Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 7: Inveroran to Kingshouse

This morning I woke up feeling well rested and after some porridge I set off just before 9 o'clock. The day was quite cool, with the temperature in the single digits. I had on all my layers, including long johns and raincoat. There was spitting rain and occasionally a weak sun would show up through thin patches in the heavy cloud cover.

There was a long climb up onto Rannoch Moor, an area of 50 mi² of peat bogs and lochans. I passed some friendly Scotsmen also walking the WHW who had paused to make a phone call and then we played leapfrog all day as we took turns resting.

Up on the moor the weather worsened: rain, snow and ice pellets made a bleak landscape seem even bleaker.

Luckily the military road was easy to follow, if hard on the feet in places. Here was an easy section:

This section was more difficult:
Here's what the Moor looked like:

Apparently if you go off the trail you can fall/sink into a peat bog where you wouldn't be found for centuries.

A bridge over the River Ba marks the halfway point.
Eventually as the WHW nears the Kingshouse Hotel, there are signs for a ski resort which stays open year-round to carry visitors up the mountain and to feed the many hungry trekkers and climbers who come through. This building is also on the way - it belongs to the Scottish Ladies' Climbing Club. The Munro in the background is the iconic Buachaille Etive Mor which stands on guard on the approach to Glencoe from the south.
Today's walk was relatively short - I reached the Kingshouse Hotel at 12:40 after walking 16k from Inveroran. The Kingshouse hotel is the only thing around, despite having the A82 nearby. It's quite a large hotel, with a good-sized dining room and a special walkers' bar. It dates from the 17th century and was used in 1746 to house the Duke of Cumberland's troops after the Battle of Culloden.
Since I was so early I took advantage of one of the lounges to peel off my raingear, remove my boots and eat some lunch. This is the view out the picture window. Buachaille Etive Mor
There are lots of deer around this hotel too.
One of the Scottish fellows I'd been talking to on and off during the day came in and we chatted a bit. He has been driving a tanker for 25 years all up and down the A82 (between Glasgow and Fort William and up to Inverness) which passes by the Kingshouse Hotel at the end of the driveway, so he said he knows the area extremely well. This was the first time he'd seen it on foot and it gave him a strange feeling. He also said that often, early in the morning he sees lights on Buachaille Etive Mor from people who are starting the climb before dawn.
The baggage transfer company picked up and dropped off bags while I was sitting relaxing. Later there were so many bags it was difficult to navigate among them to reach my room.
There was a sink and mirror in the room, but the rest of the bathroom was down the hall.
Actually there were 2 bathrooms, side by side, both to be shared with the others staying in that wing of the hotel. One had a shower.
The other, a claw-foot bathtub. I opted for this one and enjoyed a good soak.
The view out the bedroom window: the WHW continues from here: right to left past the foot of those hills.
Dinner was another fabulous meal - roasted duck breast with orange sauce and rösti potatoes. The meals have been wonderful all week.
Go to Day 1
Go to Day 2
Go to Day 3
Go to Day 4
Go to Day 6
Go to Day 8