22.7 miles – showers, some heavy, turning to drizzle
My premise has been that if I made it to Fort William I would make it to Hastings. I knew that nothing could be worse than what I had had to cope with. One day remained. I set off positively.
I took a last look at the wilderness, then turned t’ward civilisation. The Forestry Manager drew up in his Landrover and told me there had been 82mm (3.5″) of rain over the previous two days. it was still raining but the wind had subsided. I felt safe.
Within a few minutes I came out of the forest and the gorgeous Glenfinnan Viaduct (it was made famous because it featured in the Harry Potter films) emerged before me.
I had barely gone under it when I heard a train, and was extrordinarily lucky to get this picture of ‘The Jacobite’, the steam excursion, which runs during the summer between Fort William and Mallaig.
I had planned a fiddly route for this stage of the walk – to avoid the main road, but I didn’t even attempt it. I wanted to get to the hostel, which is the end of Stage 2 of the walk to hastings in good time for supper and beer. It was actually wonderful just not having to worry as to where to put my next footstep. I did just take one look at Loch Eil.
And by sheer coincidence, I managed to get this second picture of The Jacobite, having stopped near the railway to adjust my rucksack.
I got to Fort William in time to buy hearty food, and to the welcoming hostel, dizzy with tiredness, in time to cook it.
I want to say how much I hav e appreciated the Scottish hostels: Durness, Ullapool, Torridon, and Fort William. The kindness and generosity of spirit of the staff has been universal; the understanding of what it’s like to come in from the hills, wet, muddy, exhausted, hungry, and thirsty, and to all they can for the suffer, more than I could have expected.