Our West Highland Way 2010 Journal!
There are a number of reasons that we decided to do this walk.
- A lot has been written about it, enough to tempt us that far North.
- For the Shelterbox appeal www.shelterbox.org
- I’m half Scottish and felt that I really should do a walk in Scotland in honour of my father.
- Because it’s there. • We needed a challenge
- We didn’t want to do the C2C again (but we do now)
- Jenny and I are Rotarians with the Diss & District Rotary Club www.dissrotary.org.uk
We wanted to raise money for the Shelterbox appeal; Brenda wanted to help too; we set up a ‘Just Giving’ page www.justgiving.com/HeatherandJenny we then took our sponsorship forms to everyone we knew. So far we have raised in excess of £600 and the Just Giving page is still open.
After deciding on the distance we wanted to walk each day, the first thing we did was book the accommodation. This was relatively easy as we made the bookings in November and in the main were able to secure our first choices.
Then came the fun and games with the trains. We all bought ‘senior rail cards’ £20 each, then we had to wait until about 12 weeks before our journey up to Scotland before we were able to ‘bag’ the cheap tickets. We ended up paying £58.30 for all three to travel to Milngavie. A bargain we thought. We then had to wait a few weeks before we could book the return journey from Fort William to Stowmarket. This cost just £93. So our fares there and back came to about £50 each, plus our rail cards and these have been put to good use since.
All the trains were on time and we only had a 20 minute wait in Glasgow for the train to Milngavie, otherwise the connections meant a five minute wait at most. It’s advisable to book as the trains were full for the most part.
Due to some awful weather during the winter months we didn’t really get out to train on a regular basis until around March and then it was out every week with full gear. Fortunately we didn’t encounter any problems with our gear or our feet/boots; having said that we didn’t get too much rain to check out the waterproofness of our jackets etc. We put together a training plan and stuck to it, come rain or shine. It can be difficult to all get together for training as Brenda lives a distance from Jenny and me.
What to take
You would think that by now we would have this down to a fine art – wrong – we ummed and aahhed for ever, because this time we were going to have to negotiate trains, platforms, people and steps with bags and rucksacks.
Wheeled holdalls were going to work best, one large for Jen and Bren to share and a much smaller one for me. If it didn’t fit in, it didn’t get to travel to Scotland and missed out on its holiday. I couldn’t believe that I got everything I thought I would need in such a small bag. I also carried the maps, gps, journal, guide book and large first aid pack in my case; two pairs of trousers, three t-shirts, two fleece, underwear, socks waterproofs, hat, gloves, buff, sandals and toiletries.
In our day packs we each carry 2 litres of water, snack food and warm clothing, foil blanket, spare socks and spare boot laces and camera (we wore our waterproofs every day). I also carry the maps, gps, guide book and a small first aid kit, torch and whistle; Jenny carries a survival bag.