Trails and trials of the writer who walks
The morning passes with more hard surface deer-stalker trail. I’m making two mistakes right now: feeling peeved about the monotony of it, and smug that I’m already ahead of schedule. The path heads uphill into boggier and stonier terrain, but nothing over-challenging and my first bare foot burn crossing is achieved without incident (except that the midges have too much time for ankle biting while I’m getting boots on and off).
By mid-afternoon, I’m approaching Glenfinnan where the sight of the Jacobite steam train whistling and puffing over the viaduct stops me in my tracks. It continues along the side of the glen until its chubby white clouds are dots above the darkness of the forests. This is a very civilised stop: museum café, hotel bar with wonderful views across the loch (and good food), even sleeper carriages if accommodation is required.
Day Three: In a spirit of reckless over-confidence, I make a late start from Glenfinnan so that I can enjoy breakfast at the museum café. And then, after barely an hour on the trail, I stop once more at the bothy at Corryhully to have a brew, let my tent dry out, and enjoy a pleasant chat with Trevor, who seems to have settled into the bothy on a semi-permanent basis. You can see where this is leading (time-wise I mean, not Trevor-wise).
Fast forward: it’s almost dark. I’m in a swampy pasture at the edge of the Forest of No Return. There is just one small hillock in sight with a top firm enough to take a tent. It’s dreadfully exposed: one little lump in a vast wind tunnel called Glen Pean, but I scramble up it anyway. No choice. At the top of the hillock I find a ripped groundsheet and a broken tent pole.