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Album: West-Highland-Way:Day5-Bridge of Orchy

9 August 2007: day 5
Start Destination Daily Miles / Total
Bridge of Orchy Kinlochleven Campsite 21.5 today / 82.5 total

This will be my big day for the trip. Kinlochleven is a small industrial town near the end of the trail. It is a good resupply point, has a cheap campground, and is well positioned to put me at the foot of Ben Nevis the next day.

Resting in my tent I couldn't be bothered to get started at a reasonable hour this morning. Finally at a little after 11 o'clock I was hiking up the hill. It was a short up that went remarkably fast. Before I knew it I was at yet another hiker friendly put enjoying a hard cider with some new Scottish friends. They were a young group out doing the WHW as their first long walk. They were still getting used to the routine.

My start this morning was so late that Angela who had stopped something like 7 miles earlier yesterday arrived before I left. I sat for a little while with her but I still had 18 miles to do so I couldn't chat long. I caught the scots quickly and hiked along with them well into Rannoch Moor, the wildest section of the West Highland Way. It is a somewhat desolate and soggy landscape among many inspiring mountains. The WHW follows an old military road from the 1750s here so the route was as dry as can be expected. This is supposed to be a remote area but much of the time a modern highway was visible off in the distance. Still it was a different type of terrain than I'm used to and it was great to get away from most of the signs of civilization.

I bid farewall to that group when they stopped for sandwiches. We may meet again in Fort William on Saturday night when they finish and I come down from the mountain. I was carrying some food and had the option of stopping at the Kings House Inn a historic stop for travellers through this area. A couple-few more hours and I was in the climbers/walkers bar at the Kings House that was pictured in my guidebook. Civilized hiking here in the UK. I'm going to have to do a hard wilderness trail again soon before I go soft.

Full of fish and chips I rapidly put more miles behind me until the Devil's Staircase slowed me down. It is only about 850 vertical feet and not very steep so it wasn't a big obstacle and besides the miles themselves it was the only thing separating me from my goal for the day. On the other side of the ridge a relentless descent down to the town of Kinlochleven began. I was quite happy to finish that and slip into my tent away from the midges.

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