|Day 60 – June 8||Kinlochlevan to Corpach|
|Weather: Cloudy||B&B: Mansfield Guest House (£45)|
|Departed: 9:05 Arrived: 16:20||Walked: 6h 27m Rested: 0 hr 42m|
|Distance Today: 19.9 mi / 32.02 km||Total Distance: 965.3 mi / 1553.50 km|
|% Complete: ~ 83.22%||Pint of the Day: Calder 70 shilling|
|GPS Track for: Day 60|
I had a fantastic sleep, a welcome change after the previous two nights, and was on my way just after 9am. The forecast was calling for rain throughout Britain although there was a chance the North-west Highlands might escape the worst of it. It was heavily overcast but there was a nice breeze which meant the midges were few and far between.
The walk started with the usual steep climb, this time up the wooded hillside to the north of Kinlochlevan. Once above the tree-line the views of the town and Loch Levan were excellent. I made the climb more difficult when I had to retrace my steps to retrieve my GPS. I’ve had this thing glued to my hand for two months but left it behind when I stopped to take a photo. It was only a 5-minute walk back but it was on one of the steepest sections of the climb.
Once on top the West Highland Way follows a beautiful broad valley west for nearly 5 miles. General Wade’s military road can be seen winding its way up the valley for miles and so navigation is about as easy as it gets. The WHW and the valley then turns north through pine plantations for several miles. The first few miles have been clearcut but the last couple were thick with pine trees. Eventually you emerge from this valley onto logging roads and find yourself face to face with Ben Nevis. The top of Britain’s highest mountain was shrouded in cloud but it was still possible to see large patches of snow clinging to the face. The track leading up to the summit was also clearly visible as it zig-zagged up the northern slope. The eastern suburbs of Fort William were also visible as I wound my way down the logging road for the next hour before finally emerging on the B-road that runs up Glen Nevis.
The last mile and a half of the West Highland Way follow this road into Fort William and is marked by a sign next to a roundabout. I continued on into the center of town to pick up my last batch of maps from the Post Office and to take a small break in the park at the end of the High Street.
My accommodation is in Corpach, a suburb lying northwest of Fort William on Loch Linnhe. Although not convenient to Fort William it’s only a 10-minute walk to Neptune’s Staircase, a series of locks on the Caledonian Canal that marks the start of the Great Glen Way. So the extra 4 miles I walked today will make my long walk on Friday a little easier, and I have a great view of Ben Nevis from my bedroom window too.
I enjoyed the West Highland Way because it packs so much scenery into a relatively short walk (95 miles). It was much more difficult than I anticipated although I must admit my expectations were shaped by someone I met on the South West Coast Path who dismissed it with a wave of their hand. I’d agree that the SWCP is more difficult but the WHW is definitely not an easy walk. My only criticism is that it may be too popular for its own good. Anyone wanting to get away from it all and be at one with nature will be disappointed to find a steady stream of walkers from beginning to end. The midges could also be a big negative but for me they were only an issue on one day and so it didn’t detract from the experience.
I’m taking the next two days off to relax and sort out the logistics for the last leg of my journey … 200 miles to go!