Day 5 West Highland Way – Tyndrum to Kingshouse
This was the day that had been on my mind. A combination of a 20 mile hike 10 of it mostly uphill and a need to make a 5:30 shuttle deadline to get to my hotel meant I was a bit uptight about the day.
My kind BnB host agreed to have breakfast ready at 6AM, so I ate as was out the door at 6:20.
The first 7 miles of the hike were slightly downhill miles and so I pushed a bit on the trail. Honestly it was a generally boring hike. The whole way was in a grey foggy valley and the scenery really didn’t change. This however did help me get into a rhythm as the trail was the old military road to Kingshouse.
I arrived at the 7 mile mark in Bridge of Orchy at 8:40 which meant I’d been averaging 3 miles an hour. This was awesome for me as I normally walk about 2.6 miles an hour on a similar section.
I got my water topped off at the hotel in Orchy and hit the trail again. There’s a trail saying, it’s about the smiles not about the miles. However this day for me, was about the miles. The Kingshouse Road which was uphill for almost 10 miles and was also very cobbly for the first 4 miles. My feet were not happy.
Near the end of the hike the midges, little blood sucking gnat-like creatures, emerged with a vengeance. These little critters are the scourge of Scottish hiking and the reason I was carrying a bug head net and spray. For some insane reason on this day I’d left my net in my transfer bag. So the midges were driving me nuts which actually probably made me faster up the last couple of climbs. Not the best hike, at least the last couple of miles were downhill.
I ended up reaching Kingshouse at 2:30, meaning my overall speed, including stops, was 2.5 miles per hour. Normally it’s 2.0.
I’ve set up a more ambitious schedule on my Scottish hikes than was probably prudent to maximize my enjoyment, and I’m carrying more weight than necessary each day, but this is also training for the Camino Primitivo in Spain which is up next.
I did however get to have a lovely piece of chocolate cake at a cafe at the end of the hike. – Rev Kane