Day 13 – Kinlochleven to Bridge of Orchy

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Yep, when they said that this stretch (Fort William to Milngavie) would be doing ‘the hardest bits first’, they weren’t kidding. Today’s walk was an uphill battle most of the way. By the time I reached the Devil’s Staircase I could see, by the sheer climb ahead of me, it was going to be a great physical challenge, but my philoshophy during this journey is to just put one foot in front of the other and you’ll get there soon enough. The views at the top of the ‘staircase’ were absolutely spectacular overlooking Glencoe.  However, as I rounded to the other side I realized I may have got the better end of the deal, judging by the faces of the people coming up the other side. Some of them looked as if death were an alternative option they would have chosen it.

The trail leading away from Glencoe was a challenge in itself. It was like cobblestones but with the sharp edges facing up, and after a few hours my feet felt like they’d been cut up and bruised. The sun was blazing so it was again t-shirt weather, but I had to carry 3 times as much water in my pack so my walking weight was even heavier than usual. The backpack itself doesn’t usually feel heavy because the majority of the weight is  taken on your hips, but your feet feel the added pressure and over long distances.

I arrived at Bridge of Orchy earlier than expected so I pressed on another mile or so outside of town to find a camping spot. Again, I found another ready made campsite underneath a few trees on a small island in the river that was accessible by hopping on a few carefully navigated stones. Remarkably, there weren’t many midges swarming about in the evening, so I made a gourmet Pot Noodle in my Jetboil and listened to the sheep screaming at me for invading their space. By the time I got into the tent I must have crashed out instantly, as I woke in the middle of the night on top of my sleeping bag and freezing.