West Highland Way – Scotland

Day 1 – Milngavie to Drymen

We took the plane from Charleroi (where there is no wrapmachine) to Glasgow at 10:45.
We arived at Glasgow after a 1:20h flight at 11:05 (local time), took our bags and had a quick bite before taking the train to Milngavie.

After arriving in Milngavie (pronounced Milgai), we visited the shop to get gas for our heater, ate a good steak cheese and walked to the start of the trail.

A pretty flat walk in the sun passed us through some nice scenery and a place to picknick halfway called ’the beech tree’.
After 18km in total we got to the campsite.

Day 2 – Drymen to Rowardennan

A tad cold and windy night.

I woke as first at five and took a shower (which was either freezing cold or cooking hot).

A little later some nice Americans from Illinois Chicago (Roy, Scott and Eric) woke who are from Illinois Chicago.

On our way scenery changed into wide open field with cattle.

We went over Conic Hill, getting us up to 350m.

Crowded and windy but amazing views.

Afterwards we got some good food in at The Oak Tree Inn and continued to do the other half of the walk.

The last part seemed never ending but we arrived, tired as the others who were here before us. The Americans came in an hour after and decided to rock on for 3kms.

Feet are battered but in overall good shape.

Went to bed at eight.

Day 3 – Rowardennan to Inverarnan

Changed clothes for the night, slept with less but was warmer than yesterday. There was a little bit of rain but nothing serious.

I woke up at five, seeing Luk returning to his tent I asked him ‘whats up?’ apparently he drank an energy drink yesterday evening and was energized throughout the night.

Dried up the tent an ate some food and walked away from the campsite near the lake.

We moved fast in a new environment with trees, plants, rocks and moss.

The second half of the route was close to the lake (loch in Scottish). We ate two beef burgers in a restaurant where you had to take of your shoes before you could walk on the carpet.

When I was in the restaurant I was working on my bones, my knee cracked loud, feels brand new!

Luk on the other hand has pain in his ankle because of the rough terrain.

After eating we had about 11km to go the campsite.

It was a difficult terrain which made fast progress impossible.

We met a Hawaiian woman a in house that was on the path, it seemed richness to her was traveling, while ours is making prestige, it was a memorable encounter which lasted no more than 10 minutes.

We got a bit rain at the end but arrived at campsite at 8:45 with another American named Ryan.

We ate and had good laughs with our fellow companions.

When I went back to the tent, there was water in and my sleeping bag was also wet… this night would turn in to a complete disaster.

Day 4 – Inverarnan to Tyndrum

It was a terrible night with a lot of rain, I’ve slept maybe two ours tops in the freezing wet cold.

In the middle of the night I threw out my wet sleeping bag and tried drying the tent with a towel.

Defcon 5 is a complete useless tent in these conditions, the moisture drips back down into the sleeping bag, to get it back as moisture that drips down…

I put on my Buffalo jacket (a gift from God that thing is), a shirt for pants and my boxers as a hat…

In the morning it came clear that many people had issues with the poring rain and their tents.

We ate something and used the dryer to dry up the clothes etc.

We moved out the campsite as first and didn’t see a familiar face in a mostly rainy (with or without sun) day. I was so tired and wet that I didn’t take any pictures.

On the other hand, the buffalo jacket once again proved it’s up to the task.

We booked an hotel and got there at 15:40, I took a hot shower and slept from 16 to 18h.

Luk had a foot massage, the lady said we were through the highest climb. He bought me new hooks (since the crew from Charleroi airport stole mine). A truly wonderful friend!

On our way to the restaurant we saw the three Germans, and in the restaurant we met with the American we met last night (I thought he crashed… yesterday he ordered two plates of food and couldn’t finish a single).

Placed all my clothes in the dry room and went to bed for some more sleep.

Day 5 – Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy

Woke up all rested at 7:30 and got breakfast (eggs, bacon,..), what a great way to start the day.

Clothes and gear all dried up but for some reason my walking pole can’t be closed anymore…

Went past a shop for an inflatable mattress, some food and drinks.

We continued the journey in pouring rain to Bridge of Orchy to grab a quick bite to continue to Invoran.

Arriving at Invoran we met people we saw before and later on the Germans entered the bar as wel.

We had a good meal and a great chat with the fellow hikers.

I’m sleeping in the tent together with Luk tonight.

Day 6 – Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse

Forecast for the upcoming days are pleasant, less rain and some sunshine.

I had breakfast with Luk, Ryan and Frank, we continued the walk together.

Not much rain indeed, was able to do the small hike in t-shirt.

We met the Americans again, later on the Germans came in.

We had some drinks together and starters food.

Frank, Ryan, Luk and I stayed a bit longer and drank whiskey and started talking about stones and ended up with God and euthanasia…

Day 7 – Kingshouse to Kinlochleven

Good night sleep, we ate food from our backpacks and started our climb to the devil’s staircase.

The name is worse then the climb, beautiful scenery, we stayed on top for three hours in the sun.

On the way down we ate some freeze-dried food we bought in Tyndrum.

The rest of the journey brought some more amazing scenery, even the Bothy Bar where we stayed has a great view.

We had good meals and then to the sleeping tents so we can get up early and head on to the finish line, Fort William.

Day 8 – Kinlochleven to Fort Williams

We had breakfast at 7 but left at 8:30.

I met Emeli, a Canadian, she joined us for the last walk.

It was the longest walk of the trail but we got it done and took some pictures with the man on the bank.

Afterwards we had a good meal and some whiskey to celebrate.

We slept in an hotel.

Day 9 – Road trip to Arisaig

Frank decided to continue to the Glenn Nevis and Ryan went to Glasgow.

Luk, Emilie and drived to Arisaig, where there are white beaches.

The weather was really good and the beach was lovely.

We headed back and stopped to eat something, we continued and took the boat (car) to get back to Fort William.

Day 10 – Ben Nevis

We went up in good weather conditions, but once on top the fog and snow settled in which reduced visibility.

But we made it, and it was something I really wanted to do.

Coming back down took seemingly for ever.

We had some soup and whiskey in the Ben Nevis Inn.

I bought a ‘hanger’ of Ben Nevis and also a magnet of the WHW as souvenirs.

Later on we had a good meal in town, it would v the h last one with the three of us.

Day 11 – Back to Glasgow

Luk and I had breakfast and went to Glasgow by train.

A four hour trip to the past.

Luk shaved his beard and afterwards we walked around in Glasgow and ate something at ‘The Citizen’ and went to Holiday Inn.

Day 12 – Return home

I had a really good sleep and felt really rested.

We took the plane in Glasgow and landed in Belgium.

It was an amazing journey, how strangers can become friends so fast yet on the other side you will probably never see them again…

I spent a bit of money but came back a richer person.