Woke up at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel to overcast skies and a fine breakfast.
The West Highland Way climbs up from the bridge through a forest, then to a plateau that affords some stunning views.
From the cairn – a summit called Mam Carraig – we began to descend, past a lone tree and a plaintive message.
Down to the tiny crossroads of Inveroran, where the little hotel (not much else there) has a long history. That’s Loch Tulla down there.
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.
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.”
A key safety tip is, of course: Don’t step off the path, lest ye sink into a bog.
Pictures can’t capture the expanse of it. An occasional drizzle dried off our clothes quickly. We certainly look happy, anyway.
We saw some people jogging this section. After having some wine (in order to lighten the backpack), we decided against that.
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.
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.
And now the path leads pleasantly down, toward the highway, and Kings House hotel, and a ski resort.
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.
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.