August 29 – Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy to Glencoe Mountain Resort

I had a good sleep last night.  I checked my large bag to the next destination which was suggested by the host of the hostel.  I had breakfast at the Tyndrum Inn which consisted of 2 poached eggs on toast and real coffee.  I got back on the trail at 8:15 am because I knew I had a long way to go.  A lot of hikers stop at the Bridge of Orchy which is in 7 miles but I decided to do the faster pace and go 13 miles further, near KingsHouse.  I came to walk and it seemed a waste to get to Orchy by 11:00 and then have nothing to do (it only has a hotel, a train station and an unimpressive bridge).  Any place with a train station gets top billing around here. 

The first stage to Orchy is on a worn cobbled surface of an old military road surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.  Much of the way here is a result of drovers who drove cattle and sheep down the road in the 1700’s and 1800’s.  Some roads were built in the 1700’s by English military who were fighting a Scottish uprising.  And part of it is old railway lines.  There is no shelter during most of the way and I got rain, wind and even sun much of the way.   I passed an Alberta couple that looked pretty wet but were still smiling.  I also ran into David, 55-ish  from Aberdeen county who is walking 1000 miles in 5 weeks for children with special needs.  He is getting 1000 pounds per section (not sure what a section is) and if he completes it a company will match the funds he gets.  He only has 150 miles to go.  He says he is averaging 25 miles a day.  He talks about his mum and dad a lot who started and will end with him.  He says he and his co-workers are all doing something stupid, something mad.  One is kayaking around the perimeter of Great Britain.  Another is sitting in a bathtub of green beans for 48 hours.  He said they had to work really hard to get that many green beans.  Another, who has shoulder length hair, is going to cut it all off.  That might be the easiest physically but not mentally.  I caught up with him again (he walks faster than me) at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel where he was having his morning tea.  He is walking the Great Wall of China next year.  That made me hungry so I had some cheesecake and chatted with him a bit more before we started at different paces on the next long part of the trail.

I don’t know why but I craved potato chips on the trail and sometimes even a bologna and cheese sandwich with butter and mayonnaise the way my mom used to fix it.  I haven’t had bologna in 30 years so I have no idea what that was about.  A Costco Kind bar and some nuts had to do on the next stretch.

The trail from Orchy to Glencoe Mountain Resort near King’s House starts easy enough for 3 miles along a small ridge to the Inveroran Hotel.  I almost stopped there but decided to continue.  My new friend David was there eating his lunch and saw me on the outside.  I know that because he told me as he was passing me a short time later.  The next 10 miles…well, let the author of the West Highland Book I have explain it.  “This is the remotest and wildest section of the whole Way; there are no escape routes, nor is there much shelter….the weather here is notoriously cruel”.  I was fortunate.  I got a lot of wind and some rain in parts but also some sun.  The weather changed from minute to minute.  Sun, clouds, rain, wind sometimes alone and sometimes all at once.  Mile upon mile of old cobbled rocks that wear your feet down.  Spectacular views of the moor and the valley and shadows on the hills. Ironically, the worst weather I got, and am still getting, was the last 100 yards to the café/checkin center at Glencoe Mountain Resort.  This is a ski area during the summer.  It rained buckets sideways and the wind howled just as I was arriving.  I had may bags sent here but had no accommodation.  I was lucky that they had the last large cabin (fits 5) that was 70 pounds and well worth it.  Most people don’t stop here.  They go a mile down the road to King’s House which is a hotel and campsite.  The campsite is free but there are no services since the hotel is closed for renovation for a few years.  Some people take a bus from King’s House to Glencoe village but I decided that I might go there with my son after my hiking is over.  He is meeting me in Glasgow on the 7th and we will take a tour around Scotland, destination TBD. 

I can hear the wind howling and the rain on the roof but it is warm and comfortable inside.  Even electricity but of course no wifi.  There is wifi in the café which I was using but it is very slow.  I got ripped off because I paid $7.50 for a fast connection and I never got an access code to use it.  I will try again in the morning but I won’t be able to skype home or call because it will be midnight

I had an uneventful dinner this evening and spent 2 hours trying to get accommodations for tomorrow and Thursday but nothing seems available so I am winging it right now.  I may be wild camping as they call it here.