Despite being kept up late by the Scottish [not so melodious] band until 11:30pm the night before, I awoke at 7am ready to take on Day 5. I packed up my bag and left it again in the drying room [hot!] and hoped that my chocolate bars would not melt by the time the AMS-Outdoors van came to pick it up.
Fiona, the hotel receptionist had arranged with William (the driver from the previous day) to take me at 8am to my starting point at Inveroran. After a quick breakfast in the hotel dining room (with 50 or 60 grey-haired guests) I hopped in the truck with William. I pointed out the campground where I had gotten the free bags of crisps the day before and not to be outdone, William offered me the bottle of Fanta that had been left by someone in the hotel truck. Score!
I was sad to leave William and Fiona at the Crianlarich Hotel, as they had taken such good care of me and hoped that my luck would continue. As it turns out, it did.
|Start of Day 5 at Inveroran|
|House near the start of Day 5|
|Farmlands opening up into true Highlands|
This section of the Way was along old cobbled military roads and was really nice, open running. The views soon became spectacular and open and really started looking more like the "highlands" of Scotland as opposed to the Scottish farmland of previous days. I started realizing how vast and unpopulated northern Scotland really is.
|Old military road just south of Glencoe Ski Area|
|Cairn at the pass near Glencoe Ski Area|
|Kings House Hotel|
|On the Way near Kings House, paralleling the A82 highway.|
|Dominating Peak ~ Bouchaille Etive Mor (left).|
I proceeded up the Devils Staircase with my head down and my hands on my knees, but it really was not nearly as steep nor difficult as I had anticipated. There was one crazy young fellow pushing and carrying his mountain bike up the path which did not look like fun at all. His intention was to ride down the other side to the same town that would be my destination, Kinlochleven.
I got to the pass just as a group of four German men was leaving, and actually had the place to myself with beautiful views of the Blackwater Reservoir, Bouchaille Etive Mor (the peak across the way), and even Ben Nevis (the highest peak in Scotland) off to the north. The breeze was just perfect up top and the temperatures were so pleasant. I ran comfortably down the other side of the hill for about a mile and then decided to take a nap for a few minutes. The late night was catching up with me a bit, and I was way ahead of schedule for the day, so I snoozed in the sunshine and cool temperatures for about a half an hour. It was delightful.
|Atop the Devils Staircase|
|View to the north from Devils Staircase|
"WHERE is the TOWN?!?" They demanded of me. "Uh... I think it's just up ahead a little ways. About a half a mile, " and then clarified that a half a mile was approximately one kilometer, perhaps 2km at the most. "Well, it had better be! We are tired of this. This heat is too much! We want to be finished!"
"Follow me, I'll take you into town. It's no problem. Where are you staying?" I asked. As it turned out, they were staying at the same B&B that I was! Oh, joy. "No. We couldn't possibly ask you to slow down for us. You want to run along ahead." They replied. "Nope, I'm fine with walking. We will find it together," I insisted.
We meandered along by the river and crossed the bridge through town, then hit a sticking point when my written directions to the B&B from AMS-Outdoors stated to turn left past the Post Office in town. One of the Swedish women screamed across the street at a poor little elderly man, "POST OFFICE!!! Where IS IT?!?" And he came hustling across the street, looking quite afraid to ignore the woman and go about his business.
|Quaint town ~ Kinlochleven|
I jogged through town and went up the hill, just as the man said, to the most delightful guesthouse ever: The Tigh na Cheo (or House in the Mist) which was owned and operated by Martin and his wife, a semi-retired couple from England. He told me that I had run much too quickly today and that my room was not quite ready. I could have a seat in the sitting room while his wife finished up. Then I told him about the Swedish women who would soon be showing up and he just rolled his eyes, "It's amazing that people can be on vacation in one of the most beautiful places in the world and still have a bad attitude about it." I agreed. This place was heaven.
|My comfy bed in my cozy room at Tigh na Cheo B&B|
After a nap and getting cleaned up, I went down to the Highlander and had some delicious house made lasagna and, as to be consistent with Scottish cuisine, it had a side of french fries! There was also a small heap of coleslaw and a cucumber salad on the side. I ate every mouth-watering bite. I also drank a Shandy tonight (I earned it in that heat!) which was half Sprite and half Fosters lager. Refreshing.
|The Highlander Pub|
After dinner, as if I had not had enough exercise, I decided to take a stroll through the town of Kinlochleven and check it out. I found a trail on the edge of town leading to an amazing 50 foot waterfall and then a trail that went up on the hill and overlooked the entire valley and the Loch after which the town is named. I could see up to the trail that I had come down earlier in the day and the hydroelectric plant from the Blackwater Reservoir down to town. The views were incredible.
|Gray Mare's Waterfall|
|Views up into the hills on the evening hike.|
|Happy to have found this evening hike.|
|Views of Loch Leven|
|Views of the quaint, friendly town ~ Kinlochleven|
(you can see the hydroelectric station and tubes
if you look closely).
On the day ~ 19.5 miles, 6 hours (+ evening hike ~ 22+ miles 7+ hrs)
|Tigh na Cheo B&B|