LETJOG – Day 47: Saturday 3 July – KINLOCHLEVEN to FORT WILLIAM (17 miles)
After a later-than-usual breakfast today, of porridge followed by kippers and scrambled eggs, an easier walking day was in prospect for me in terms of distance. Nevertheless the steep climb out of Kinlochleven provided a reminder, should one be needed, that there is no such thing as a gentle walk in this part of the country.
Continuing on the West Highland Way, the path once again followed the course of the old military road, running mostly as a wide rocky highway but dwindling in places to a narrow rock-strewn path requiring constant attention on footing. From the top, above Kinlochleven, the Way headed westwards, initially, for around five miles, along the high valley of the Allt Nathrach, before crossing the watershed to the head of the Allt na Lairige Moire valley and eventually turning towards the north. Along this section I had a couple of chance meetings and conversations with other walkers who I had met on earlier days along the Way, and also with some participants of the annual Great Glen Challenge. This latter event is a one-day walk from Glencoe, starting out at six in the morning, and taking on the marathon-length 26 miles to Fort William – sounding much like a normal walking day to me!
After a quick lunch-stop on the moorland, the path began a descent over a series of ridges through some sparse forest and grassland, eventually providing my first views of Ben Nevis. Further on, as the Way emerged as a forest track from yet another ridge, the full bulk of the Ben appeared, close up now, it’s steep summit path clearly in view on the southern slopes. I sat awhile, for a water break, contemplating my climb to the peak tomorrow morning, weather permitting of course!
And so down into Fort William, to the end of the West Highland Way, and to the completion of this stage of my LETJOG challenge.