WHW & GGW 2008 Comments Page

This is the comments page for my West Highland Way and Great Glen Way journal from May 2008. Please feel free to leave any feedback or comments you wish.

lonewalker

Fell-walker, trig-pointer, peak-bagger, Wainwright-er & Pennine Way author, with a passion for long paths, malt whisky, fast cars & Man City

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39 Responses

  1. TrekWays says:

    A great read Stuart. I can really relate to a lot of what is written here, having completed both of these walks – but not obviously in the manner that you did! Thanks again for sharing these experience.

  2. Tim says:

    Thanks for your reply.
    Two additional questions:
    What is your opinion on walking poles?
    What is your view on hydration packs?
    Rambling Pete seemed to prefer a hydration pack on the WHW, but it did not appear that either of you use poles.

  3. lonewalker says:

    Tim, thanks for the feedback – glad you enjoyed the journal.

    A couple of the other long path journals have a full kit list that I took, only really relevant if you’re using a baggage courier though πŸ™‚

    In terms of footwear the underfoot conditions on both paths are generally excellent – you won’t need boots in the way that you would need them to keep your feet dry and warm – but you may enjoy the additional cushioning that boots offer.

    My advice would be to use whatever you usually use. It’s not worth trying something different for one walk. Use what you’re comfortable with and you won’t go wrong.

  4. Tim says:

    Hello,

    Thank you so very much for the wonderful accounts of your WHW and GGW adventures! I will doing the exact same trek this September (it will be my first long distance walk) and it got me fired up to hear your very detailed accounts of your experiences.
    Do not pay any attention to those who posted negative comments on this site…they most likely have other “issues” in their lives.
    As I am inexperienced at this type of endeavor, do you have any advice for a check list of supplies that I could utilize? I am especially interested in choosing the correct footwear considering what you encountered with your shoes on the walk.

    I will most likely read your entire journal once again as my day draws nearer. Thanks again!

  5. lonewalker says:

    Graham/Colin

    Thank you both for your comments – I’m pleased to hear you both enjoyed the walk and my report. It’s certainly one I will do again in a year or two – probably north to south this time (from Inverness). I doubt I will be so lucky with the weather, but at least I now have the knowledge on where to avoid staying πŸ˜‰

  6. Graham Houghton says:

    What a well written and entertaining website. I did the WHW in October 2009 wildcamping all the way. Had fantastic weather with clear blue skies, but got to -3 during the night at Kingshouse, the tent was frozen solid. It was half way over rannoch moor when we could unpack them again to melt the ice and dry them out. Your bit about the Drovers Inn is spot on – a shit hole is the best description I have heard of it, well done for speaking out on it and the charge of Β£67 is an absolute travesty! Were looking to do the C2C this October but still debating B&B or bunkhouses.

    Thanks again for reliving my experience on the WHW and well done with the photos and map inclusions they are just fantastic and I’m sure everyone appreciates the effort involved in all this.

  7. Colin says:

    Hi Wonderful account of the WHW. My wife and I doing it in September and gleaned lots of useful info from your journal. Liked the balanced look to it a lot good with the bad and a few sections made me laugh ! Thanks will look forward to reading some if not all of your other entries. Colin

  8. Mary says:

    Great blog!
    I have found it really helpful as a middle aged, not too fit lady, doing the WHW alone next month……..reading this was SO useful, thanks a lot!

  9. Pete says:

    Hi Stuart.

    I’ve just finished reading your WHW/GGW and I have enjoyed every step. I like the way you have taken time not just to write about the good parts of the walk, but to point out the little nasty’s that we all want to avoid.

    For your info’ my friends and I are doing the whole walk in June/July, if we enjoy it as much as you have, then the pain will be worthwhile.

    Up to now I have walked the C2C, Dingle Way, Gritstone Way, and the IOM coastal path all of which I can highly recommend, if I had to choose one then I would pick the IOM every time, we only saw two other walkers all week.

    Pete.

  10. Stroller52 says:

    Hi Stuart, Founf your website whilst researching C2C, WHW and the Dalesway (which is conspicuous by its absence from your website). I spent most of Sunday and also Monday evening reading tour accounts of the C2C and WHW/GGW – you have a great writing style and I could put your journals down. Some people only see the negatives and consequently mised all the highlights which were by far in the majority. Including things that didn’t work and bad experiences only serves to reinforce the highlights and provides a balanced report of the whole walk – please don’t change your approach.

    For years I had in mind doing the Penniune Way but life got in the way and I only returned to fell walking a few years ago. Now I am retired I have the opportunity to undertake longer walks and whilst attracted by both the C2C and WHW I figured the Dalesway might be a better first choice.

    Your journals have provided me with the inspiration to do more than think about LDWs; there is a limit to the amount of reading/research that can be done, eventually one has to get off the settee!!

    Reading other peoples’ accounts of walks (and there are some very good sites out there) I contemplated creating my own; there seems little point given the very high quality of the content in and presentation of your website. I think the best thing I can do is to get out and simply enjoy the walks.

    I will keep an eye out for your next journal – can’t wait

  11. colin warner says:

    having read you account of WHW just wanted to say really good read , informative , great photos, a good all round account , essential reading for anyone planning to do it, like i am! some time this year.
    been wanting to get into walking for a while now, always enjoyed it as a kid , i used to walk an eighteen mile route when i was about 12-13 ! unfortunately im 42 now lol and have smoked ever since. i give up this week and am going to start walking to work, its only a mile but plan on extending it over time, anyway again ignore the idiot negative comments about angry frank etc, brill read and the best i have read so far, good luck in your further adventures.

  12. Chris says:

    Oh, it’s okay, I have a head net.

    Alright alright…clothes for the WHW: check. It will probably turn out to be an excellent tip, but the necessity will also depend on the amount of single malt consumed, I reckon. I hear that Scotland is a decent place to find the stuff. πŸ˜‰

  13. Chris says:

    Howdy, great site you have here. I have read through your WHW journal, oh, we’ll just say a few times in the last month or so. Excellent, well balanced account of your trip. It got me excited, but also tempered. I’m headed over from the US to Milgavie this weekend to start on sunday, almost exactly the same route but different accommodations. Incidentally, I’ll be sporting some Terrocs, but that’s all I wear to hike in, so…finger’s crossed. Any last minute tips from a WHW vet?

    I look forward to reading some of your other journals once my mind is able to focus on more than one thing (WHW WHW WHW….). Thanks for sharing.

    • lonewalker says:

      Chris, glad you enjoyed the journal, hope you enjoy the walk. The WHW has been one of my most favourite long walks and I will certainly be doing it again sometime in the near future. Terrocs were great for me, especially with the super weather I had, my only slight concern would be the paths can be hard underfoot and the Terrocs aren’t the most padded footbed – however if that’s all you wear to hike then you have other things to worry about πŸ™‚ I couldn’t imagine walking naked through Scotland and the midgies at this time of year πŸ˜‰

  14. lonewalker says:

    Hi Kirsty – thanks for the feedback – so pleased it inspired you to give it a try – Italy is overrated by the way πŸ™‚ Just head straight for Glasgow! I found the WHW and GGW to be slightly easier than the C2C – but some sections are quite tough on the feet so good soles are required.
    The C2C 2009 journal is still in very early stages and I may end up writing the Pennine Way one from this year before I get round to the C2C.

  15. Kirsty in Canada says:

    Hello Stuart!
    I found your site a couple of months ago and have been slowly reading through it. Just finished your account of the WHW and GGW and it sealed the deal for my husband and I to venture over to try it. Sadly we have to go to Italy first (feel sorry for us?) so it won’t be for a couple of years. We just did the C2C in July 09 (July 12th – 27th). We opted to do it over 16 days with a rest day at Kirkby Stephens. Even at that I was in PAIN most times. I’m 38 and in reasonably good shape but wow was it hard on the legs.
    Anyhoo – loved reading your report and have decided we will follow your exact route pretty much and do both paths with Ben Nevis in between as well. We also got up to Scotland when we were over and spent some time in and around Drumnadrochit and I was really happy to see that the path brings you back through there. I think we stayed at the same B&B as your 4 walking buddies. You said they stayed in a converted chapel and so was ours called GlenKirk. Must be the same place.
    Your account of the two bad B&B’s on this walk made me laugh out loud and reminded me exactly of how I felt after we stayed with the formidable Mrs. Poole at Glebe House in Patterdale – it’s also part of the Shit Hole chain of B&B’s – lol….god, what a place!
    Looking forward to your new C2C report as you did it just a couple of months before us.

    Take care! Kirsty

  16. Pete Croft says:

    Very interesting journal Stuart, entertaining and witty. Found your C2C journal whilst researching my own C2C walk last year, did`nt get round to it in the end, but planned and booked for this May.

    Looking forward to your 2009 C2C journal.

    Cheers Pete.

    • lonewalker says:

      Thanks for the great feedback Pete – I hope you enjoy the C2C it really is a grand experience. I also enjoyed the WHW as you can tell. No idea at this point what’s happening about the 2009 C2C write-up – I keep getting side tracked by other things πŸ™‚

  17. Dean Carter says:

    Incidentally, where will the 28 mile walk from Bellingham finish? It would be a shame if you missed a stop at Byrness. Brother and I really liked it. The hostel was good and the whole settlement was like someone had picked up a random suburb and just dumped it in the middle of the forest. Our final day over the Cheviots was loooong, but one of the best days of the trip.

    • lonewalker says:

      The 28 (approx) miles are from Byrness to KY. I’m staying at the Byrness in Byrness, just up from the hostel.

  18. Dean Carter says:

    Stuart,

    No problem, I’ll track down the report and email it on to you. Looking forward to reading your C2C report from 2006 to compare notes. It rained – a LOT when we did. Julia Bradbury recorded her programme two weeks after we’d finished and said it had been the wettest August on record. . . Something like that anyway.

    All the best,

    D

  19. Dean Carter says:

    Hi Stuart,

    I’m reading through your WHW/GGW diary now and really enjoying it. When planning a walk it’s really helpful to read a diary like this, especially one so honest and detailed. Knowing where not to go is just as important as where ‘to’ go. I see you’ve done the Coast to Coast walk twice now. I did it in 2008 with my brother and found it tougher tham expected, though our packs were ridiculously heavy – a lesson we failed to learn after the Pennine Way in 2007. Incidentally if you are planning to do the Pennine Way, good luck! It’s tough but what an adventure. For me it was far more rewarding than the Coast to Coast and there were so many more sights to behold! I fell in love with the Yorkshire Dales. For my brother and I it was VERY tough. We gave ourselves 12 and a half days, messed up the first day by getting lost on Kinder Scout, fell behind schedule shortly afterwards, and nearly killed ourselves with the weight of our packs. Most days in the second week were around the 25 mile mark, and one day was 33 miles!! We both want to do the walk again, but with a much more comfortable scehdule and lighter packs. Seriously, it became a feat of endurance for us rather than a holiday. Getting up at 4.30/5 most mornings and straight away heading up a steep hill with aching limbs and what feels like a full wardrobe strapped to your back is not fun. Anyway, I have the whole diary on file if you ever fancy a read. Only fair since yours has been a great help so far. My website is down at the moment. The diary was on there as well as info about my books, but I’m thinking of moving over to WordPress as everyone seems to be using it. The work you’ve done on your own site is incredible. Very impressive. Anyway, must dash. Cheers again, and happy trails!

    D

    • lonewalker says:

      Dean, thanks for the great feedback on the journal – glad you enjoyed it.
      I’m trying to keep my pack weight to an absolute minimum for the PW as there is no easy baggage courier option, so I reckon that I’ll be carrying between 8kg and 10kg. My final long day will be the biggest test I think and all my training is working towards that 28 mile walk from Bellingham.
      I’d love to read your PW journal, so if you’re able, please email to lonewalker at walkingplaces dot co dot uk

  20. Ruth McFadyen says:

    Just loved reading this, laughed most of the way through it, brilliantly written.
    I’m planning to camp all the way from Milngavie to Inverness this summer, and stumbled
    upon your journal by mistake. Some mistakes are worth making πŸ™‚

    Now going to read about Offa’s Dyke πŸ˜›

    Hope to see more of your ramblings in the future

    Ruth

    • lonewalker says:

      Thanks Ruth, I’m glad it was both useful and enjoyable. Not sure you’ll enjoy my Offa’s Dyke write-up quite so much πŸ™‚ That was a walk I didn’t enjoy (or indeed complete).
      The WHW and GGW however were absolutely magnificent and I can’t wait to do them both again.
      Good luck with your walk and I hope the weather is as good as I had.

  21. huggy bear says:

    wot a moaning faced git u are,Go and try and camp the whw u wimp.

    • lonewalker says:

      Funny, my wife says the same thing to me sometimes – I suppose I can take a “glass half empty” approach to life sometimes. On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed the WHW and the GGW – it was superb and the weather made a huge difference. There were one or two moments when I felt inclined to have a moan but hopefully that doesn’t taint the whole journal? I will re-read and see – but thanks for the feedback. The WHW is definitely something I will re-visit and I may well have a go at backpacking it – good suggestion!

  22. lonewalker says:

    Tom, I’m glad you enjoyed the journal. The Drovers seems to be one of those places that you either love or hate – no middle ground – and opinion is evenly split. It’s the Marmite of Scottish accommodation obviously.

  23. tom halliday says:

    enjoyed your story. ive did the way many times and i just love staying at the drovers as do most people its a bit rough i know but thats the way its meant to be and thats the way we all love it. all the best

  24. lonewalker says:

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment John. I think I finally managed to decipher what it was you were trying to say, but perhaps some punctuation would help in future πŸ™‚

    My journals try to include some humour, some tongue in cheek moaning and some genuine “tell it as I see it” comments. I’m sorry you didn’t seem to appreciate that, but then there’s that old adage about “pleasing some of the people…”.
    I will try harder in future πŸ™‚

  25. john russell says:

    first there is angry frank,dog shit,sand quarry. oh how about the three women walkers
    who didnt notice the prick behind them then theres the noisy walkers whats next oh yes inversnaid ie
    prices,and the guy that sits opposite my guess, he must of heard you moaning in glasgow.drovers inn
    thats next for what,another slagging. logged out here what a complete prick.advice stay at home and if you do wander again dont write any more crap

  26. Larissa says:

    A beautiful journal, wonderful photos, and quite a few laughs in there! Just spent the better part of this evening reading it, and it was (and will be) VERY helpful for me as I plan walking the WHW next year. After doing a few ‘local’ long distance trails here in Germany I had an eye on the Offa’s Dyke first, but your journal confirmed my vague plans for switching to the WHW. It sounds – and looks – way more like what I’m looking for.
    Thanks for sharing! And good luck with your future long distance walks.

  27. young smokey says:

    Hi Stuart

    Have just finished reading your journal and thoroughly enjoyed it. Wonderful photos. Brought back some great memories and a few laughs as well. Good luck with your coast to coast walk.

    All the best
    Jim

  28. Gregg Neilson says:

    I only just now finished the GGW part after reading WHW earlier. Both were great reads with wonderful photos, much enjoyed, and liked your descriptions of fellow walkers met on the path. I found the same fault as you with the walk, that is, too much road and stone tracks, very little grassy paths that are so enjoyed on other LDPs. Nevertheless, the scenery makes it all worthwhile doesn’t it.

  29. PhilW says:

    A very interesting read. Thanks a lot. Look forward to reading about your future trips.
    Phil

  30. lonewalker says:

    Thank you both (Pete and Alan) for the kind words.

  31. alan.sloman says:

    I have spent most of today (when i should have been working!) reading your account – wonderfully written and entertaining.

    Good luck with next years Coast to Coast and your LEJOG, whenever you fit that in!

  32. rambling pete says:

    A great read Stuart – no wonder it took so long to finish! I really enjoyed it and I’m glad to see someone else has carried an umbrella on a LDP. Keep on walking, and now you now how to take 5 mins every hour, my rambling won’t seem to bad.

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