We’d put off a trip to the West Highland Way a couple of times, mostly on account of weather. But at some point you just have to strap on the wellies and go for it. So we did.
The WHW is the oldest (opened in 1980) of Scotland’s long-distance paths. It goes 96 miles from Milngavie in the south to Ft. William in the north. We chose three days’ worth of walking, right in the middle of the Way. Left Edinburgh and took the train to Glasgow, changing for the famous rail route that travels from Glasgow to Mallaig. Alighted at Crianlarich and headed a half-mile toward the trail. Forest, farm, and open fields followed.
When the Way came down out of the forest, we walked by wigwams and sheep and the old stomping grounds of one St. Fillan. Not only did we see the ruins of St. Fillan’s Priory, we also saw the Holy Pool – a place (once divided into male and female sides) where the waters were reputed to help with mental illness. (Between the two of us, we saw no improvement on that score.) St. Fillan was said to have one arm that luminously glowed in the dark, allowing him to study the scriptures at night.
At one point, we saw a nice fleece vest in the middle of the path. After checking the pockets for money (ha ha. ha), we hung it up on a post. A few minutes later we passed a young man walking the opposite direction without a backpack. A few minutes after that, after we got an oat bar at the tiny shop by the wigwams, we came upon another young man looking through his gear. He asked us whether we’d seen a fleece vest. Just then the other guy came along, vest in hand. Probably a good thing there was no money in the pockets.
Next, we passed the site of the Battle of Dalrigh, where Robert the Bruce allegedly had a bad time of it in 1306.
The landscape changed again as we neared the town of Tyndrum. It’s a milestone for people walking the entire WHW.
Tyndrum was our endpoint for the 6-mile day. We’d read about the Real Food Cafe and had a couple of truly bodacious lentil burgers w/chips.
Fun place. Then it was catching a bus back to Crianlarich for the night (Tyndrum was booked), where we checked in with help from our saucy host Charlie. Also nipped out for a quick drink at the Rod and Reel pub.
Every town in the UK has a World War I memorial. The statue in Crianlarich is especially evocative.
Next day: On to Bridge of Orchy.