DAY 5 Tuesday 23 Sept

Tyndrum to Kingshouse 19 miles

walked into the village at 7:30 to get fresh camera batteries at Green Welly. Back at 8, Peter is leaving to walk the full 19 miles and Pete is taking a cab out towards Bridge of Orchy where he stopped yesterday. Bad news, Andy tells us the taxi is unavailable but we can catch the 8:40 bus to Bridge of Orchy. There is a bit of contention here as we think Andy and Ellen are sabotaging us by insisting that taxis cannot transport babies whereas we know that is not true. We rush breakfast, finish sorting laundry, and Andy drops us off at the bus stop. Ellen commented that we are the most trouble of any group since they took over the b&b (their fault?), also we are endangering the baby. We did not leave with good feelings. The bus stops down the road, then passes us by. We find out that buses prefer that stop and don’t like to stop where we are. Next bus in two hours. Why didn’t Andy know about the right bus stop?

Finally we are on the trail by 11:20, crossing the bridge over the River Orchy and climbing uphill to a cairn where we meet several other walkers enjoying the view of Loch Tulla and the far moors. Braylon is fed and changed and we will have a fairly easy walk to Kingshouse. After a very trying morning, we are looking forward to the rest of the day.

Last mushroom of the season

On the way to Bridge of Orchy

Its all downhill to the Invereron Hotel and Victoria Bridge, then up onto Rannoch Moor using the old military road reworked by Telford in 1803. He must have done a good job because the rock surface is still good. We have a long stop at Ba Bridge, lunch, taking care of Braylon. It is so beautiful here. The River Ba is incredibly picturesque with its rapids and upended rock formations. I wander upstream and downstream to get a feel for the overall landscape. A lady tri-athlete came by, walking the WHW in 4 days. Today at 19 miles is her shortest day. She is camping and cooking all her food, mostly semolina soup. Two fellows pass us by, they are also walking the WHW in 4 days. I guess its all the rage these days.

Bridge of Orchy village

River Orchy looking north

At the cairn on Mam Carraigh

On to Rannoch Moor

After Ba Bridge, we move fast, fastest pace on the walk, and our new lady friend stays with us, happy for the company. We pass a cairn high above us. I realize it is the memorial to Peter Fleming who died here of a heart attack while deer stalking. He was quite an adventurous news correspondent in the 1930’s and WWII. I read his book about crossing western China through forbidden territory with Ella Maillart (an intrepid Swiss adventurer and athlete who wrote her own book on the trip) to report on prewar affairs like what the warlords are doing.

Stob Dearg across from Kingshouse

Kingshouse Hotel with Beinn a'Chrulaiste in back

We arrive at Kingshouse by 4:30 and find Peter at the Climbers Bar outside, the gathering place for climbers camped across the beck. He had arrived two hours before after running part of the way. He says that running is easier for him and keeps his muscles balanced. The hotel is great, a classic jewel, has a beautiful lounge and comfortable bar with tables for eating. Rooms are very mediocre, but who cares. We are at the head of the Glencoe valley, spectacular mountains around us, a mecca for climbers, and we feel very fortunate to be here.

Kingshouse lounge

Glencoe looking west

The gang starts trickling in for dinner about 6:30, first Peter and I for a starter pint, Raven ale, a very good bitter. We talk to another father/son team who we have seen for several days. The others come in and we all choose either cod or venison from the menu. We figure the venison must be the local deer that the kitchen staff feed at night. Pete comes in late for dinner, he didn’t arrive till six. I certainly admire his enthusiasm and dedication to the walk. I can see myself in another seven years. This is the earliest we have eaten. Enough time to log on the free computer in the hallway, catch up on my emails and write wife Cathryn back home. Each night, I also write in my journal and read in a book (bought in Glasgow) about Hadrian’s Wall and the Romans who built it.

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