Yesterday’s walk was shorter than usual partly due to the hangover forced on me by fellow walkers. Today’s walk was also a mere 12 miles into Fort William where I am stocking up with supplies and sorting out my kit. Top priority was boots.
Fort William has more outdoor shops than any town could possibly need – every second shop is catering for the massive West Highland Way market. Having finish the WHW my memories of it are wonderful. The views are awesome – they almost moved me to tears. To wake up in a Scottish Glen surrounded by mountains with snow in gullies and clouds forming around their peaks, with the sun creeping over the horizon sending beams onto a distant loch, and realise that you are the only human to witness this show is very special indeed. Every day, every hour, the show is different. The interaction of sun and shadow on this landscape is fantastic but I think It might be a somewhat different experience in a winter blizzard. Strangely, I also enjoyed the interaction with people. I tend to be a bit of a loner when walking but I really enjoyed the comradery and the banter between the walkers on the WHW – it was rather like the Santiago de Compostela.
Having said that, I’m looking forward to walking my next leg – The Great Glen across to Inverness. I think I will enjoy the Caledonian canal and also Nessie watching on the banks of Loch Ness and lots of solitude.I called in to Cotswold Clothing and told them I had purchased my boots from their Truro branch a few months ago and showed them their condition – within 10 minutes they had issued me with new pair. Once again I congratulate Cotswold Outdoor for their excellent service. I had a chat with the manager and he pointed out the difficulty in recommending a boot for the type of walk I was doing i.e. Fell walking, mountain/ hill scrambling, grass/ gravel canal tow paths, paved and unpaved forest tracks. Most modern boots are designed to suit one of these categories not all of them.
I would also point out that, touch wood, I haven’t had any blisters yet unlike most of the walkers I have met on the WHW.
Staying in a B&B tonight to catch up with my washing.Congratulation to all my new friends who are completing the West Highland Way and commiserations to those who have had to drop out through injury. Those who have finished and those who haven’t have undergone a remarkable life enriching challenge and I look forward to meeting you again on another hillside path…