September 3, 2015:
After spending a night in the lap of luxury at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, we are recharged and ready to tackle the challenges today has to offer.
We cross the 18th century Bridge of Orchy and find some of the tent campers still waking up, including the group from Holland. Wild camping is quite economical but the downside is the extra weight of carrying a tent and camping gear. Upside is extra money to spend on food and drinks at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel bar next door.
The high point of this section, Mam Carriage, is marked with a cairn. A cairn is a human-made pile (or stack) of stones often used as trail markers or burial monuments. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn (plural càirn). ~Wikipedia
Thank you to Wolfgang, a musician from Switzerland, for taking this photo for us.
It feels eerily remote and I’m reminded of the Love Rock Story.
Joan adds a dash of color as she poses by the lone tree cairn.
Built in 1708, the Inveroran Hotel could also be named The Last Chance as this is the last opportunity for a stop before crossing the dreaded Rannoch Moor, the remotest and wildest section of the whole Way, according to Charlie Loram in his West Highland Way guidebook.
For the next ten miles we will have no escape from the elements should the weather become inclement. What have we gotten ourselves into?
Vintage photo of the Inveroran Hotel and beautiful flowers brighten the views as we sip our hot coffee, hoping it charges our spirits for the next ten miles.
Michael, the Irishman, takes a moment to drink in the view. (Maybe along with some Irish coffee?!)
The open feel of the terrain reminds me of South Dakota as you drive west from our home along the Minnesota/South Dakota border. The guidebooks give a warning of this awful section, but it reminds me of home and I’m especially enjoying the hike today.
This boggy moorland measures 50 square miles and caused major difficulties to builders of roads and railways. When the West Highland Line was built across Rannoch Moor, its builders had to float the tracks on a mattress of tree roots, brushwood and thousands of tons of earth and ashes. ~Wikipedia
So, don’t step too far off of the path as you may sink into the bog.
Snack break along the bridge before we tackle the last stretch for today. Thankful for good weather…it could be rainy, windy and cold. Lucky us!
Lodging tonight is within a couple of miles and the quiet gal that didn’t want to stay in the haunted room at Drovers Inn briskly walks by me. I haven’t gotten her life’s story yet so I pick up the pace to get the full scoop: From Taiwan, assistant professor at a university in Taiwan.
Can’t talk… wrong turn back at Bridge of Orchy and got lost. Must get to Kinlochleven by tonight.
She seems a little stressed and understandably so. It’s about 3:30 p.m. and she must hike another 12-13 miles through Kings House and over the challenging Devil’s Staircase before arriving in Kinlochleven. Scary thing is that she will likely be alone since most people will not be walking this leg until morning. Yikes! Hope she has a torch.
Twelve miles completed today and our home tonight is in a hobbit house at Glencoe Mountain Ski Resort.
Cozy quarters tonight, but we have a space heater and a coffee pot for the morning brew of instant coffee. We now know from previous experience which water bottles can handle the heat of boiling water.
Plus, locally brewed beer is available in the ski lodge.
Atlas Nimbus Blonde and Red McGregor brewed by Orkney Brewery. Scelpt Lug dark ale brewed by Oban Bay Brewery
Cheers to another great day!
Below is the video of our hike from Bridge of Orchy to Glencoe Mountain:
Thank you to Charlie Roth for his beautiful rendition of Wild Mountain Thyme from his Tartan Cactus Heart album. For more information on this talented gem of the Minnesota prairie go to charlierothmusiccom.