DAY 6 Wednesday 24 Sept

Kingshouse to Kinlochleven 9 miles

We all decided to take a break from the fried breakfast and chose the lower priced continental (breakfast costs extra). It was a good choice, porridge, croissants, cheese, toast, rolls, yummy jam, tea and coffee. Its only nine miles today, so we left late at 10 am. Peter has been talking to the hotel staff and found a path up Beinn a ‘Chrulaiste, the mountain behind the hotel, which meets up with the WHW on Devil’s Staircase. He was excited about finding an alternate, more challenging path through the mountains and, I think, happy to have a day on his own. He will meet us at the b&b in Kinlochleven.

It’s a cloudy but nice day. The crags of Buachaille Etive Mor on the south side of Glencoe are spectacular, but I wish they weren’t swathed in clouds near the tops. Looking west along the Glencoe valley, there is a wonderful cup formation between the mountains. Reminds me of High Cup Nick on the Pennine Way but not so spectacular. Across the road is the climbers staging hut for the walk up Coire na Tulaich where one can gain the ridge. Oh well, another day!

Coire na Tulaich, climbers route to the ridge

Pass of the Larig Gartain separating the two Bauchailles

At Altnafeadh, we turn away from the valley and begin climbing. We keep meeting people from past days as we climb the infamous Devil’s Staircase. It is steep but not particularly hard, actually has stone steps, a carefully built military road from about 1750. We stop at the cairn on the summit to feed Bray, change diaper and have a little playtime. The views here are so spectacular. There are paths up the hills on both sides of the Way so I follow them a bit. The one on the left, I think, is a good alternative to the WHW, but we can see our path tracing ahead across a bleak and boggy landscape, leading us ever on.

Gregg ascending Devil's Staircase

Parasailing over Devil's Staircase

Cairn at top of Devil's Staircase

Man and his dog on the summit

Descending steeply, we pass over two burns with stepping stones and slabs to keep our feet dry. As we round the mountain, a far view of Blackwater Reservior, then down, down, down into Kinlochleven.

Man and his son crossing the burn

On the old military road

A common red fungus

Descending to Kinlochleven

A huge hydro-electric plant is here, funneling water off the mountains, originally built for a now defunct aluminum works. A nice walk through a park entering Kinlochleven, past the Ice House, then a stop at the Co-op shop to stock up on snacks. Its only 3 pm, almost like a rest day.

First view of Kinlochleven

Our first impression of Edencoille B&B was the cute gnomes in the yard. Oh wow! The house is a virtual storehouse of ceramic figurines, fairies and dancers, filling every surface in the rooms and the stairs up to our rooms. It was nice to have time to relax, but I was worried about Peter. Did he remember where we were staying? After tea, I was going out to look for him when he walked in. He knew the b&b name started with E. He was full of stories about his mountain experience on Beinn a’Chrulaiste, boggy slopes, false paths, waterfalls, dicy streams and rocky defiles. Apparently, he enjoyed himself and rejoined the WHW at Altnafeadh.

Beinn a'Chrulaiste summit

We walked over to the Tailrace Inn for dinner. I found a new locally brewed ale, Atlas, excellent. Most of us ordered salmon. Its local, fresh and very, very good. Chris had two starters (as usual). Pete was booked into the Tailrace and came in to sit with us. He had his usual pint and glass of wine. Pete will take the shortcut to Fort William, leaving the path at Lochan Lunn for the shorter road. He is taking the overnight train to London at 5 pm and can’t chance missing it. We stayed at the Tailrace for a long time, its such a pleasant place to be.

Naomi’s feet are much better today. The compeed seems to be healing her heel blisters. However, Chris is having trouble with his knees and may take a bus to Fort William. He is worried about the joints getting worse and affecting his judo practices. He says he should have paid more attention to my conditioning instructions

<<< Previous                              Next >>>