Oof, drank a bit too much of Jan and Mun's good wine last night. I only have a half day's walking to do today but I have arranged to meet people so I have to get off at the right time.

Mun has taken to buying silverware in his retirement so breakfast comes in the most elegant, Georgian looking, silverware, tea-pot, coffee pot, even the egg cup set for their own eggs is lovely.

Back on the schoolbus and it is not raining this morning. This is being lazy as I could just walk down the hill as I have lots of time before the Stornoway bus. But I am fancying a cappuccino from First Fruits, the little cafe near the ferry Terminal. Expensive, but very good indeed.

Only when I get there it is shut and so is what used to be the MaCleod Motel. Nowhere to get a coffee. Bugger, I should have stayed and drank more tea with Tracey! So I have to mooch about Tarbert for half an hour or so before the Stornoway bus gets ready to depart.

No insanely early start today, for once!  

I got the sleeper to Fort William yesterday, setting of from Euston on Tuesday night. We were three in the compartment in a way as I shared with an elderly Welsh man who had his wife's ashes with them, on a mission to scatter them in Morven. 

Here is the thing. I know my body is too done in to tackle the Trotternish Ridge and Storr en route to Uig.
   The bugger of it is that I could do it in the time, which is a full day today and half a day tomorrow before catching the bus back to Fort William in the early afternoon. But it doesn’t break up like that. Half a day today to walk up to the Storr by road, bus back and full day tomorrow, fine. But trying to get to Uig via the Storr by 2.00 tomorrow, even taking a bus up to it first, would be conker bloody bonkers.
  So if I am going to get to Uig today, it is going to be a road trudge. And as half of yesterday was a road trudge that is far from appealing.
But here is the other thing. There is a ferry at 2.00 pm to Tarbert. If I can get to Tarbert before 2.00 I can catch the ferry and nip over to Harris to stay with my friends Tracey and Flossy, rather than spend another night in a hostel in Portree or Uig. Then catch the morning ferry back to hook up with my bus, and then my sleeper train.

I am woken by hail rattling on the window and the howling of a cold north wind... kidding, kidding, I am actually woken by the bright sun of another hot and more or less cloudless day.
According to the TV news there are moor fires raging in Glen Sheil and Torridon as well as some in England. Hillwalkers needed to be air lifted to safety in Torridon. I think about my walk from Kinloch Hourn to Glenelg in that dried out country and am very glad there was no fire there. Perhaps that is what the Coast Guard helicopter was doing?

Another glorious morning.  This is getting monotonous.  I am not complaining though, honestly.
I take a photo from my bedroom window just to start the day.
Breakfast is exceptional.  Predicatbly huge (I don’t know how many eggs I got as they are scrambled but it looks like half a dozen) but also great quality.
I have stayed in more bed and breakfasts and hotels on this walk than the rest of my life put together (being, as a general rule, too mean to pay the rates) but this is the best.  Beautiful spot, comfortable room,  very friendly landlady, fantastic breakfast, and it is the cheapest of the entire walk too.  Some achievement.

Another  glorious morning.  This really is astonishing weather for late April and early May. The Kinloch Hourn farm is not the most luxurious bed and breakfast.  No electricity after 11.00 when they turn the generator off,  and a bit of a fusty bedroom.  Three beds though I have it to myself.
But this is a very remote spot, at least for the carless, and I am grateful not to have to sleep out.  And Joe does a very decent cooked breakfast.

There is a sign in the bathroom saying that you should not use the water for brushing  your teeth because of contamination.  Presumably that is what the bottled water in Curlew Cottage was about. Great! The one time I resort to drinking stream water I run straight into notices from the water providers to say that even the treated stuff is dodgy.
Oh well, it has been  over 36 hours so I think I am probably OK.

A bit achey this morning but fortified by an excellent cooked breakfast.  Curlew Cottage has a fine view over Loch Laggan,  slightly marred by a pylon and power lines that are about to become my companions.  Still this is a luxury  B&B and I enjoy a spot of luxury for a change.
It is clear and looking to be hot again, and there is little prospect of me needing the fleece hat or fleece neck gaiter (a sort of scarf) I have packed.  Little chance of needing the goretex jacket, overtrousers,  or either fleece, come to that, but I currently have no use for them.  The hat and neck gaiter though I use as extra padding for the rucksack straps.
             And I need them.  After yesterday I have filled up my flask with tea,  filled my litre water bottle and taken a half litre one that was provided, so I have two litres altogether.  The bottle that I refilled mine from is from Scottish water and comes with a ridiculous set of paranoid injuctions.  Best before by date,  use by three days after opening etc.  For water!

The clouds of yesterday evening have pretty well disappeared. Just a wisp here and there.  I walk down to town with Anna who is going to have a leisurly breakfast with the friends who also stayed with her last night, before they head off for the Knoydart Festival.   

I have a tough day ahead of me and the sound of driving over to Mallaig to catch a fishing boat across to Inverie to listen to some music in the sunshine sounds immensely appealing.  Dragging my heavy pack over a hill, rather less so.
But that is what I have in store.  And at least the day is shaping up to be beautiful. Most of all, I could be stuck in a London completely taken over by that bloody royal wedding.
I get the bus and ask if they drop at the commando monument. “Not officially,” the driver says with a wink.  Soon I am headed out along the same road that the policeman brought me down to Fort William last night.

I get off the bus at a Euston bathed in dawn light, having got  up at 4.30. England has been toasting over Easter and the warm sunny weather looks set to continue for the second long bank holiday weekend on the trot.

I didn't have to do this leg at all. The idea of this thing is to be able to say that I have walked every step of the way from my house in Islington to my mum's in Stornoway. It doesn't really have to be in sequence, though that is more satisfying.  And I have already done one small section out of sequence when I plugged the Hathersage to Edale gap. I don't have to do this because I have done it before. More than once in fact. The first time was when my mum walked The West Highland Way and I met up with her in Glencoe to walk with her for the final day. Some years later I was on a winter meet with the London Mountaineering Club and did it again.  And a year or so ago I went from Kinlochleven, up the West Highland way for a spell before branching off to climb up and over the Mamore ridge and then down into Glen Nevis.

As I have not got it together to sort a map out and the last few stages have been recognised bits of the West Highland Way (and because the streetmap page I linked in the comments did not work properly) I thought I would put in a link to the West Highland Way.

I joined the Way in Crianlarich,  walked to Tyndrum,
then from Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy.
From Bridge of Orchy I walked to Kingshouse (Glencoe)
and from Kingshouse to Kinlochleven.
Finally I walked from Kinlochleven to Fort William though I have not posted that section at the time of writing this.

Maps of all these sections can be seen here: http://www.walkinginscotland.org/westhighlandwaymaps.html

Hope that helps.

No rush to get up at all today as I am right on my route and it is a short day. Kingshouse has turned out to be comfortable if a bit shabby, but at £30.00 for a double room with a great veiw of the Buchaille and an en suite bath to soak in last night I am not complaining.  The £30 does not include breakfast but I have promised myself I will get a cooked breakfast. But when I go down to the dining room and see the prices my innate meanness kicks in and I sneak back upstairs to breakfast on hot-cross buns and tea, as I watch a deer in the little patch of forestry in front of the hotel.

It is January the fifth and I step off the train to a very different Bridge of Orchy to the one I left two months ago. The sleeper service pulls out as I leave, headed north, the way I have come from.  There is some snow on the ground and much more on the hills but what is coming down is more like sleet drizzle.


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