Tyndrum to Kings House
Another bad night’s sleep last night. Again, I think the day’s walk ahead was playing on my mind and the fact that I had to be up earlier than usual to get breakfast and get out the door.
After walking with Jonathan, or Ashley as he prefers to be called, we decided to meet up at breakfast and spend the day walking to Kings House together. Company for another day was a pleasing prospect so I was looking forward to the day.
Fortunately, the Guinness from last night wasn’t having any adverse effects as I got myself ready which I was extremely happy about.
Breakfast done, everything pretty much having been sorted out beforehand, Ashley and I headed off at 8:15am, the earliest start to a day’s walking I’ve had in a very long time. Instead of picking up the trail from behind the B & B we walked up the main street, if that’s what you can call it through Tynrdrum so that I could post off another postcard to Alice and Elisa.
That done we picked up the West Highland Way right by the post box and headed up the first hill of the day, luckily not taking us all the way up Coire Thoin, just the first 300ft of it from Tyndrum. It wasn’t too bad so it wasn’t long before we were at the top and following path round the contours of the surrounding hills for a couple of miles.
We took a break on a bridge over the railway line. I don’t think either of us really needed the break but Ashley suffers from back problems and what with my feet, it was probably a good idea to take regular breaks.
The path was pretty boring I suppose all the way to Bridge of Orchy where we went under the railway line past the hotel there. We didn’t stop, tempting though it was for me I must admit, as we weren’t even through the day’s walk.
Just past Bridge of Orchy we had a bit of a climb, one of the long drawn out ones, up through the woods and up and over Mam Carraigh. It wasn’t the worst climb I’ve had to do on the walk but for some reason my pack just wasn’t playing ball today. I couldn’t get it to sit comfortably and it was really beginning to hurt my hips, making the hill climb a lot more taxing than it should have been.
Over the hill we came to Inveroran hotel, again not stopping at the hotel, but we did take a little break on the wall of the bridge over the river outside the hotel. The weather was beginning to close in by now but it wasn’t too bad, just a bit chilly that was all.
Break over with, we had a little road walking to do, not too far though, and I think we only had one car pass us on the mile and a half stretch so it wasn’t too bad unlike some roads I’ve had to walk on on this trip.
If I thought the last climb was drawn out then I’d not seen anything yet. The climb up the old military road to get over to Kings House hotel just went on and on, and up and up. It wasn’t a particularly steep climb but boy did it take a while to finally over the top. I guess the only saving grace of the climb was the fact that Ashley and I were pulling a pretty decent pace and overtaking people again – I’m beginning to like the fact that I can do that.
One problem though: the stone path was really beginning to cause a problem with the heel on my right foot which was beginning to really annoy me. After all this time, to start suffering a problem like that wasn’t a happy thought. I carried on though, determined to make it to the end.
As we came over the top and looked down over the valley towards Kings House the mountains were absolutely stunning. I only wished we weren’t in a mini procession of people as it kind of took away the feeling of isolation of the place. It was an impressive view though with the mountains shrouded in mist and clouds that’s for sure.
The final mile and a bit seemed to take forever and my feet were really beginning to hurt quite badly now. We made it to Kings House hotel by 3:45pm meaning we’d covered the nineteen miles in seven and half hours, including breaks, which I was very pleased with.
As the day went on Ashley almost convinced himself that he was going to walk on to Kinlochleven, my stop for tomorrow. This would have been another nine miles on top of the nineteen for the day – madness if you ask me! As it happens, when we arrived at Kings House hotel there were a lot of other people camping outside so he decided to stay and pitched up.
Ashley and I had a really good chat about life, the universe and everything over dinner and, again, far too many pints before a day’s walking – five this time, with me finally finding some decent real ales to sample! It was a great evening though, even if it did make writing this update late and somewhat tricky after the pints. Apologies if it doesn’t seem up to my usual standard.
Completing the best part of nineteen miles in seven and a half hours – with breaks – was a great achievement today. Ok, the path for the most part was reasonably flat but there were a few nice climbs along the way. I suspect the fact that Ashley and I were walking together played a part in that as I’m sure we pushed each other along. We both made it though which is the main thing, even if my feet were somewhat painful by the end of it.
It’s a shorter day tomorrow, with the somewhat ominously named Devil’s Staircase. I’m also really looking forward to seeing Steve and Jill tomorrow in Kinlochleven. It seems like such a long time ago I popped up to Ayr to see them even though it was just a few months ago.
We’ll see if the beer affects my walk, which I hope is a definite no! Ashley, you are a bad influence on me my friend!