It all began with a book (as many grand adventures do).
I’ve been going through an adventure stories phase and devouring the Best American Travel Stories series like cookies. While on a trip to the East Coast I’d begun reading the 2000 Edition. While many of the stories I had read resonated with me and inspired me to travel as much and as often as I could, when I started reading ‘Three men on the way: a story of walking the West Highland Way’ by Hamish Brown I got a tingly feeling. You know the one. The one that makes your heart beat a little faster, when your thoughts keep drifting back to it and you get that gnawing feeling in your gut that tells you, ‘This is it! This is The One!’.
After all, I was ready for something different in the travel department. I had several backpacking trips through Europe, more camping trips than I can count, and a few exotic destinations under my belt. I wanted a challenge, a vacation with a mission, a goal that would push me outside my comfort zone. I wanted adventure. The lonely, ethereal call of the Scottish Highlands seemed to be the answer.
A Wannabe Wanderer Calls on Her Friends
Fortunately, I have two friends whom I can always count on to join me for an adventure. This time was no exception. With summer holidays looming ahead, we had to plan quickly but everything fell into place surprisingly well and with tickets booked, reservations made and gear purchased, I waited with growing excitement until I could break free of my chains (actually a pretty awesome job I love and a comfortable middle-class existence in suburbia).
What is ‘The One’ Anyway?
A 96-mile footpath snaking through the glens and bogs of northwestern Scotland, the West Highland Way is the most popular long-distance trail in Scotland. Although little known outside the region, the trail is reminiscent of the more popular Camino de Santiago in Spain – hostels and B&Bs dot the trail at (infrequent) intervals, giving travelers a chance to rest their aching feet and shower away the grime of the day’s exertions. Our plan was to hike about two-thirds of the way and end at the Bridge of Orchy – five days on the road covering roughly 50 miles.
The adventure begins….