We had a great breakfast (including porridge) this morning at the Kings House Hotel. After packing our bags and settling our bill we headed outside to be greeted with the glorious sight of Buachaille Etive Mór enshrouded in cloud.
After taking a lot of photos and warming up, we set off back along the West Highland Way. For the first kilometre you walk on a minor road running parallel with the main road, with great views across to Buachaille Etive Mór.
The path then turns up the way and becomes a rough track following the base of Beinn a’ Chrulaiste, climbing away from the main road. The peak of Buachaille Etive Mór just about revealed itself from the low cloud, which was giving the whole area an almost mystical feel.
There were a few Highland cows close to the path, including some calves.
The path drops down to the edge of the road for another kilometre, then turns away to the north as it approaches the bottom of the infamous Devil’s Staircase. We stopped for a break here before beginning the climb. The Devil’s Staircase zig-zags its way up a steep slope as the path passes between Stob Mhic Mhartuin and Beinn Bheag and is a hard slog so early in the day. Stopping for a rest half way up we looked back down to where we had come from, before carrying on for the final push.
At the top of the Devil’s Staircase the path flattens out, and we stopped here for another break, looking back towards Buachaille Etive Mór as it appeared and disappeared in the clouds.
Over the other side of the crest the path twists its way down over the Allt a’ Choire Odhair-bhig and around Sron a’ Choire Odhair-bhig.
At the end of Sron a’ Choire Odhair-bhig we stopped for our packed lunch from the Kings House Hotel. Beyond Sron a’ Choire Odhair-bhig the path starts to descend towards a pumping station for the old aluminium works at Kinlochleven, with Am Bodach and its surrounding peaks ahead of us.
At the pumping station the West Highland Way joins the very steep and rough service road which runs all the way down to Kinlochleven.
Eventually, after a long, long descent, we got down to Kinlochleven, and walked through the village to the Macdonald Hotel where we were staying in their All Seasons cabins. After showering and changing we had a great meal in the hotel’s bar. The view down Loch Leven from outside the hotel was fantastic, the sun starting to go down as we headed into the centre of the village.
We went for a swift ale in the Tailrace Inn, then moved on to the best pub in Kinlochleven, The Antler Bar. We settled in for a few pints in this fantastic little pub. As we left, the sky looked amazing with Mam na Guallain silhouetted against it.
We walked back through the village to the Macdonald Hotel where we had a couple more ales before heading out to the cabins for bed.