Archive for the ‘West Highland Way Moblog’ Category
Welcome to my mobile blog, or Moblog of my West Highland Way trip. All the below entries were made on my mobile phone so excuse the less than usual photo and grammar quality. In doing this I hope to have captured a rather different, and shall we say “spontaneous” record of this fantastic long distance walk. Enjoy!
Well, after a 6.30 am start and a 6 hour train journey we have arrived in Glasgow. With much to catch up on Michael and I have barely stopped talking. So far Michael has used the phrase “on the coast to coast” at least 6 times, but then ive said “on kilimanjaro” even more! Michael has his first mobile phone that wasn’t made in the stone age so during the train journey he discovered things like ‘sent items’ and ‘favourite numbers’ for the first time. Now in the pub drinking our first beer of the trip before we check out the inevitable vegan restaurant!
We are staying at the “Bunkum” hostel, Glasgow. I reckon there’s just about enough salt to go around here..
After a breakfast of vegan pancakes, rashers and fruit we are ready to set off from Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow. We have 10 miles to do today to the official start of the West Highland Way at Milngavie.
We have checked into our b&b – todays walk took 4 and a half hours. The weather was pleasant and terrain flat – mostly alongside a river. Anyway the picture is of the amazing sink in the bathroom – wow my hands seem so much cleaner! Oh and to continue a theme there is vegan soap and shampoo – Michael assures me he hadn’t known…
How many b&b breakfast bars have whiskey on them? We have 12 miles to do today to Drymen. (which is hopefully what we will remain!) actually note on pronunciation – our guide book has been very helpful there but we have realised we need to practise at least one day a head so we have a chance of answering the inevitable question “where are you going next?”.
This is an official part of the west highland way route honest! Just about to start a tour and tasting!
After a long day of walking including 2 miles of diversions to a castle and the whisky distillery we are dry men in drymen!
If there is no vegan food in town just mix tinned sweet corn, baked beans, green beans and jamaica jerk sauce in a stolen sauce pan and eat cold! Err yum!
Today we are walking alongside loch lomond. We are taking the ‘hard’ route over the hill on the right. We have had a few light showers this morning and have just stopped to issue repellent as when the rain stopped the midges came out in force! 14 miles to do today.
Weather has been great this afternoon. We are about an hour from our youth hostel. I made us stop for a pot of tea a couple of hours ago. Could do with another one now!
We are taking a day out of the west highland way to climb Ben Lomond (974m high). We made an early start at 8.30 because the weather is due to get worse this afternoo. The photo shows michael doing his daily stretching. Something he takes very seriously. I do some quick stretches and then use the time to post!
Update: Check out Michael’s serious video footage of the ascent.
We are actually down from ben lomond eating lunch now.. My fingers were too cold to post from the top. As you can see there wasnt much of a view. We did miss the rain though.
This lunch of bacon sandwhich, soup and iron bru hit the spot. For those who dont know iron bru is a scottish fizzy orange drink with a pretty unique taste. Ive also been using iron bru sweets to get me through the last hour of the walking day. They are yum! By the way when we turned up yesterday the smell in our room was so bad we almost left again! I said it probably wasn’t any of the other guys and was likely the room itself. So it was a night of propping open the door with a chair and me sleeping with my nose in my arm pit (far preferable!). Then after one particular guy left it got remarkably better. Hmm. How.. unfortunate. Anyway, all is well smell wise today. Tomorrow we are back on the west highland way for another 14 mile walk.
This is Tikka the dog! We have shared much of this mornings walk with her. We are at the half way point of the day and have stopped for the inevitable pot of tea.
If you need a 10 minute break simply point out some interesting wildlife such as a little frog in the grass!
This is Lina from columbia – she joined our walk for the afternoon greeting us with – L: “where are you going?” T: “Inveranan” L: “can i come?” M: “sure!” … She has now left us by bus to meet with her friend. We are staying a wigwam tonight. Picture maybe in the morning when it has stopped raining!
This is where we slept last night. Not what id think of as a wigwan but still quite unusual. We have 20 miles to walk today. Best get on with it!
Our bed for the night! Yep! We really are staying on this railway platform; well in the converted waiting room anyway. It’s a working line as well!
My reading material for the trip is Michael’s second book Pandora’s sisters. How many people get the chance to read a novel with the author around 24/7 to quiz about it! Enjoying it so far. This is our bunk bed on the railway platform. I’m on the middle level. Michael below.
Just 8.5 miles to do today, though that does include an ascent out of the valley we are in known as “The devils staircase”. We have been warned that Kinlochleven is a nest of roadside banjo playing, inter bread folk and that they may not let us ever leave..
This is the highest point on the west highland way at 259 metres. With our new found legs of solid muscle we laugh at 259 metres!
They have to start somewhere! Not shown is its larger twin on the other side of the path, together making the soon to be famous corrigan-fuchs gateway. Anyway, today we have 12.5 miles to do to glen nevis, at the foot of ben nevis. Assuming they let us out of kinlochleven that is..
We are going up there either tomorrow or tuesday depending on weather. At 1344 metres high the photo really doesnt do it justice. A guy called clement wragge once climbed it every day for two years to take weather readings.
Here is a closer picture during our descent into glen nevis. You may be able to see michael in the middle of the picture. Anyway forecast is not great for either of the next two days. We have an additional problem that michael seems to have developed a shin injury and had to hobble his way to the pub. So we will get up in the morning and take stock of the weather and injury situation..
Weather is poor both today and tomorrow so we are giving michael’s leg time to recover. Though stuck inside for a whole morning so far we dont quite no what to do with ourselves. Strange to not be walking anywhere..
Just starting our ascent, late due to chance of weather improving this afternoon. (rain instead of heavy rain) this information from the mountain weather forecast, though to be honest we might as well have used this stone..
Well we are down from the mountain and tucking in to.. well most of the menu! It was a great walk. We did get some fleeting views through the clouds on the way up but nothing to write home about (blog about?). We had very seriously considered a more difficult route via the arete around the north face (known as cmd route), but michaels ankle and poor weather ruled that out, though we would like to come back and do that some time. Aside from that… What peak should we do next then? Suggestions in comments please..
2 miles into fort william and we have reached the end of the west highland way. We have 10 hours of trains now back to london. Thanks for following our trip – look out for michael’s detailed writeup with some of the stunning photos he’s been taking and some of the comedy video clips we’ve been making soon.