19.1 miles – Heavy rain in the morning, mostly dry with occasional sunshine in the afternoon
The wind howled around my tent all night and the rain cascaded like a waterfall. It was still pouring when I awoke; it was still bucketting down when I packed away my tent; and it hadn’t eased up a couple of hours later when I squelched into Bridge of Orchy.
I’m not sure whether I’m just too soft for this sort of thing or whether it’s normal; but you know, I don’t like walking in unremitting rain – and it had been raining almost without a break for 48 hours. There were plenty who weren’t put off: seven people passed me by in the fifteen minutes it took me to pack the tent up, some strong and with good waterproofs, others who looked decidedly under dressed; ah well, I guess they all had youth on their side.
It was really too wet to get my camera out; however, I did whip it out to photograph an odd ruin. What could it be? No crofter’s cottage with windows that tall. Then I remembered how important the road I was walking walking had been – of course the gatekeeper’s lodge to some fine estate.
I was feeling dispiritted (again). Then two things cheered me up. the first was that the rain stopped, and the second was that I met a bright and optimistic lady of my age called Jane, who was doing Land’s End to John o’ Groats. She sniffed it out of me what I was doing. Jane: “Where are you going?” Toby: “Crianlarich.” She: “And are you doing the West highland Way?” I: “Yes…” She: “…and other bits?” So I told her all. She just seemed to know I was up for more than I had been letting on. Perhaps it was my heavy rucksack, or a certain weathered look, or perhaps an ‘unwashedness’; I did say she sniffed it out of me!
I was exhausted when I reached the youth hostel at Crianlarich, but the warm, dry bed was a joy after all that rain.