DAY 14: Kinlochlevin to Kingshouse – 9.7 miles *WHW day 2
Today is the day! The excitement of seeing my mum and sister later, definitely helped drag my heavy body from my warm cabin, up to breakfast and then back out onto the West Highland Way. Also today would be a shorter day – under ten miles to the Kingshouse Hotel – and of course I was still carrying a lighter load. Skirting the town for the first mile or so the track led over several rivers and next to one large weir, before the fairly steady climb commenced.
Up and up and up it until there was no more valley, no more vegetation; just the uneven wet path as it continued around the exposed side of the mountain… and with the weather drawing in, thick wet mist hung in the air and the icy winds became stronger. I again ask myself why I chose to take this route through Glasgow and not the more obvious less arduous through Edinburgh. Especially finding out that people often do the West Highland Way for charity and yet for me it was only a means of getting from A to B. I curse myself for my total lack of research. Already knackered after the first two weeks in the extreme north, I realised that I am now in the midst of two back-to-back inca trails, and when that’s all done, I’ll still wind up north of Glasgow! I wondered if I got on a plane right now to Fiji and simply walked round and round an atoll for another 8 weeks – backward if need be – whether I’d still raise the same charity money?
Now I couldn’t even see the faces of those who treked past as most were covered in numerous layers as they too battled through the elements. I wondered why most of these people have chosen to do this – for fun – using up potentially their only annual leave of the year. Basically this was my holiday from hell. A Fijian atoll, a beach in Greece, even my mums back garden… anywhere but right here. My only saving grace was the fact I wasn’t carrying all my stuff, I had a bed already planned for tonight, and I was coming down off the mountains via the Devils staircase – a notoriously steep section of the route – rather than having to go up it.
Arriving at the bottom of the staircase numb and knackered, I then had about another hour of track which run parrallel to the main road until I reached the Kingshouse Hotel, where I would be meeting my mum and sister. I was running late but it turned out their flight had been delayed at gatwick so I overdosed on hot drinks to de-thaw whilst waiting. Of course (as is common for the Cornell’s) they had also got lost trying to get out of Glasgow… but it was such a relief to see them when they eventually turned up. We left immediately to go find our hotel at the Bridge of Orchy, check in and get cosy. In a new set of clean clothes, we dined on haggis and steak in the hotel restaurant.