Walking the West Highland Way: Kinlochleven to Fort Williams

The last stage of the Way is the furthest at 14m/21km. Most of the path is very exposed and the ruin of an old farmhouse is the closest to a shelter you get all day. In good weather you are rewarded with good views over Loch Leven before Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, comes in to view.

We were luckier with the weather than on the previous day. There were still some heavy showers and strong winds but we also had some sun and for a little while we saw the top of Ben Nevis cloud-free. Apparently its top is covered in clouds for an average of 300 days a year!

After an initial climb most of the path was not too demanding and we had time to chat with a German girl who was in our room in the hostel and was planning to go to London for a few days at the end of the walk. However, the path dragged on quite a bit towards Fort William and we were exhausted by the time we reached our hostel around 6pm. My feet held up well but I was very relieved to get out of my boots after almost 8 hours of walking!

We had a shower and went to a pub for some food but didn’t have any energy to look around the town further. Fort William is quite a busy place with lots of tourists throughout the year but also an important centre for the locals. Many of the shoppers in the large Morrisons supermarket seemed to buy large quantities of breakfast ingredients, possibly for their own B&Bs.

For the first time in a week the walkers were in the minority in the busy hostel and some of the people in our dorm weren’t of the considerate type. We went to sleep by 9pm and got a good night’s sleep with the help of our ear plugs. The following morning we didn’t hang around at the hostel for long but had breakfast at the supermarket cafe instead. Our train to Glasgow didn’t leave until 11:40am. We met some of the people from the Kinlochleven hostel at the train station, including the inspirational group of six Canadian women in their Sixties, and got a chance to say goodbye.

The 4hr train journey to Glasgow took us through the Highlands for the last time before reaching the shores of Loch Lomond and the outskirts of Glasgow. It was a very grey and foggy day and the views were not as good as we had hoped. However, the closer we got to Glasgow, the brighter it was and we actually had really nice weather during our stay in Glasgow.


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