Walking: West Highland Way: 3

Woke up at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel to overcast skies and a fine breakfast.

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An apt message in the jam lid.
An apt message in the jam lid.

The West Highland Way climbs up from the bridge through a forest, then to a plateau that affords some stunning views.

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From the cairn – a summit called Mam Carraig – we began to descend, past a lone tree and a plaintive message.

IMG_2045IMG_2051IMG_2047Down to the tiny crossroads of Inveroran, where the little hotel (not much else there) has a long history. That’s Loch Tulla down there.

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We walked along a road for a bit, then passed through a gate and joined the old military road. It climbs over a rock path, edged by a mysterious forest.

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When the path reaches the top of this rise, you’re on the Blackmount, which will move you into Rannoch Moor. And this is why you walk here: Rannoch Moor is a desolate stretch of uninhabitable bog, allegedly the remotest place in Britain. The WHW cuts through a scenic chunk of it. There are no towns or shelter, so walking guides tend to carry warnings like, “This is where you should turn back if you doubt your safety.”

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A key safety tip is, of course: Don’t step off the path, lest ye sink into a bog.

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Pictures can’t capture the expanse of it. An occasional drizzle dried off our clothes quickly. We certainly look happy, anyway.

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We saw some people jogging this section. After having some wine (in order to lighten the backpack), we decided against that.

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There’s a cottage, Ba Cottage, or the ruins, that is. Who decided to live out here? How did that go? Good place for a picnic, anyway.

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After this long level stretch, the track begins to climb again. And looking behind us, we see that our timing was not bad – that cloud is approaching.

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And now the path leads pleasantly down, toward the highway, and Kings House hotel, and a ski resort.

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The landscape is dominated by the mountain Buachaille Etive Mór. We’re not going to Kings House, however; we’ve got a B&B booked in Glencoe village nearby.

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As we approach the highway, we see the group of European boys who’d passed us on the path. They’re waiting at the bus stop – you wouldn’t know it’s a bus stop, as it’s a roadsign for the ski resort, but supposedly the bus for Glencoe village stops here. We were planning to catch the 5:18, but it’s 3:20 and they say the 3:18 hasn’t come yet, so hmm – maybe we should wait a sec – and yep, there’s the bus. We flag it down (the bus will pass if you don’t), and settle in for the eye-popping 15-minute drive through the stupefyingly awesome glen. And we’ll leave it there, but a couple of nights in Glencoe are worth another post.

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