Tobar nan Ceann Gang

The blog of a bunch of middle aged men trying to stay youthful…!

Apr-18-2012

Day Four – West Highland Way

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Day 4 (Saturday 7th April 2012)

Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven – 21 miles

The Day started well and once again we were away by 8am. The night’s sleep in the bunk house hadn’t been as good as the nights under canvas and tiredness was beginning to take its toll. From the Inn at the Bridge of Orchy the trail immediately entered some woodland before rising steadily up into the hills. It wasn’t long before we had obtained quite a decent height and the gap between the fit at the front and walking wounded at the back was already quite large.

Under the watchful gaze of the red deer patrolling the hill tops, the track passed over a summit ridge before dropping down to the Inveroran Inn on the banks of Loch Tulla. I took the opportunity to buy what proved to be a great bacon butty at the Inn which set me up well for the rest of the day. Despite the aches, I felt good – probably the best I’d felt so far on the walk which was great. From Inveroran we then took the Glen Coe drovers road which crosses Rannoch Moor all the way over to Kingshouse in the Glen Coe area.

The drovers road was wide and whilst reasonably flat it was made up of lots of tightly compacted larger stones that were uncomfortable for weary feet to walk on. Again Jock and Willie were out in front followed by me and Stuart who’s knees were really starting to ache and Marek who’s shin splints showed no signs of easing.

As we reached the far end of Rannoch Moor and passed the ski centre with its ski lifts swinging in the breeze, Hammy was waiting with the van for a short rest stop. From there we wandered down to the Kings House, watched the large groups of wild red deer roaming freely in the pastures beneath the magnificent Buachaille Etive Mor and then set off again towards Altnafeadh and ultimately the start of ‘The Devils Staircase’.

The Devils Staircase forms the upper part of the trail that passes out of Glen Coe. It zig-zags its way up the steeper sections and in truth, doesn’t really live up to its name. It is only made difficult by virtue of the fact that most climbers have already walked about 16 miles by the time they tackle it. There was a cairn at the top that provided a welcome photo opportunity and from there the track was largely downhill to Kinlochleven.

Having said that it was largely downhill would tend to mask the fact that it was a very tiring descent! As is often the case, the downhills can sometimes be the hardest and by the time we negotiated the large sweeping hairpins around the valley sides and reached Kinlochleven we were all feeling a little tired!

Tonight’s accommodation took the form of a garden shed that had bunk beds to sleep 4 people though not enough room to swing a cat! Hammy and Willie again camped out –another good choice! Dinner was had in the Bothy Bar of the adjoining hotel and after a couple of beers another early night was had in preparation of the final days walking.

Day Four Photo Gallery

Day Five