Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A spot of long distance trail completion

15th August 2007

The last few weeks have seen me quiet on the blogging front. Having to restore a PC to working condition after its having gone belly up on me was certainly a contributor to this state of affairs. A trip up to Scotland also took me away from the world of computing and refreshing it was too. While a full report for the trip will remain for a further post, the fact that I finally finished the West Highland Way during the visit up north brings me nicely to the subject of this one. In the same spirit, I have also walked nearly all of the Gritstone Trail with only a tiny section about Bollington to do of an evening.

My progress along both trails typifies my previous approach to walking: decide a location for a walk and use part of a long distance trail for all or part of its length. That is probably more true of the Gritstone Trail than the WHW. The latest instalments along the former, for which trip reports are planned, had me heading south over the sections between Sutton Common and The Cloud and then from the latter all the way to Kidsgrove, the southern terminus of the GT. Its northern end, Disley saw my boots very early on in the story of my attentions when I hiked from Bollington in murk with the remains of January snows on the ground. Walks between Rainow and Sutton Common and from Tegg’s Nose to Kerridge have taken me over the rest of the length while I have followed its course on many other rambles too. Its being local to me has meant that I have been on it a lot but, rather perversely, it has also dissuaded me from completing the thing thanks to the walking attractions (or distractions?) offered by other locations.

My progress along the WHW has been a little more deliberate than the GT though the direction of travel has been something of a movable feast: having to go a good way away does concentrate the mind a bit more. My final section took me between Inverarnan and Crianlarich while the previous day saw me head south from Bridge of Orchy and overnight in Crianlarich. A through-hike at the end of May took me along the shores of Loch Lomond on my way from Inverarnan to Drymen. A February outing took me from Milngavie to Drymen after a three year hiatus which followed a pleasant hike between Glen Coe and Bridge Orchy. The previous summer saw me head over the Lairig Mor between Kinlochleven and Fort William twice: my holiday plans were blighted by the weather the first time and a return set the world to rights. On neither occasion along this part of the WHW was the weather truly nasty but glorious late August weather was a wonderful accompaniment to the second outing and a world away from the cloudy but dry July day of my previous encounter. Largely cloudy skies were in attendance on the trek between Kinlochleven and Glen Coe the previous summer and sun was not particularly successful in its attempts to come and show off the landscape at its best.

While on the subject of long distance trails, my progress along the Pennine Way has stalled but this year’s multi-day treks along the West Highland Way are good practice for its northern reaches. It won’t get completed this year but opportunities may well proffer themselves before 2007 comes to an end; I still have to walk between Gargrave and Haworth. Other long distance trails await as well: the tamer Great Glen Way, the wilder Southern Upland Way… The list goes on.


  • The Solitary Walker says:

    Good luck finishing the PW! I was fortunate enough to walk it over 17 consecutive days earlier this year – and with only 2 days of rain showers (over the Cheviots). To be honest, when I reached Kirk Yetholm I just felt like carrying on north to Edinburgh and beyond… Hiking gets you like that, doesn’t it? The more you do, the more you want to do…

  • John says:

    Thanks for the encouragement and well done on completing the PW in one go. Yes, hiking is an addictive business: it couldn’t be any other way with the pleasures of wonderful countryside and carefree wandering. Add to that the feelings that a single trip can never be long enough for you to see enough of anywhere and you keep coming back again and again. Isn’t good to know that we have countryside like that in Britain?

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