One of those days you don't want to finish.

After a good nights sleep in Kinlochleven, the plan would depend on the weather, how I felt and the condition of the path higher up as I knew I'd be walking in snow for some of the day. The initial plan was to walk to Bridge Of Orchy and then get the bus or train to Tyndrum, where I would stay the night then get the train back the next day to Bridge Of Orchy and start Day 3. The reason for not staying in Bridge Of Orchy was down to the fact that the Hotel no longer has a bunkhouse and it now costs a fortune to stay the night so it's far cheaper getting transport to Tyndrum, staying the night there after a good meal at the chippy or local pub and get the train back the next morning. In my mind though I was hoping for a good day and then I'd walk the extra six miles from Bridge Of Orchy to Tyndrum meaning I'd have less miles to do the next day so I could take it easier plus the weather for Day 3 wasn't looking very good.

Leaving Kinlochleven at 8am, the sun starting to rise above the hills

I left Kinlochleven just before 8am, and headed upwards, the sun starting to warm the morning up as well as making the surrounding snow covered hills even prettier. As I puffed my way up the steep trail, the views all around me opened up to be some of the best I'd experienced on the walks that I'd done, I was so glad that I was going to have another day of bright sunshine and blue skies. Again, the walk uphill took longer as I paused often to take in the views, before eventually getting into the snow and putting on Micro spikes for the first time ever. I must admit that I found them very useful as I never slipped or felt like slipping and the snow didn't slow me down but other people I was passing were carefully making their way along the path trying to stay on their feet. The remaining walk up to the top of the Devils Staircase was a case of following everyones footprints in the snow, the path long gone and trying not to go offline and end up to your knees in the deep snow but the views all around were beautiful.

Looking back towards Kinlochleven

I stopped for a break at the top of the Devils Staircase, to admire the view, take many photos and videos and look down towards the Kinghouse Hotel where I'd be passing by shortly afterwards. The zig zag path down the hill in the snow was no trouble for the Microspikes and I met many people along this bit of path, it was quite easy to spot who had spikes on and who didn't. I had really enjoyed the walk so far, I probably had a big smile on my face as I descended to the Kinghouse Hotel, taking in the scenery all around which looks far prettier with snow on it than I've ever seen when I've walked in May. It was one of those days so far when you just feel so glad to be alive.

Nearing the top of the Devils Staircase

Looking down from the Devils Staircase

Normally I stop at the Hikers Bar in the Kinghouse Hotel but it was far too early plus by now I was thinking that I would walk the extra six miles at the end rather than sitting around waiting for a train or bus even though my feet and legs wouldn't thank me for the extra mileage. I just thought that six extra miles of scenery would be better than doing it the next day when rain was forecast and scenery wouldn't be as nice, also the six extra miles aren't exactly the hardest six miles so I just thought I'd plod on.

The iconic Buachaille Etive Mòr near Kinghouse

As I passed by the Kinghouse Hotel and crossed over the busy road and started heading uphill again, knowing that I'd soon be walking in snow once again but somehow that didn't bother me now I had spikes. The section between Kinghouse and Inveroran over Rannoch Moor was lovely but this section can be terrible in bad conditions as it's so desolate with no shelter but today it was just perfect for me as new snow covered hills appeared as I got higher up and turned towards Inveroran. Just after the highest point on the path, I stopped for my lunch, I could have stayed here for hours just admiring the views but I still had many miles to go so off I went.

Heading down Rannoch Moor

It was mostly downhill from my lunch stop to Inveroran so it was a pleasant but fast walk, passing a few walkers going the other way, everyone with a smile and a "Hello". It wasn't long before I was onto the road passing by Inveroran and then leaving it to go up and over a hill to Bridge of Orchy, only a small hill with no snow on it. I descended to Bridge Of Orchy knowing that even walking the extra six miles would still get me to Tyndrum before the bus got me there as I'd have three hours to wait. Why would I want to hang around here for three hours bored when I could take in the scenery in the sunshine, get to Tyndrum while it was light and then have an easier day the next day?

The view near Inveroran

I can't lie and say that the next six miles were easy on my legs and feet but I ended up doing the right thing as the next day would bring rain all day and not much scenery. I had walked these six miles a few times before and it's not hard but it's a lot harder when you've already done about 21 miles that day, the six miles felt a lot longer than usual before I eventually walked down the steep hill to the main road in Tyndrum and along the road towards my accommodation for the night, another camping cabin at the Bytheway campsite, which has cabins, a hostel and also room for tents and mobile homes. I got my key, went along to the shop for some goodies and went to the local chip shop for fish and chips, expensive but tasty before giving my tingling feet a rest for the night and into my sleeping bag, tired but very happy with the day's walk.

Below are a few more photos taken on Day 1 of my WHW, some more can be seen by clicking the "Photo Gallery" Link on the left hand side Menu at the top of the page.

Some snow covered hills surrounding the West Highland Way path

Click here to go to Day 3 - Tyndrum to Inverarnan