Thursday 28 March 2013

28/03/13: Kinlochleven to Fort William

Yesterday winter, today springtime. By breakfast the sun was up. Metcheck said it would be so, and it was. It stayed that away the entire day, which was to be a long one, longer, in fact, than we had imagined. More on that later.

First a 45-minute climb out of Kinlochleven. The view back down through the birch wood was glorious with both the village and loch bathed in sunshine. There was scant wind as we entered the long, long stretch through The Lairig, and the walk to picnic #1 in one of the deserted derelict buildings offered Kodak moment after Kodak moment. Despite the overwhelming sense of minuteness in the massive grandeur of the U-valley, the quality of the day made one want to linger.

Ten miles into the walk comes a point where there is essentially a choice between taking a B road for the last 4/5 miles into the west of Fort William, or the recognised WHW track into Glen Nevis on the east of town. We had booked a B&B in Glen Nevis, so were clearly going to use the path. A notice put paid to that by informing us that the path was 'impassable', and instructing use of the road. This tiresome route not only bruised the feet, but took us to the wrong side of town, thereby addiing 2/3 miles of tedious asphalt to get back out again to the B&B. Then, if you please, we discovered from two Polish walkers, who ignored the notice and used the path, that the grave danger was just two fallen trees, both of which were readily avoided. Impassable? It rhymes with rowlocks! Health & safety tosh yet again. A glorious 96-mile walk diminished by a jobsworth.

All done now, though. A hop to Penrith tomorrow, then on home via Manchester Airport for F&D on Saturday. NO RAIN at all during the walk. Amazing.

Kinlochleven village