We knew this day was going to be the hardest, but little did we realize what we up against
Yesterday was training for the first 1.5km of this day. As soon as we stepped out of the hotel we were en route again. With it on a steep ascent of 320 m in that first 1.5 km. With the help if my inhaler and new found confidence I went up in a good way. I was so glad when it was over though.
We happily walked on and found a fork in the walk way. The normal route,now aptly named the low route and the high route. The latter has only opened in the last few weeks and is sort of experimental. It clearly stated that it would rise to 470m Mathematical logic than says that this is only, an additional 150m. We jointly said, nope low route. We started walking that way and then I asked SO what he really wanted. He told me that he liked the idea of the high route, but was also concerned about me and what I wanted and could do. I am still not sure what possessed me there about 100m on the low route. But I said ‘sod it, I want the high route, I can a manage the additional few meters’, and turned into the high route.
Not long after that we’d risen another few meters and then went down a fair bit only to climb again, I suspect to about 400m. The views though were worth it. So amazing as we were above the trees and all you see there are the greens and purples now mixing in slowly with browns of the seasons and Grey rock showing through. It was stunning and at the viewing point we could see Ben Nevis, at least it think it was. Most of the top was hidden in the clouds.
Now I should have realized that mathematics and Highland walking are only loosely connected. After these magical views we descended. We descended far down, very far. Across the valley we saw another mountain and we thought we hope we don’t have to climb that beasty. We dropped to below 200m is my guess. Will have to check the read out of the GPS later to check. There we found a little troll bridge. Next to it were some poems and pictures as written and made by the local primary school. So cute! And of course we were going to have to climb the beasty from there! Damn that one was steep. It was very steep. Our calves were crying foul, but we kept going. Near the top we met a man, I think in his seventies, making it look easy. We ended up chatting a bit and he told us what to expect over the next few kilometers. It sounded good, just still more up to go. When we reached the top we were amazed at the views. SO was beaming with pride that I had made it. Me? Elated to be there but both cursed and congratulated myself for my choice. The views are so amazing that I have to admit it was worth it. We descended a little to have lunch on a bench. Less windy and cold.
Further down we went until met the low route again. At this cross point there was a ranger from the GGW. He had coffee and asked us for feed back on this new high route. While we were there a cyclist came up from Inverness way and joined the instant little cafe. She was going the low route. The high one is not very suitable for cycling. SO could not help himself he also bought a GGW hat and a little remembrance plate for on his stick. From the cave we too our leave quickly as taking the high route also meant a lot of extra time and we’d only done 8km in 4 hours. We knew it was going to be at least 21 km so we needed to get going.
After that real high the rest of the route is nice for the most part. It goes through forest and even over some farmland. Once you reach a car
park it does get rather boring. Mostly walking next to the main road until a diversion just before Lewiston. From there it is Forrest and further downhill as most of the walk is still quite high up. Because it is a bit of a boring road stretch it is a hard slog at the end we were more than a little happy to finally see our finishing line around 17.45 and 23 km We jumped into the shower just to feel human again and are due to have dinner
SO wanted it noted that he is incredibly proud of me, both for deciding to take the high route and the manner I which I did manage to do it. I have to admit I too am kind very proud of this rather major personal achievement .