Distance: 35,5 km (22,1 mi) for a total of 1756,4 km (1091,3 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 710 m (2330 ft)
Weather: Sunny all day, getting hot in the late morning for the rest of the day
In fact, I had spent the night at a spot before Tyndrum. The way to the village offered a couple of information panels, all dealing with events and stories around Robert the Bruce, e.g. the legend of the lochan of the lost sword.
Unfortunately, the good weather without wind or rain made it nearly impossible to stop at these points for reading the short texts. Everybody who has been to Scotland in this season will know why: midge alarm! For those unfamiliar with this plague of the Highlands: midges are very tiny insects attacking in literally trillions as soon as one stops moving. They are especially active in the mornings and evenings, a good breeze or at least some drizzle prevent them from flying. So it’s either covering as completely as possible to avoid getting bitten or praying for “bad” weather.
I wasn’t in a hurry to get to Tyndrum as I hoped for a good breakfast in a cafe. This plan worked perfectly. Fuelled with a full cooked breakfast, a piece of millionaire shortbread and two mugs of tea I felt able to tackle the old military road up to Bridge of Orchy which I remembered as a long, wide and boring track. It was a wide track without much variation but not as bad as in my memory – perhaps because of the sunshine. When I walked the WHW ten years ago, it was a grey day which certainly had an impact on my perception.
At Bridge of Orchy I took a short refreshment stop as the day had become quite hot. And although the way over Màm Carraigh to Loch Tulla wasn’t long I took another short stop at Inveroran.
On the track up into Rannoch Moor my backpack started squeaking, an annoying permanent noise which nearly drove me mad. I couldn’t do anything about it as it was triggered by the heat and the effects on the material. The moor was beautiful in the fine weather, just as I remembered it. Even though the old road of Thomas Telford on which the WHW runs only touches the fringe of the moor passing lochans, crossing the river Bà and being surrounded by dark, towering hills gives a special feeling of remoteness and it’s easy to imagine bloodthirsty stories happening here.
My original plan had been to use a site before crossing the A82 for camping. Signs were pointing to it already from the WHW but the word “Camping” was obviously scratched out. I decided that it was way too hot for experiments with uncertain outcome and opted for going to the Kingshouse Hotel instead. The hotel is closed right now, there’s only a bunkhouse and a cafe/bar in operation. These would have been very nice (even towels provided when staying in the bunkhouse) if there hadn’t been problems with the water supply: everything requiring water was out of operation. There were already people on the site trying to fix it but this hadn’t happened till I decided to end the day. Tomorrow will be only a very short walk, nice after the long days in the heat and muggyness.