Sunday, March 11, 2007

Day 48 : Inverarnen to Inveroran

Saturday 3rd March 2007

Distance Walked: 21.6 miles
Start Time: 9:50
End Time: 17:32
Elapsed Time: 7:42
Weather: Changeable. Like pants.
Distance walked so far: 937.8 miles

Of all the paths, in all the country, the West Highland Way is my favourite. Like a good lover, it is gentle and forgiving and undemanding, whilst simultaneously providing access to the goodies. And like all the best partners, I've got it all to myself. Bet she’s a tart in summer, but in the grey morning rain it was just me and the trail, nuzzling each other in unspeakable ways.

After an enforced late start, waiting for the drab processed breakfast at the Drovers Inn, the day began inauspiciously in the wet gloom. Walking up hills through a film of rain is not much fun, especially when the clouds are so low that they obscure the view, but when the sun slowly started to emerge to display the mountains all around I began to forget the dampness and simply marvelled at the expansiveness of it all. If I’d ever dreamt of Scotland, this is the Scotland of my dreams.

And the West Highland Way simply slides straight through it, dipping up and down, but never forcing a strenuous diversion into peril. It largely follows the old military road that was built to allow rapid movements of troops and supplies to squash the pesky local uprisings that threatened the influx of taxes, and as such it follows the contours of the hills, bending around rather than over, and for a walker it is a delight.

As is the Real Food CafĂ© in Tyndrum, which arrived at my feet for a timely lunchtime munch. If the pull of the hills wasn’t so strong I could’ve spent the afternoon working my way through the menu, which combines the rare feat of being both ethically sound and amazingly tasty. I loved the atmosphere. I loved the sausage roll and chip butty. I loved the community spirit. I had to go.

Through the rain and the rainbows, in the shadow of the magnificent Ben Dorain, along the military road down to Bridge of Orchy and then up and over the steep Mam Carraigh to reveal the shapely Loch Tulla and the isolated Inveroran Hotel, one of only three buildings in Inveroran itself. A perfect place for a romantic getaway, but I was alone, with just the memory of the special times I’d shared with the path and the prospect of more to come tomorrow.

Song of the day:

Nancy Priddy

Feelings /
Are washing over me like summer rain /
I feel as if I’m being born again /
Alive and warm and free /
The way that I was meant to be

1 comment:

Daryl May said...

Great writing! (And, needless to say, great hiking.)

I'm hoping you'll get "there" by March 15, which is when I leave here for my own Lejog attempt. If you don't, I'll be in a state of suspense for a while.