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Kinlochleven to Fort William

Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis

OK, so having just tried it, I really wouldn't advise walking 14 miles while suffering from the aftermath of food poisoning. I might have managed to get pretty much everything (and I mean everything) out of my system last night, but there's a debilitating dizziness that comes along with the nausea of food poisoning, and that takes a lot longer to shift. It's not exactly the best hiking companion I've ever had, particularly as Scotland hasn't turned out to be the easiest walking environment in the first place.

Raining Inside

Glen Nevis
Glen Nevis

I sweated more today than at any other time on this walk, even on my sun-beaten stomps along the shores of Loch Lomond. From Kinlochleven the Way heads steeply uphill before turning west into a long valley, and during this ascent of about 250m I swam in sweat. I kept having to wipe my eyes from the rivulets pouring down my forehead, and beneath my Gore-Tex jacket I slowly soaked my T-shirt until it felt as if someone had poured a pint of water down my neck. To add to the hassle the weather consisted of blustery showers one minute and hot sun the next, so I thought it best to leave my jacket on, as wearing a soaked T-shirt in cold rain is not the best way to conserve energy when you're already running on empty.

The Nevis Forest
Walking in the Nevis Forest
A sign saying 'The End of the West Highland Way'
The sign at the end of the West Highland Way

Since you're connecting the two most extreme ends of the country on foot why shouldn't you bag the highest point while you're at it? It almost seems churlish to ignore the opportunity! ... It's a steady climb, but not particularly difficult, and although the actual summit gives very little impression of the mountain's sheer height and size (especially its rugged north face) the chance to add yet another noteworthy highlight to the trip is surely irresistible?

Churlish? Well, that's me then. Why make life harder for yourself than you have to? Then again, this is the guy who also suggests that it's quite possible to go from Kings House to Fort William in one go, a hilly romp of 23 miles. As he says:

If you don't feel fit by now, 950 miles on from Land's End, then perhaps you never will!

Thanks Andrew. That makes me feel a whole lot better, as I sit here all churlish and unfit. Perhaps it's because I've only done 900 miles to get this far, rather than 950 – that's what you get for being slack, eh.