We woke up this morning in the Macdonald Hotel cabins to another gloriously sunny day. After showering and packing our bags we headed over to the hotel for breakfast. Back at the cabins, Gregor regretted going for the full Scottish. The hotel is fantastically placed at the end of Loch Leven with great views down the loch.
After breakfast we headed back out and crossed the main road to rejoin the West Highland Way. There’s an unforgiving start today, the path climbing steeply high up above Loch Leven onto Màm Mòr. Eventually we reached the top and stopped for a rest. The path then descends into the Lairig Mor, following the Allt Nathrach past Beinn na Caillich.
The path passes through this glen for some 7km with no shade at all from the blazing sun overhead.
In front of us we could see the path stretching out as it twists its way around the bottoms of the hills and through the glen.
About halfway through the glen are the ruins of Tigh-na-sleubhaich, where we stopped for lunch.
We had hoped for some shade, but the lack of roof and the height of the sun in the sky meant we were out of luck. There was a thin shadow around the back of the house, but there were a lot of clegs flying about there and they were biting, so we moved around to the front and enjoyed the views. The location of Tigh-na-sleubhaich is stunning, surrounded by interesting peaks including Mam na Gualainn.
A couple of kilometres after Tigh-na-sleubhaich the path curves around to the north, and soon after the path enters a small section of forest which unfortunately, due to the width of the path and height of the sun, offered little in the way of shade. Further into the forest the shade got even less as the tree crop harvesting had begun.
After another couple of kilometres we emerged from the remains of the forest to be greeted with a view down the minor road to Blarmacfoldach.
The path climbs quite steeply here on a ridge between what was two sections of forest, with views back towards Lochan Lùnnn Dà-Bhrà and Doire Bàn.
From the ridge we got our first view of the impressive bulk of Ben Nevis.
Ben Nevis soon disappeared from view as we entered thick forest while skirting the edge of Teanga Mhic Ghriogair, the path climbing and falling steeply. After a couple of tough kilometres we came to a break in the forest on the edge of a ridge. Off to the east of the path is the fort of Dun Deardail. Two years ago Euan and I were so tired and aching so much by this point we just couldn’t face this deviation off the West Highland Way so gave it a miss. That’s how Gregor and Gail were feeling this year, so they carried on down towards Fort William while Mark and I headed up towards Dun Deardail.
The climb up the steep slopes was hard work, but when we got to the top we realised it was definitely worth it. You can see all the way down to Fort William far below.
But far more impressive than that is the view across Glen Nevis to Ben Nevis.
After spending quite a bit of time up here we reluctantly headed back down to the path and ran down the wide forestry roads to catch up with Gregor and Gail in the Nevis Forest. It wasn’t long before we came out of the trees and began following the path beside the minor road into Fort William and the end of West Highland Way.
After a well-earned rest we walked into the centre of Fort William to the Bank Street Lodge where we were staying tonight, showered and got changed, then headed along to Café 115 for a great meal. After which we went to the excellent Grog & Gruel for a few much-deserved ales.