West Highland Way Part 1

I haven’t written in quite some time! I did mean to update everyone and post pictures etc but I have been busy. I cringe every time I write that as its like my catch phrase and will be put on my grave stone I think!

So, did I do the WHW? Yes… I started on a rainy Monday morning with apprehension and a bit of fear, I won’t lie. I couldn’t sleep the night before and had been at work until 22:00, where people had been wishing me well but also planting seeds of doubt in my head. No, they weren’t being nasty but they were concerned about my safety as I was doing the walk on my own. I am a feminist.. usually stuff like that doesn’t phase me but it was starting to this time.

I waved the kids, husband and dog off, got my stuff together, had my breakfast and bid farewell to a friend who was good enough to drop me off in Milngavie which is the start of the walk.  I have to say that I started to have doubts.. how was I going to deal with the alone time that I so craved since planning to do this, the time to think and just be on my own for the first time in a long time? Was I ready for such a big and momentous task with minimal training? Would I sleep at night in my tent and not be scared of the noises throughout the night? Only one way to find out…

Off I walked and walked, and walked… you get it… As I walked, my spirits and the weather lifted. I ran into two guys who were over from Israel and I think they took me under their wing. They wanted to give me their number in case I found myself in any trouble and needed someone in an emergency. I started to feel the camaraderie of the “Way” that I had often read about.  I was part of this amazing experience and it really  felt quiet empowering.

As I walked, I noticed that I would pass the two guys and catch up, they offered me food, chat and friendship and it felt like they were making sure that I was ok whilst doing this on my own.  I took pics on their phone for them and I really regret not taking their details. I wonder how they got on and if they completed it as the last place that I saw them was in Rowardennan Youth Hostel.

My first day got me from Milngavie to Drymen where I had the best steak pie in the universe at one of the most friendliest places in Scotland, called “The Clachan Inn“. I go here regularly an I always order the same ting because it is amazing and despite looking like a drowned rat with no reservation, they took me in, gave me warmth and provided fantastic hospitality.  At the end of the first day, I was tired and emotional and my bones were killing me. I had wanted to walk further but I just couldn’t manage it. One of the owners spoke to me as she could see I was full of self doubt and I called her when I came home, to tell her just how much her words meant. Her words made a difference as did two other women I met when finishing up and who were also doing the walk, (more about them later).

That night I decided to stay in one of the hotels, The Drymen Inn and I tried to get to bed early but I got restless legs and was tossing and turning all night. I didn’t mind as the bed was comfy, hotel clean, shower much appreciated and weather turned out nice again. I also decided to get baggage transfer which a lot of folk had told me to do but I wanted to do everything on my own. That’s just  who I am.. I am stubborn and I am strong but I knew that the walk would be much more manageable had I just done all of that in the first place.

I called up Greg from Baggage Freedom and he couldn’t have been more accommodating. He was resourceful, hilarious and his dog Spike, who was in the van with him, really cheered me up. I wish I had known about him before but thankfully I do now and I will be using his baggage transfer services this summer. He also transfers pets too so I can bring Allie , my border collie and she can explore the great outdoors with me.

Scotland-The Beautiful Staycation

Scotland is my home and has been for over 20 years but it was not where i grew up or where I was born. Its is my husbands place of birth and also my kids, close friends and My mother.. but not my father or sisters.

I made the decision to come here when I was 15, from my home in Canada and I don’t regret it but would love to one day return to my place of birth for a while and show my kids when they are old enough to understand and appreicate it for the beautiful place that it is. I hope that this day comes sooner rather than later, although both children have been over but they are too young to remember it unfortunately. Until then, we have my second home and their first, to experience and live in.

I am very much in love with Scotland and its people, but certainly not the weather but I think the other two outweigh that and I want to take some time this summer to explore the places that I still haven’t been too and also re visit the places I have spent time in and loved.  One of these places would be Stornoway. This is the most beautiful Island with equally beautiful people and we are lucky enough that we have many friends up in this part of Scotland that we can visit and stay with.

It was never unusual for me to pack thunderpants into the car at 05:00am , to catch the Ullapool to Stornoway at 10:25 and drive the 200+ miles just to go and visit friends for a few days whilst the husband stayed in Glasgow to work but I ama bit of a free spirit and spontaneous , so it was never anything that took much planning.

Their beaches are some of the mid stunning that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing, better and more beautiful than those abroad. They aren’t overcrowded at all and it’s not unusual to just outch

The drive up North never gets old with me and I never tire of the views at all. I wish that I could spend a bit more time in the smaller towns like Kingussie, Dingwall, Gairloch and head up even further to Achiltibuie and the Summer Isles.. we spent some time there visiting my sister when she was working up in one of the hotels and it was absolutely stunning. I always wanted to be one of those families who could tour the North in a motorhome and just decided on a day to day basis, what to do and where to go.. no agenda as such but a relaxed time taking in things like views, food, getting a feel for the town and people and enjoying the experience.

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