West Highland Way

Friday 17 May. Bea did the West Highland Way 2 years ago and had poor weather on the section from the Glencoe Ski Station to Kinlochleven. I thought that it would be a good idea to do this today so that we could all share the views. It was one of those odd walks where there was more down than up but it was still difficult enough at 9.6 miles with 1,630ft of ascent and 2,530ft of descent.

As it was a linear walk, this meant that we had to catch a bus from Glencoe village to the start and another bus from the finish back to our cars. The first bus was City Link from the Isle of Skye to Glasgow. I hadn’t realised that you had to book a seat in advance and although it was fairly full, the driver agreed to let us get onboard. His ticket machine couldn’t calculate the fare for the near 10 mile trip so he let the 3 of us ride for free. A couple who got on at the next stop and got off before us weren’t so lucky and were charged £6.50 each. As we were tied to the timing of this bus, it meant that we didn’t start our walk until just before midday.

The views throughout the walk were superb with the massive Buachalle Etive Mor (3,300ft) dominating the early part of the walk. The first 4 miles or so of the walk ran parallel and a little above the line of the A82 heading towards the top of Glencoe. From here there was an 800ft climb up the Devils Staircase to the highpoint of our walk. It wasn’t so much of a staircase but more of a winding slog up the side of Stob Mhic Mhartuin to the hause which gave way to the descent to Kinlochleven. This downward section wasn’t too bad to start with but seemed interminable as it entered a series of zigzags through a forested section prior to Kinlochleven. I was certainly relieved and exhausted when we had completed this particular descent of 1,800ft. Our aim was to catch the 17:20 bus back to Glencoe village and we made it to the bus stop with just 10 minutes to spare. This was our first day without a rain shower and the sun shone for most of the time out on the hill.

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