LEJOG54: Kingshouse Hotel to Kinlochleven

I had got the bus to Fort William the previous day because my mum was spending a couple of days with me. I’d worked out that it was probably better to stay in Fort William which was a sizeable town with lots of facilities and get buses to and from the starting and finishing points of the next couple of days.

So because of this I found myself getting off a bus with my mum the following day. The morning had been sunny with clear skies, which as well as being more pleasant than the mist and cloud of the previous few days also meant a lack of midges (they don’t like direct sunlight). It was only when we got back onto the route that we discovered another important factor about the weather-it was amazingly clear. Sometimes when it’s hot and sunny there’s low visiblity. Me and Jenna found this out at Pen-Y-Ghent when after a day of blazing sunshine we reached the top and couldn’t see anything. Today was different. Everything was so clear you could make out each and every crevace and fold on the mountains in the Glen Coe valley. It was absolutely stunning. There were several Munros and Corbetts around us and the individual character of each one shone out-its craggyness, its greeness, its curves, spikes, points, anger, calm, poise, tension etc. etc. You could see why people got so obsessed by them because each one has the potential to be a completely different beast providing a compleyely different environment to experience.

Our route continued for a short way along the valley then headed over the northern range at a relatively low point. This meant we spent a lot of time looking over our shoulders at the mountains behind us as we ascended and the angle and view changed. Although the route passed over a low point, up what is known a the devils staircase, it was still quite steep.

After ten weeks at this I was ready and able to go charging straight up to the top, especially as I had a left the heavier items in my pack back at the Campsite‎. My mum however had not spent the past ten weeks doing little else but walk, in fact she’d spent the weekend at a two-day wedding celebration so you can imagine the state of her fitness! This meant I had to wait for her at practically every bend on the zig-zagging path to the top. However, the view was spectacular so I didn’t mind (too much!). Neither did my mum mind-she (a veteran of mountain walks) was completely blown over by the view as well.

At the top another surprise awaited us-a massive panorama of the mountain range containing Ben Nevis. It was so clear you could either stand back and enjoy the entire range continuing on for miles or focus on an individual mountain or bulge/gully. It was breathtaking and in combination with the weather made us feel like were in the Pyrenees not Scotland!

After spending a while eating our lunch and admiring the view we made our way down the other side. The route today was full of people, school trips, couples, groups of friends and the occasional solo walker. It was noticeably a much wider group of people than any I’d seen before on my trip. It included far more foreign tourists, and a greater range of interests from the fully kitted up mountain explorer to the more casual walker of whom you could imagine the west highland way was their first long-disance path. It made me realize just how much more of an international tourist location the Scottish highlands were, and how Fort William was the ‘high point’ of the trip. It was going to get less touristy and more isolated from here on in, and the dramatic-ness would be of a more stark flavour rather than the eye-popping spectacular-ness of this area.

If I’d let myself think too much about this I’d have realised it meant that in starting to approach this high point I was also getting to the beginning of the end of my trip. But I was enjoying the weather and my mums company too much to let such sad thoughts cloud my mind, and thus my mood remained as clear and sunny as the sky above us.

Sent from my iPhone

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