Sunday 4th March 2007
Distance Walked: 19 miles
Start Time: 9:13
End Time: 15:30
Elapsed Time: 6:17
Weather: Cloudy. Rain later.
Distance walked so far: 956.8 miles
Weekly Audio Update: Dave on The Steve Show - Day49
I’ve had plenty of opportunities on the walk to consider what it would be like to do this whole thing the other way round, from top to bottom. A JOGLE rather than a LEJOG. Aside from the obvious drawbacks, such as the map being upside down, it just seems that the country is designed to be walked from south to north. The manner in which the landscape reveals itself today, following the Way as it drills efficiently between the majestic mountains, emphasises this in the most spectacular fashion.
This is big sky country. Everything is distance. Rannoch Moor is vast and desolate, but the morning clouds are benign and the still air makes for comfortable walking on the gentle cobbled trail. Passing a friendly crew of weekend walkers who cheer me on and insist on a photo, I reach the Pass of Glen Coe and it truly inspires awe. This is how it should be experienced. On foot, savouring the power of the landscape. A moment to cherish. The trio of peaks, the Three Sisters, stand like guardians and I approach with head bowed as the wind rises.
The passage out of this place is up the ominously titled Devil’s Staircase, which winds steeply northwards up the hillside for a couple of hundred metres and, like the ascent of Jacob’s Ladder in the Peak District, it seems only proper that such a route be conquered rather than used as a means of descent. It’s an unrelenting climb, but the path is smooth and, with so many miles in the legs, I eat it up, just in time for the deluge to begin at the top. Thankfully, the long descent down the pass and through the forest at the end of Loch Leven is not too arduous and, donning the full suite of wet-weather gear, I make rapid progress.
It’s not until I step in a murky puddle and feel the water flooding into the sock that I notice the chasm between the sole and boot of the left foot. Ensconced in the cheery Tailrace Inn in the Twin Peaks-like town of Kinlochleven, with its pine tree setting and cast of kooky characters, I make a final attempt to seal the boot's fate. Grabbing the remains of the superglue, I spunk the whole tube into the gaping flap and hold on tight, for this is make or break time. These boots are going to carry me all the way to the top whether I like it or not. It’ll be the last thing they ever do.
Song of the day:
The village used to be all one really needs /
Now it’s filled with hundreds and hundreds of chemicals /
That mostly surround you /
You wish to flee but it's not like you /
So listen to me, listen to me