David and I had a good chat in the dormitory about his next day’s walking, i.e. mine after my rest day, and supposedly this is described as possibly the toughest section of the West Highland Way with lots of roots and boulders on the path to deal with. I’m glad I decided to take a day off before tackling that section, especially with my right heel the way it is at the moment.
I slept ok last night making sure I put my ear plugs in – we had another snorer – and woke up at my usual time. The bed wasn’t exactly the most comfortable and the mattress was all springs, leaving a few aches and pains. All in all though not really any worse or better than any other night on this walk so far.
Another reason I was glad for the day off today was the weather. They’d forecast rain over night with some showers throughout the day but what we actually got was rain all night and wind and rain as we all started to get ourselves ready. It wasn’t a very nice morning at all and it would certainly have made the walk for me today somewhat challenging. I was glad I didn’t have to walk in it, well, other than to the pub later maybe, but that would do.
Everyone else in the room was busy sorting out the kit for the day which made it a little weird to be just sitting around doing not a lot. Like a lot of people I’ve met along the way they were all using a Sherpa service to ferry their kit from one stop to the next, leaving a much lighter day pack for the walking. It’d be nice to do that for a bit of the walk for sure, but after getting this far carrying everything on my back I’m not about to start now, regardless of how hard the next section may be. I’ll find that out tomorrow, as will you all no doubt when I write about how bad it possibly was.
I got chatting to some of the guys – Matt, Steve and Martin – while they were getting ready. They decided to walk the West Highland Way as a holiday, which I guess makes the use of the Sherpa service ok…just. We talked about my walk, where I’d been and then compared notes on the Pennine Way as Matt at least had done it before.
One thing that cropped up in conversation with the guys over the last two days was the fact that Clive and Matt were in similar situations to me. Their wives had left them too which had been part of the reason for taking up long distance walking. How strange is that? Is this some sort of rite of passage back in to singledome again? Maybe this needs investigating further and a government grant is in order to see whether or not this is some deep-rooted part of the male psych? Either that or we’re all just mad…you choose.
It wasn’t long before they all had to head off into the horrible weather. I hope their walks went ok. Sitting in the lounge of the hostel I could only just see the shore line on the other side of the loch due to the rain, it really was horrid out there!
As the weather was so bad the hostel stayed open for the day. Normally they’d shut between 10am and 3pm but as there’s not a lot to do around here other than sit on the beach or go for a walk, they stayed open. This meant that the people staying there not doing the West Highland Way could relax in the lounge out of the rain. Very nice of them to do that.
Not being in a big town for my day off actually meant I could spend the day relaxing. Granted, the thought of just sitting around doing nothing isn’t really my cup of tea, but I’m sure my body would be very grateful for a proper day off.
I sat in the lounge and finished off yesterday’s write-up and tried to sort out the remainder of my schedule. After Fort William there are going to be a couple of tough, long weeks to get to the end of this adventure, only taking one rest day in the middle of the final 192 miles. I’m sure I’ll be ok!?!
That done I went back to my bunk and lied down for a bit listening to my iPod. It was still horrible outside and as I’d got a packed lunch sorted out I didn’t have to go anywhere just yet.
It was nice to actually spend a rest day properly resting but me being me I got a bit on the bored side. I also knew I had things I needed to catch up on, like photos and blog posts after not having working wifi for a couple of days. So, while listening to my tunes I found a spot in the room to put my phone where it had a signal and started the long task of uploading the photos from the last week almost.
By the time I’d finished doing that, and recharged my phone, the rain had stopped. It was gone 3pm by now so I put my coat on, grabbed my bag of gadgets – I never leave that in the room! – and headed to the pub for a drink, the idea being that while enjoying my pint and then dinner I’d sort out at least one of the missing blog posts from the last two days of walking.
I managed to do pretty good and got both days 52 and 53 sorted out before phoning the girls. I managed to have a little chat with both of them again so that put a smile on my face.
Knowing that I’d already had two pints and that if I sat in the pub any longer I’d drink more – never a good thing before a day’s walking, especially if it’s going to be wet and tough – I left the pub and walked back to the hostel.
I had a good chat with a guy who was staying in the room. Sven was over from Holland to walk the West Highland Way and this was the end of day two for him. He was camping last night but everything got soaked through due to the torrential rain over night and today so he decided to take a night at the hostel to try and dry out properly before attacking the next day’s walk.
He was a nice chap and we really had a good chat about life, the universe and everything, both having been through some challenging times lately. What was I saying earlier about blokes turning to walking when the chips are down?
While we were chatting another guy came in – John – soaked to the skin. We got to chatting, both assuming that the other one was walking the West Highland Way but as it happens, he’s walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End. He too ask his work for the time off but in the end put his notice in to complete his adventure. Fair play to you John!
He won’t be following a similar route to mine on the way down as he’s already walked the Pennine Way but he’s thinking about heading down to the Lake District from Glasgow. He’s taking a rest day tomorrow to try and figure out where he’s going. Personally, I don’t think I could have started this walk without knowing where I was going to be every step of the way, but maybe that’s just me.
Good luck John for the rest of your walk. I hope you manage to sort out a good route and enjoy every moment of it, both the good and the bad. At the end of the day, as a good friend of mine said, when you look back on it the good will far outweigh the bad!
Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow for my walk to Inverarnan. If it’s still raining then I’ll just have to deal with it and be extra careful along the way. Hopefully things will have dried up a bit over night…fingers crossed, but it’s not looking hopeful as it’s starting to tip it down again!
If you want to find out more about this day you can see the photos I took.