West Highland Way – Dogs Trust Charity Hike (2012)

Published in 2012.

WE DID IT! Nicki and I completed the whole 96 miles of the West Highland Way and have raised a massive £676 for the Dogs Trust to date 🙂 Thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored us!

You can see photos I took at the Dogs Trust in Kenilworth to illustrate why we wanted to raise money for them.

The West Highland Way starts off from Milngavie, just outside Glasgow and took us across 96 miles (154km) of terrain to Fort William. The route ranges from lowland moors, dense woodland and rolling hills, to high mountainous regions in the Scottish Highlands.

You can still donate towards the Dogs Trust via my Just Giving page – thank you!

Sorry Nicki – I couldn’t resist this one!

At one point we had to walk part way along a road to re-join the WHW track. This lovely man pulled his car over and stared to pipe us along our way! Walking within the Highlands to the sound of the bagpipes is something we will always remember. I just wish we could thank him but we don’t know who he is.

We had more energy on day one.

We did of course stop off at the Glengoyne distillery for a guided tour, which we both very much enjoyed. Would have been rude not to!

I can’t quite put into words how excited we were to see this sign!

When in Scotland being prepared for all sorts of weather goes without saying. The rain didn’t dampen our spirits and we sang songs to keep us going! Apologies to anyone within hearing distance of us.

We met some lovely people along the way. We adopted Jack and his owner Andy early on our trek. Nicki and I are meeting up with them again soon as it turns out they don’t live far from us.

If you are planning on hiking the West Highland Way with a dog, do book your accommodation in advance and work out your route as not everywhere is dog friendly!

Our first view of Loch Lomond was somewhat hazy!

It was very windy up on Conic Hill. This photo was taken shortly before the heavens opened. Unfortunately my backpack also came open as I walked down the hill and I had to walk back up to receive my soggy items FAIL!

We planned our route to stop in Balmaha so that we could do a boat trip on Loch Lomond. Unfortunately the stormy weather ment no boats could go out.

After getting soaked through and a little chilly we had a lovely evening and were VERY happy to be sitting in the hot tub with a local beer 🙂

The aptly named beer, the West Highland Way, is from the new Loch Lomond brewery and very nice it was too.

Loch Lomand is approx 24 miles long and is the largest body of water in Great Britain by surface area. We thought this was actually going to our “easier” part of the journey. Oh how wrong we were! A lot of the path involves jumping over waterfalls, climbing around bolders and tackling narrow rocky steps – slow going! Plus every time we stopped for more than about 60 seconds we were invaded by hundreds of midges.

Finally, we got a bit of sun 🙂

The further north we travelled the more dramatic and open the landscape became.

Looking out over part of Rannoch Moor.

The first glimpse of the Glen Coe mountains

Nicki in front of the famous Black Rock cottage with Buachaille Etive Mor in the distance. This photo is a bit of a cliche but it has to be done!

Despite the distance and aching bodies, we still had lots of fun.

Our 6th night was spent at the famous Kings House hotel in Glen Coe. After a lovely meal and soak in the bath I was ready to relax, until I looked out of our hotel room window to see this beautiful sunset. Throwing on my coat (over my PJ’s) and flip flops (an interesting look) I walked down to the water to get this photo.

Part way up Devils Staircase

Stunning views from two thirds of the way up Devils Staircase.

Pipes carry water down from the reservoir high in the hill to Kinlockleven village that was once used for aluminium production.

View from the hills above Kinlochleven looking west down Loch Leven. The large mountain on the left is known as the Pap of Glencoe.

Our last day took us 15 miles well away from the road from Kinlockleven to Fort William. It was forecasted that we would get storms from midday. We set out a little earlier to try and put as many miles behind us as possible whilst watching the big dark clouds getting closer and closer!

Andy and Jake having a well earned rest under the first bit of cover we found.

We did it! The original end to the West Highland Way.

But of course we had to finish at the new official end of the West Highland Way. Funy how the new route happens to take you right through Fort William’s shopping centre! I did buy a WHW t-shirt though ;p

I packed some sparklers with me that I saved right until the end 🙂

We arranged to meet up with some of the lovely people we had met along the way for a celebratory drink (or two).
Unfortunately my phone died after taking everyone’s email address so I can’t contact them. If you happen to recognise any of these people please point them here – thank you.

You can still donate towards the Dogs Trust via my Just Giving page – thank you!