Friday, May 15, 2015

WEST HIGHLAND WAY (WHW) – Day 3 – Rowardennan > Inversnaid

West Highland Way, Scotland -- Day 3



WEST HIGHLAND WAY BLOG LINKS:

Things to Know Before You Go
Day 1 – London > Glasgow > Milngavie > Drymen
Day 2 – Drymen > Balmaha > Rowardennan
Day 3 – Rowardennan > Inversnaid
Day 4 – Inversnaid > Crianlarich
Day 5 – Crianlarich > Bridge of Orchy
Day 6 – Bridge of Orchy > Kingshouse (Glencoe)
Day 7 – Kingshouse > Kinlochleven
Day 8 – Kinlochleven > Ft William

I woke up at 6am, then 9am, then 11am.. and then couldn't sleep any more and it was still raining hard. If my tent had been absolutely waterproof, I would have waited the full storm out and then packed up and carried on when it was dry. That was not the case. I was wet and grumpy and the tent was still leaking, so I packed my things in the cold rain. I tried to wring all of the water out of my sleeping bag and all of my clothes, but in the end my already heavy backpack now weighed an additional 10 pounds due to complete water saturation of absolutely everything.

Can you guess the mood I am in at this point? I can bet you are wrong. As I set out that morning, completely soggy and cold, I was beaming with happiness. I was doing this. I am having my adventure.

But now I had to get back to the path I was on before I hopped the fence last night and slept in an area that was blocked off for maintenance. After a full night of rain.. the small stream I had crossed the night before.. not so small.


video
The rapids I had to cross over the next morning.

In my mind, I was now facing rapids the size of the Colorado River. I had no idea how I was going to get across this insanity without being washed away. So I ended up climbing down the hill, all the way to the shore of Loch Lamond, and wading through the water to the other side of the water runoff, then I had to climb all the way back up the hill on the other side through the brush.

(Looking back on this first water obstacle of the day would later cause me to laugh. By the end of that day, within the next 6 hours, I crossed by foot many much more frightening waterfalls and rapids. If I had to face those first rapids again, I could walk right across no problem.)

SOME MORE INSANE WATER CROSSINGS THAT DAY IN THE RAIN:


video

It was at this next crossing that I stood there and looked at it for about 5 minutes. Absolutely terrified. It doesn't look like much in the video, but please also keep in mind my legs felt completely depleted of energy and my backpack now felt like it weighed about 70 pounds. If the wind or the water happened to tip me over.. I would be falling all the way down the side of that mountain. 

video

But luckily, after 5 minutes of standing and staring, an elderly couple came up behind me and asked if I needed help. I did not wave off the invitation for assistance this time and I replied with a whimpering "Yes." They linked arms with me and walked me across the water. I was ever so thankful.

I didn't want to travel far this day, so I only had to walk 5 miles to get to the next village, Inversnaid. Due to the now insanely heavy backpack and a multitude of water obstacles, it took me over 6 hours of extremely difficult trekking to get this distance.

By the time I arrived at the bridge where I could glimpse the Inversnaid Hotel, I was wishing for a hotel room. The hotel called up to the Inversnaid Bunkhouse up the hill and there was one cancellation! They drove down to the hotel to pick me up and take me to the bunkhouse. Before I even got out of the car I asked if I could stay at the bunkhouse for 2 nights.

The first night I sharing a room with 4 Germans.. and we all look pretty worn out and we traded horror stories of our rain soaked travels. That day almost broke me. There were times I wanted to call a taxi to come and pick me up, but thankfully that wasn't an option.

I had made it 33 MILES out of 96.. I was 1/3 done!!!

The next day I opened up my backpack and spread everything out on the lawn to dry.
I also went through my bag and found many items I had been carrying that I thought were necessities, but that I never used. I got rid of my camping fork/knife/spoon set, my medicine box with aspirin and vitamin C powder, and I finished that bottle of red wine.. and realized what a bad idea it was to be carrying that in an already heavy backpack.

I absolutely loved my stay at Inversnaid Bunkhouse which is a historic church, converted into dorm rooms for trekkers. The top floor is a restaurant / bar / relaxing area called 'The Top Bunk" and there I got my first helpings of legendary Scottish meals like 'Haggis' and I also had a "Black Pudding Salad.'







After a full day of rest, I am still loving this.. and I will finish.

WEST HIGHLAND WAY BLOG LINKS:

Things to Know Before You Go
Day 1 – London > Glasgow > Milngavie > Drymen
Day 2 – Drymen > Balmaha > Rowardennan
Day 3 – Rowardennan > Inversnaid
Day 4 – Inversnaid > Crianlarich
Day 5 – Crianlarich > Bridge of Orchy
Day 6 – Bridge of Orchy > Kingshouse (Glencoe)
Day 7 – Kingshouse > Kinlochleven
Day 8 – Kinlochleven > Ft William


 




 



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