Trails and trials of the writer who walks
Sabine and I never walk together, she leaves before me, but we have many more encounters. The 10 miles to Kings House pass rapidly – this is another of those hotels in the middle of nowhere, but also near Glencoe ski centre – and I arrive at around 11 am, having just missed Sabine, she tells me later. She was kindly served a huge mug of tea and a bacon roll during the non-chef hours but I only have to wait until 12 before I can order a haggis and cheddar pannini from the lunch menu.
Everything is wet, so I’m in no rush to leave. Most trekkers break this section, I’m told, by staying over at King’s House, but as it’s still so early and only 8 miles to Kinlochlevan, I plough on. Paddle on, I mean. The rain is relentless. My pack is getting heavier as I’m now carrying a saturated tent. Flash floods beset the trail and need negotiating every few hundred metres.
Kinlochlevan always promises to be just over the next hill but never is. The roar of its sluices and waterfalls, part of the hydroelectric plant, accompany me for the last weary miles. Two large wines and a fish supper go a long way to raise my spirits, although I have the prospect of sleeping in my wet tent and damp sleeping bag again.
“Do you serve wet people?” I ask a barman, as a puddle follows me in.
“Only type we get,” he replies. “Why d’ye think we have plastic chairs?”