!
Eventually we reached the bottom and followed the road into Fort William. At the bridge before the road enters the town is the old finishing point complete with signage, shop, cafe and toilet facilities etc Unfortunately those responsible for local tourism have extended the walk into Fort William town centre in an effort to increase revenue in the town. We were all agreed that this was an unnecessary extension of the walk and resulted in no-one spending any more money than they would otherwise have done!
Well that’s it! Job Done! We just had time for a small celebratory drink in a local hostelry and a portion of fish and chips from the chippy before setting off back down the road for home… and that’s when it hit us… just how damned far 96 miles really is…!