Day 8 - Saturday 28/10/06, 14 miles to then end of the Way then further to the station
Kinlochleven Fort Wiliam

Today is the last day of our walk and one we need to start early. Eating breakfast at 07:30 gave us a head start to the day while pitch dark outside turned grey with the first light of the morning. By the time breakfast was finished and we checked out, the day was light enough to walk by. Kinlochleven has an average annual rainfall of 3000mm, four times the rainfall we get at home. True to form, Tuesday’s shower stayed with us to the end and saw us off from Fort William in torrential style.

The start of the day’s walk involved a steep ascent of almost 1000ft to the - The Great Pass. All along the Way, flooded burns flowed across the path. Worst was at the start of the walk where one of the burns would have been impassible but for a short stretch of metal fence provided to stop walkers straying off the rocky pathside. We made full misuse of it to cross the burn by clambering across the rails while the water rushed inches below our feet. Soon Lochleven was left behind, far away down in the glen where it came into view one last time from a clearing in the trees. The big pass Lairigmor is bound on both sides by the rotund hills of the Mamores providing a natural corridor between the Fort William and Kinlochleven. Now that we had gained height and joined the excellent Lairigmor track we made fast progress all the way to the last few miles of the Way. Rain continued to fall so heavily the full width of track flooded, water was flowing down it like a burn several inches deep in places. We were forced to join the water flowing down the track; this didn’t matter too much as our boots were already soaked inside and out. The Wade Road After passing the Mamores, the Way enters forested areas made heavy with mud churned up by huge logging vehicles. Solitude ended here when we met other walkers for the first time since leaving Kinlochleven over 10 miles ago. We eventually began our descent through the pine trees to Glen Nevis. Ben Nevis was hidden ahead of us in thick clouds. For a short while in the afternoon the rain became much lighter allowing us to complete the walk in T-shirts. A week of rain had acclimatised us and we shrugged off light showers being more comfortable out of the waterproof than wearing them. Approaching the Glen Nevis visitor’s centre, other walkers, suitably wrapped up for a winter’s day on the top of Ben Nevis occasionally gave us an odd look as we happily passed by them. They had more clothing than an outdoor gear shop and still hadn’t walked more than a mile from the road. The End Finally, the Way follows the Glen Nevis road to Fort William. The tarmac path alongside a wet road busy with noisy cars throwing up spray was a real anticlimax to the previous 96 miles. The Way and road meet an ignominiously urban end at a roundabout with an adjacent signpost proclaiming the official end to the walk. Here we me another couple who were finishing walk and we took turns swapping cameras for a completion photo’. Heavy rain had re-joined us to celebrate our completion, blown along by the wind which as forecast had been increasing to gale force. The elation we felt at having completed the walk was tinged with a little disappointment that our adventure was almost over. The boys eagerly chatted about which long distance path they wanted to do in their next half term holiday as we followed along behind, proud of their achievements and ambition.

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