Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The West Highland Way - After

Inveroran Hotel (2-3 miles north of Bridge of Orchy)

A Scottish friend of mine would occasionally say, with a sigh, “It’s a sair fecht”. A straight translation of which is - “It’s a sore fight.”

When people use this phrase they mean – “It’s a hard life.” People usually say it when they are just a bit fed up with things, not seriously despondent or depressed.

That was me on The West Highland Way.

Perhaps it was my very high expectations that were vulnerable and therefore almost guaranteed to plummet. Whatever the reason, regrettably, the overall experience of  walking The West Highland Way was not a good one for me.

The reader will want to know what the main problem was. Well, the Scottish Midge essentially. Call me stupid but I don’t find it enjoyable walking the length of Loch Lomond, and elsewhere, if I’m unable to take the weight off my feet and laze without fear of being eaten by clouds of evil midges.

A lady at Rowardennan said “There’s a reason for the midges but I can’t remember what it is.” Err, alright then. Food chain maybe? The House Martins hoovering up the midges outside at the time would agree that point if they were capable of agreeing anything. And if it is food chain then fine. Just leave me (and my friends) out of it.

Also, me being me, if one thing doesn’t suit me I do tend to look at other things in a bad light which can exacerbate the problem. In short order, I did not appreciate the beer (a Tartan Special at the Rod & Reel in Crianlarich was ok after the third pint), the food; the Full Scottish Breakfast looks a bit lonely on the plate, and they don’t seem to even have plates at The Inversnaid Hotel …

Prodnose: “Enough!!”

Me: “But they’ll want to hear about the walk. About the good company of Andrea, Markus and Anthony, the friendly locals, what the scenery looks like through the secure window of a b&b where the inside temperature is 34C , where midges congregate in a tent, how small the fried eggs ...”

Prodnose: “You’re off again. Enough!


GeoffC said...

Bad luck this time with the midges, they can ruin anything if, like me, you come up in red itchy lumps. It is a very enjoyable walk in the right conditions, we did it in winter in January but in extraordinary benign conditions, no midges of course and hardly any people either.
A bit surprising though, we were out for 5 days in the Ben Alder area the week before you: very hot at times, no wind and no midges at all.

Unknown said...

The locals seemed surprised to see so many midges so early in the season.

Virtually midge free on Day 1 (Saturday) under hot sun with a cooling breeze. Out in force later in very warm, still conditions. Even worse Wednedsay night/ Thursday morning in drizzle.

Yes - frosty weather will be the time to go back.

Alan Sloman said...

The midges can be ferocious along Loch Lomond. I still remember the midges at Cashel in very early May 2007 with a nasty shudder.

SteveC said...

Sorry to hear the WHW wasn't an enjoyable experience but those midges can be a nightmare. I was fortunate that they were only an issue for one day on my walk but I do remember having to keep moving or be eaten alive. Hopefully the walking gods will look kindly on you next time around (I'm certainly looking for some better luck on my next walk too!). Cheers, Steve