I trudged into the night. The rain got harder and the darkness pressed in. I could no longer tell how far along on the path I was
Look how far I had come.
The choice lay before me: heaven or the underworld?
The path along the lochside was easy, pleasant, and scenic. It did occasionally see fit to climb over a low hill, but I couldn’t begrudge it this flightiness.
The West Highland Way – even the very name must resonate with all hikers and lovers of the outdoors across the United Kingdom and beyond. It conjures up images of lochs and rivers and misty glens, moors and mountains, high roads, low roads, and blooming heather.
The man was drenched in sweat. “You’ve got quite a climb ahead of you,” he told us with a grin and an Eastern European accent. We looked at the high, rolling hills behind him. “Does the path go up there?” we asked. “Yeah, it’s pretty steep.”
On the summit, though, we turned again to take the wind on the broadside. We leaned into it as we walked through a torrent of cloud and sideways rain. There were no features discernible but a lonely line of fence posts.
My route was not a good one. I did not flow smoothly northwards.
“See you on Ben Nevis in two weeks, then.” In my mind’s eye, a gauntlet thudded heavily to the ground at my feet.
We reached the summit cairn and waited for our turn to pose on top of it, with Steve and Hugo loudly saying things along the lines of “Walked all the way from Snowdon, eh? Nice going!” then looking round to see if anyone reacted. Steve produced some celebratory whiskey, which we all knocked back a sip of.