West Highland Way | Day No. 4

Don’t mind me. I’m as happy as a cricket here.

Jo March (Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women)

September 16, 2019

Onto Day 4, and I had only just begun my walk out of Crianlarich when I happened upon a book – a pocket-sized guide of the WHW – sitting on the middle of the trail. Its pages were clean and dry, so I used my excellent deductive reasoning skills to determine it could not have been left overnight. Furthermore, its pages had been flagged to indicate where the owner’s route was taking them, and I was set on returning the book to these rightful owners. Turns out, the mystery wasn’t too hard to solve. I hadn’t even reached the first waymarker when I found the couple walking along. Having successfully returned their book, Clive and Lynn invited me to tag along with them, and we had a great time chatting as we took in the dewy morning scenery. Despite yesterday’s mileage, my legs were feeling great and I eventually politely excused myself and skipped on ahead, eager to get on with my day.

It did not take too long of a walk to reach Auchtertyre, where I found “The Trading Post” and had my heart stolen by Frank, a beautiful and timid CollieXHusky. Securing a cup of tea from the shop, I took a seat on the front stoop beside Frank and learned of his back-story from his owner, a kind, elderly Scottish woman. “I named him Frank after Frank Sinatra, because of his big blue eyes,” she told me. Breathing in the moment, it was just wonderful.

Two Swiss women I had seen at the hostel arrived and waved hello. “Wow!” one exclaimed, “What time did you leave? We left before 8:00 AM and thought we were the first ones on the trail!” I smiled in a way that I hope concealed my smugness; I was excited to be in the lead. We didn’t speak much, but shared a common interest and many nods of gratitude for our unspoken race towards Bridge of Orchy. (We’d spend the rest of the day neck and neck, but I DID arrive at Bridge of Orchy first!)

It was hard to part ways with Frank, but the day just kept getting better. I had only just left the Trading Post when I rounded a corner of the farmland and saw a brown splotch in the distance. Could it be? My dream on this trip was to see a highland cow, and now there was one in front of my very own eyes. Reaching into my pocket to get my camera, I turned just enough to see an even bigger one standing RIGHT THERE! I let out a giggly rasp I was unfamiliar with. “HE’S SO CUTE!” Still within cellular service, I messaged Claire and Heather with a photograph right away. “I can die happy now!” I told them, to which Claire wrote back, “Yeah, but please, not on the trail.” With her having completed the WHW previously, Claire has been an incredible resource of trail-related wisdom, and I happily accepted her advice and trudged onward. Stopping for lunch at the Green Welly in Tyndrum, I then made my way through the rain towards Bridge of Orchy.

I reached Bridge of Orchy Hotel much earlier than I had anticipated. Having made previous arrangements with my Airbnb host, Zita, to pick me up, I sent her a quick note to share the news of my early arrival, and enjoyed a soup, tea, and sticky toffee pudding before Zita arrived.

After the past few nights in hostels, I am just so happy to not be sharing a bunkbed. Tulla Cottage is spotlessly clean, with a bed just perfect to cozy up in. Which is exactly what I have done – pyjamas on, teeth brushed, and feeling right at home as I celebrate being more than halfway done the WHW.

Word of the day: WOW

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