West Highland Way | Day No 1

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

September 14, 2019

A hot shower, a steak and mushroom pie with mash and veggies, and a cozy, clean pair of pyjamas rounded out a perfect first day along the West Highland Way. The Oak Tree Inn, my home-away-from-home for the night, was absolutely lovely (the hostel I had originally booked had inexplicably shut down, and so I indulged with a hotel stay!) As I sit in the St Mocha coffee shop sipping an Earl Grey tea before I trek out into the rain, I am so very happy to have made yesterday my “long day” and to have lucked out with incredible weather. Conic Hill would likely be quite slippery in the rain, and I timed it just right to descend in the soft glow of twilight last night, mesmerised by first views of Loch Lomond below.

The entire first day on the trail had been perfectly timed. Early on, I met Helen, Tracey, and their husbands, all hailing from Newcastle. The group was so warm and welcomed me into their company; I walked with them for about an hour and a half before they stopped at the Glengoyne Distillery, and I carried onwards.

Passing through pastures and small villages, a highlight of the afternoon was stopping at one of the many honesty boxes along the path, where I warmed up with a cup of tea before heading towards Conic Hill, the final stage of Day No. 1.

The coffee shop is bustling and their playlist is spot-on. When I arrived they were playing the Cranberries and now I feel right at home with Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard” serenading the crowd of tourists and hikers, who are, like me, putting off going out in the rain for just a little bit longer. When I trekked through Iceland last summer, I made it a habit to jot down a list of items to help me through the trek. It proved to be an effective way of making sense of the adventure, and so in honour of that, here is round two:

Word(s) of the day: Pure Joy

My intention of the day: To embrace the weather in all its moods and keep the amazing, positive vibes going

Now, it is time for me to hit the trail once again. Day No. 2… Its on!

To be continued…

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