West Highland Way 2010

 

Introduction and Planning

Well, I’d never done long distance walking before...

I was seduced by the idea of walking the West Highland Way before I even moved to Britain. Reading the description of the path in the ‘Lonely Planet’ guide, the idea of walking across remote areas of Scotland just captured my imagination. My romantic historical sensibilities had me picturing walking in the footsteps of those long gone on old military and drove roads and the idea was attractive. And the idea stayed with me...

After several years residing in Britain and with my 30th birthday approaching I decided if I didn’t do it now, it wouldn’t get done! I happened to mention my crazy plan to a friend I work with, Jacquie, and suddenly had some incentive to follow through, as she seemed just as keen as I was on the idea!
I spent quite a lot of time researching the West Highland Way on the internet. There is a wealth of information out there on this path and as a novice I found it an easy walk to plan because of that. Websites, blogs, and Youtube videos all gave me a flavour of what to expect, what to do and what not to do. I also invested in the Anthony Burton guide and the Harvey strip map and before I knew it, had put together a basic itinerary.

As a beginner, I decided on allowing 8 days for the walk. We would be staying at hostels/B&Bs and having our baggage forwarded. Without any experience, I felt that 8 days would be fine, no problem in fact – the internet told me so after all! Deciding in February that we would do the walk the last week in May, we quickly booked our accommodation. The group had expanded to include another walker for the first half of the path, Susan (Jacquie’s mum), and a group of three of Jacquie’s friends that would join at Tyndrum for the two day walk to Kingshouse.

I knew it was important to get some practice runs in first, not only to break in my new boots, but to ensure that I would survive the average 12 miles a day that the walk would demand. Jacquie and I, along with another friend from work, Jess, managed to squeeze in two walks, one of 8 miles and one of 12 miles in the country around London as training. I survived these walks with little difficulty, some soreness, and only a blister or two. Despite weird looks from some friends and dire warnings of lost toenails from my boss, I was determined to see this through.

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