Wednesday, 29 April 2009

West Highland Way- look after your feet and you will be fine.

Have recently returned from a week of guiding on the West Highland Way for Macs Adventure. (Sometimes I have to pinch myself- what a job). Like the rest of the group, this was the first time I had done this trip, so was slightly unsure of what to expect from 95 miles of low level walking from Glasgow to Fort William. Some "hardcore" friends and colleagues are a bit rude about Scotland's first long distance footpath. The implication being that a low level walk spread out over 7 days is an easy challenge that anyone can accomplish. However, averaging 14 miles a day, and with no rest days, I expected to feel some pain along the way.

The reality of the West Highland Way is that yes- this is indeed a walk that anyone of reasonable fitness can undertake. There are baggage companies that will carry your clothes for the week and comfortable b&bs along the way. However, it is also a great leveller, as the fittest walkers fell by the wayside in a bloody mess of blisters and compeed, having underestimated the challenge and set off at a cracking pace. Slow and steady is the order of the day- as 95 miles on drovers roads and lakeshore boulders take their toll. And the key- look after your feet. If these survive, it is in the bag. If you get blisters, only your iron will and a lot of painkillers will get you to the end.

Oh, and the views were fabulous, the walking really quite gentle, and the 20 mile day over Rannoch Moor the highlight of the week. Watching Buchaille Etive Mor hove in to view as we descended towards the Kingshouse was a joy. A huge sense of achievement was felt by everyone in the group as we covered the final miles in to Fort William, and rightly so.

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