Day 63: 25 May 2014; Kinlochleven to Glen Nevis

Day 63: 25 May 2014; Kinlochleven to Glen Nevis
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 63
Date Sun 25 May 2014 Start to end time 05h 30m
Start point Kinlochleven End point Glen Nevis
Miles today 14.67 Cu miles 1,162.77
Ft today 2,972 Cu ft 158,231
Route miles left 335.77 Route ft left 47,229
Today’s weather Showery in the morning, clear with sunny intervals around noon, showers in late afternoon. Light Easterly breeze. Around 15C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“If Friday was the day of the Massed Hikers, and Saturday was the day of the Mountain Bikers, then today must have been the Day of the Fell Runners. It seems that the West Highland Way is a sort of recreational motorway, and today it was the turn of the fellrunners to appear in their hundreds. I don’t think it was a race, as they appeared to be running both North and South on the track, but it certainly seemed to be a popular pastime. And the people doing it seemed to be a breed apart – small and wiry, and apparently at ease on the mountains with a T shirt, shorts and trainers, and little else. I admired their fortitude.

But I must admit I was glad to leave Kinlochleven this morning. The campsite is small at the best of times, and half of what used to be camping area has now been occupied by, presumably more lucrative, Hobbit Houses. Being a Bank Holiday Saturday, and with decent weather to boot, the campers were out in their droves, so I was cheek by jowl with the sweaty climbers (except I think they were sweaty mountain bikers) that I had so cunningly avoided at Glencoe. So it was noisy and I didn’t get that much sleep. It was raining when I got up, so I didn’t hang around and was away before 8. Curiously, by the way, despite the wet, there were no slugs this morning. Must be something to do with the soil. Or maybe they don’t like midges either.

I made a good pace up the side of the Glen to reach a plateau area which overlooks Loch Leven. The clouds started to lift and by late morning, the sun was shining. I managed to get to the summit, where the path starts to drop down into Glen Nevis, before the various sporting hordes arrived, and I enjoyed the solitude. As the path goes round the corner into Glen Nevis, you start to get impressive views of Ben Nevis itself, looming over the glen. Today it was shrouded in wraiths of mist and it looked like a very forbidding destination for tomorrow’s walk!

Once again, I was running early so unusually I took a detour to a “vitrified fort”, which added both distance and climbing. There wasn’t much evidence of the fort, or of its vitrification, but it made a brilliant spot to enjoy outstanding views up and down Glen Nevis.

I descended through the woods to the campsite in Glen Nevis where I am writing this. I am cocooned in my tent, sheltering from the rain which has just started and the midges which have just smelled blood. My next task is to complete the preparations for ascent of “The Ben” tomorrow. I’m both apprehensive and excited at the prospect of ticking off one of the most important milestones on my journey. Here’s hoping for good weather!”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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Congested camping at Kinlochleven today. My tent is in forecground Dramatic skies as mountains emerge from the gloom south of Loch Leven (a sea-loch)
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Ben Nevis (the large mountain on the right) – tomorrow’s destination! The “vitrified fort” at Dun Deardail – built 2000 years ago but destroyed in an intense, deliberate, fire – so intense the rocks melted and turned to glass. The rocks in the picture are supposed to be vitrified but personally I wasn’t convinced..
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Fell runners were the theme of today’s walk. Harder than backpacking but not quite as agonising as mountain biking, I surmised Broom bushes were in flower in Glen Nevis. Like gorse but without the spikes. And a different smell
Panorama over Loch Leven, with Kinlochleven at the left
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
Solid line blue