Day 5 Tyndrum to Kingshouse 30 km. The beginning of the day was fairly easy-going.
The terrain was flat and easy underfoot. We stopped at The Bridge of Orchy Hotel for a hot chocolate. The views were fantastic and the hot drinks most welcome. Due to interminable rain we decided to enjoy the views from our dry and cosy surroundings.
As the day progressed, the rain continued. My trousers were damp and the idea of putting waterproof trousers over my already wet legs seemed as appealing as climbing into a brown paper bag.
Undeterred, however, we pressed on through the sheets of rain, and managed to speak with a handful of other walkers. The road eventually became bumpy proving difficult to traverse.
Thankfully though it wasn’t long before we spotted a sign for Glencoe Mountain Resort where we were to sleep for the night in another pod. This one was fairly similar to the first one we stayed at and cost slightly more – £65 for the night. Plus £1 for a five-minute shower. Dinner was fairly reasonable in a temporary portacabin as their restaurant had burnt down. I had jacket potatoes and beans, while Pat had a spicy bean burger fresh from the freezer.
Day 6 Kingshouse to Kinlochleven 17km
Waking up before 7am we rejoiced at the clear sky. The rain had gone. Clouds vanished. Our plan was to spend the morning at the ski center and take the ski lift to the top to see the views we missed the day before thanks to the rain and fog.
This said, as 9 o’clock approached, guess what. So did the rain as a blanket of white clouds blew in. We had already bought the ski lift tickets and figured it would be a waste not to use them. So, we ventured up. Sitting on a ski lift was fun for the first 5 minutes, but then we then proceeded to get very wet indeed and were able to see nothing but white clouds.
On arrival at the bottom, we decided to hide in our hut until we were kicked out at 11. By some miracle at 11am the rain stopped and the sun showed its face.
Our day of walking was spectacular – completely dry with magnificent views of the rolling mountains.
For days before, fellow walkers had been speaking about tackling Devil’s Staircase and their fear of doing so.
We found that it was actually very manageable. Not as hard as hills on the previous days.
On approaching Kinlochhevan we zig-zagged down the mountainside into town.
We had booked the Bank House. (We had only been able to book two nights as there was a festival on and demand for accommodation was high.) Luckily, the Bank House was extremely comfortable and we slept well.
We had a rest day there and watched the Skyline Festival. There were people doing an ultra-marathon along the mountain ridges and up Ben Nevis. Rather them than me. Absolutely crazy!
We also explored Kinlochleven, which is beautiful. There are waterfalls you can see and a stunning lake to walk around.
Day 7 Kinlochleven to Fort William 26.45 km, 5hrs 45 minutes
Our final day was to be a long one (distance wise). The walk itself was not too cumbersome. Possibly as we had a rest day and knew we were near the end.
The scenery, as per the entire trail, was magnificent. We passed a dilapidated house and wondered who used to live there.
Walking into Fort William, we were met with other walkers and a concrete town. It was strange being in a build up area, with busy roads again.
We walked past the original end of the West Highland Way sign, but Pat wanted us to reach the new end of the trail. Despite walking past our hotel, we powered on through Fort William in the rain.
The trail had been extended to end in the middle of town.
The end of the trail was a disappointment! A dirty sign that had seen better days! Nonetheless we had made it to the end.
It was time to dry off from the rain and eat a huge dinner.
Day 8 – Rest day in Fort William
Unsure exactly what to do on our final day we signed up for a boat ride and an escape room. Both of which were extremely fun.
The boat tour took us out to an island and we saw seals, including little baby pup seals. They were so cute. We learnt about the fishing industry and the history of Fort William. I would highly recommend taking a boat tour.
The escape room was also fantastic, really enjoyable. We also met up with my old work colleague and his partner for dinner which was lovely.
We had a great rest day before heading home for some much needed clean clothes. I have never enjoyed doing the washing so much.
The West Highland Way provided us with a brilliant adventure, one which we will remember for ever!
My one top tip for doing the West Highland Way would be to opt for luggage transfer. We used Ginger Routes who charged us £40 for the whole week for one huge suitcase. This meant we had dry clean clothes for each day and didn’t have to carry them. It was 100% worth it!