It had been a long held ambition of our Sub PGM George MF McCaughey and his wife Roslyn to walk the West Highland Way. They had thought about it for a few years and they decided 2009 was the year for them. So on a sunny Friday morning on the 22nd May they set off from Milngavie to cover the 96 miles in 5 days.
The first day to Balmaha was fairly straightforward (once they found their way out of Milngavie that was) although Conic Hill certainly made it a tough last stretch.
After a relaxing night in The Oak Tree Inn they set off for Inverarnan. This was undoubtedly the most difficult 21 ½ miles of the walk, especially from Rowardenan, past The Inversnaid Hotel onto Inverarnan. Not a very pleasant day it had to be said with persistent rain all day. This part of the walk was further complicated when Roslyn decided to do a “double twist with pike” off the trail into a burn 6 feet below. After dusting herself down, Roslyn carried on to Inverarnan in considerable pain with sore ribs. After 10 hours of walking Beinglas Farm was a very welcome sight.
Sunday morning brought a slight improvement in the weather and although Roslyn was a little stiff from her fall she and George set out on the 3rd and longest of the 5 sections of 22 ½ miles towards Inveroran. It has to be said the sights to be seen as they passed through Rannoch Moor made it all worthwhile, it was absolutely beautiful. It was a long day as they passed through Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy but the sight of the Inveroran Hotel as they came off the hillside in teaming rain certainly made one appreciate the comforts in life. When they arrived they were soaked through and cold but “mine host” of the hotel welcomed them in with a cheery smile and a steaming hot cup of tea.
The 4th day was from Inveroran to Kinlochleven and it was a lovely part of the Way. A little challenging in parts as they passed through Glencoe (The Devil’s Staircase is well named) but one could not help but appreciate just how beautiful our country really. The views of Black Mount were special. Stunning probably sums it up best. The camaraderie struck up with other walkers is something that will remain with George and Roslyn and this was demonstrated to the full in Kinlochleven when approx. 15 fellow walkers met up in a local hostelry for a bite to eat and a drink. A super night was enjoyed by all as they swapped tales and compared blisters.
The final lap from Kinlochleven to Fort William may only have been 14 miles but what a climb it is up out of the town into the start of the Great Glen. Motivated by the fact the end is near keeps everyone going and once at the top of the climb the remainder of the Way was enjoyed to the full. George and Roslyn reached their goal at 3 o’clock and they had joined the band who could say “I’ve walked the West Highland Way”.
When George and Roslyn decided to walk the West Highland Way, they sought out sponsors to support the PGM Appeal on behalf of the National Autistic Society. They are delighted to advise the support they received realised the magnificent sum of £1255 and they would like to express their grateful thanks to all who contributed towards this most deserving cause.
The photographs below show George and Roslyn at the Milngavie obelisk at the start of the walk and Fort William at the end.
Footnote:Upon reaching Fort William they headed directly down Belford Road to the hospital where they discovered that Roslyn had walked for 3 ½ days with 3 broken ribs after her earlier fall.