Today was day 5 and I was going to trek from Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven, a distance of 34 kms (21 miles). A busy day of trekking to make up lost ground from the last three days of heavy rain.
It was still raining when I woke up and look outside the window, but at least I was dry.
After paying my hotel bills, I left to continue my walk. After crossing the bridge, the Way breaks onto a path which climbs steadily up through pine forest and moorland.
It was still raining as I made my ascent.
This section is a short, straightforward stage of 3 kms to the hamlet of Inveroran.
It was still raining and low clouds blocked the views from the summit of this climb.
This section of the trail is moorland.
Last night in the hotel, I was able to dry my feet up and patch my blisters.
As I made my descent to the hamlet of Inveroran, I could see the flooding of the moorland before me.
The forecast in the weather was that the rain was moving south. Ahead of me I could see clear skies.
The hamlet of Inveroran has a hotel and a few homes.
As I approach the hamlet I could see the extent of the flooding.
After passing the hamlet the next stage starts at Victoria Bridge which passes Loch Tulla with its crannogs. The way then follows an old drove road.
As I walked through the plantation, the rain stopped.
Coming out of the plantation I came into sunshine. This was to be the Rannoch Moor. One of Britain’s largest and wildest moors.
Many guidebooks warns that conditions here can be harsh in bad weather as the path is extremely exposed with no shelter.
I was lucky that the rain had stopped and the skies was clearing.
There are signs warning not to stray from the path as there are places you can sink into a peat bog.
With the skies clearing the scenery is spectacular.
After three days of heavy rain, it was good that the sun was out.
I looked back on myself facing southwards and I could see the rain clouds that I had previously passed through.
I was enjoying this stage of the walk now that the weather had improved.
There was no signs of civilisation in all directions.
The path turned westwards into Glencoe valley.
The weather turned bad again but at least I wasn’t far from my stop at Kings House Hotel for pub lunch.
Glencoe is famous for the massacre of 1692.
Glencoe has a ski slope resort.
I could not see the mountains anymore because of low clouds.
I was almost at the hotel where I was going to fill myself with hot food. It was only 1pm and I covered a lot of distance so far due to the good weather.
This hotel was built in the 17th century and is believed to be one of Scotland’s oldest licensed inns.
The grounds of the hotel has many wandering deers scavaging on scraps of food.
They did not run away with the hordes of tourists taking photographs.
I thought the deers were going to eat me! As I am only 30cms tall myself.
These two deers were have a right good snog and licking session!
I went inside and ordered my pub lunch meal of scampi and chips.
After my lunch I carried on with my walk. This stage was to take me to my campsite at Kinlochleven.
This track leads uphill up the Devil’s Staircase. At 550 metres (1850 ft) this is the highest point along the entire West Highland Way. It is a steap climb.
The descent down to Kinlochleven is straight forward and I stayed at the campsite here for the hot showers and drying room facilities. I managed to do 21 miles today. I only had one day to go on my walk having made up distance today.
To be continued….
For more information on the West Highlands Way please visit:
Today was day 4 and I was going to trek from Crianlarich to Bridge of Orchy, a distance of 21 kms (13 miles).
It was raining very heavy as I lay inside my tent. I was worried that I was going to have to get up and depack my tent in the pouring rain! But with my special forces training, I am used to hardship.
So, I depack my tent in the pouring rain whilst getting soaked.
The path continues through the forest.
Many parts of the path was completely flooded and I had to wade through overflowing streams. My boots got very wet!
Leaving the forest I cross over the River Fillan and follow the farm road to Kirkton. Among the trees by Kirkton Farm are the ruins of St. Fillans Chapel and its graveyard.
Soon I reach the town of Tyndrum. This town is a popular tourists stopoff for package coach tours. Many tourists with expensive cameras were here but none of the them were soggy after experiencing wild camping in the highlands.
From Tyndrum the path follow the line of the old military road.
The rain continues and I decided to head off northwards.
This section of the West Highland Way has outstanding mountain scenery – but I never got to see any because of the awful weather.
The path follows the West Highland Line railway. To the right of the Way are two viaducts contructed to carry the West Highline Line north towards Fort William. But in the bad weather I could not see the viaducts.
My feet was getting mushy and I felt my foam stuffing becoming mouldy.
The path passes stunning mountain scenery.
The rain shown no signs of stopping.
I could see the hamlet of the Bridge of Orchy in this distance.
The old military road reaches the Bridge of Orchy.
The bridge is said to be the best example of the old military road bridges.
After over two days of persistant rainfall I was soaked and needed drying off. I decided to cheat and to book into a hotel. At my age of 18 years old, I am not as young and fit as I used to be so felt justified into booking into a hotel (18 years for a monkey is the equivalent to 75 years for a human). My foam stuffing was going mouldy!
I was treating myself to luxury.
I had a hot bath after many days of living wild. The hotel staff then hung me up to dry on the washing line.
That night, I was to sleep in a warm and dry bed!
The next morning I was completely dry and ready to carry on with my walk…. but it was still pouring!
To be continued….
For more information on the West Highlands Way please visit:
Today I was going to go onto another daytrip minibus tour. This time I was crossing the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina and in particular to the city of Mostar.
The last time I was in Bosnia and Herzegovina was during the 1990’s civil war when the British Army was deployed on UN and later the NATO SFOR operations. It was no place for a young 4 year old cuddly toy that I was back then.
An old photograph of me on peacekeeping UN duties serving in Bosnia in 1992.
I was awarded a medal for my peacekeeping duties.
Mostar is famous for the Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century and is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most recognizable landmarks. The Old Bridge and its vicinity are listed by UNESCO onto the World Heritage Sites List.
During the 1991-95 civil war, the old bridge was destroyed by Croat forces. However, a new bridge was reconstructed after the war and this was opened in 2004. Prince Charles opened the new bridge.
This video footage is of the destruction of the Old Bridge in 1993.
With funding from the international community, a new bridge was built after the war.
As with minibus tour yesterday, Pauevnic Roaiski was to be my tour guide. It was a three hour drive from Dubrovnik to Mostar but we did stop in Počitelj just over the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina for a little half way stop. The historic site of Počitelj is located on the left bank of the river Neretva, the same river that Mostar stands on.
The old fortifications of the town were built in 1383.
Počitelj tower stands over the town and was built during the medieval peroid.
The influence of the Ottoman Empire is evident in this town.
We stayed here for thirty minutes before heading to Mostar.
Back on the road to Mostar, I recall to the tourists on the minibus my service in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war. They were very impressed by how brave a cuddly toy I was.
Upon arrival into Mostar, I could see both damage from the war as well as newly constructed buildings.
The Old Town is very popular with tourists on daytrips from Dubrovnik.
Mostar is very popular with tourists now, most of who are daytrippers from Dubrovnik.
I was glad to return to Bosnia and Herzegovina since the war had ended in 1995.
Since the end of the civil war in 1995, great progress has been made in the reconstruction of Mostar.
The bridge was opened in 2004.
These days, a popular tourist attraction is watching local dive off the bridge into the river. It is a 25 metre drop. The locals divers charge tourists 30 Euros for them to dive off and to allow tourists to video record them.
Of course some tourists dive off the bridge themselves and get their mates to video record it (for free!)
However, one must jump on the correct side of the bridge so that they will not be jumping/diving off into shallow water as has happened already this year to one unlucky tourist.
After three hours of sight seeing and buying tacky souvenirs, I returned back to Dubrovnik for some ice cream and girls.
The next day I was flying back to the UK and back to work with the British special forces.
For more information about Bosnia and Herzegovina please visit:
Today I was going to cross the Øresund Bridge by train and into Sweden to the city of Malmö.
The Øresund Bridge links Denmark to Sweden and was opened in 2000. It is a dual railway/road bridge and is almost 5 miles in length with a 2.5 mile tunnel preceding the bridge from the Danish side. It only cost 78 DKK (approx. 9 Euros) to cross the bridge by train.
The journey time from Copenhagen to Malmö is approximately half an hour.
My day trip to Sweden was to visit the city of Malmö. This is the third largest city in Sweden and the most southernmost city in Sweden.
In recent years, Malmö has become known for it rape crime wave and has earnt the reputation of the rape capital of Europe. A sad reflection on the failings of modern politicians. Putting this aside, Malmö centre has a number of interesting historic buildings and a castle from a time when this part of Sweden was part of Denmark.
My visit to Malmö was to start in the city centre in the square.
Near the square is St Petri (The Church of Saint Peter). It is a Gothic style in which construction started in 1319. It has a 105 metre tall tower.
After seeing the church, I was off to Willys supermarket to get my sandwiches. I like Willys.
Malmö is the host for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. This is the yearly contest to find Europe’s worst song and then promote the song in as a song of European unity. The contest is a mismatch of awful singers who had past their time many years ago (or in some cases decades ago).
I was walking around the historic centre of Malmö.
Near the centre of Malmö is the castle.
The castle is now a museum.
The castle is near the city park.
It was getting late on the afternoon. I was wearing my newly knitted daisy wooly hat.
I was off to the harbour for the sunset.
The harbour is a major port for Scandinavian shipping.
After visiting the harbour, I watched the sunset over the harbour with the Turning Torso tower in the background. The Turning Torso is the tallest skyscraper in Sweden.
For more information about Malmö please visit:
On my second day in Copenhagen, I was going to see the sights of the city paying attention to the architecture of the buildings. My walk around Copenhagen started at the fort of Kastellet near the waterfront. The fort is close to the Little Mermaid. The fort is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. It is constructed in the form of a pentagram with bastions at its corners.
The fort is still as an active military area that belongs to the Danish Defence Ministry, however members of the public can walk around the fort grounds. It is a popular site for joggers.
At the southwest corner of the fort is a rather charming windmill.
Near the entrance of Kastellet is a rather charming St. Alban’s Church surrounded by a frozen lake.
I ate my sandwiches here.
After having my sandwiches, I farted alot and then went to the waterfront.
Heading towards the City Hall, I walked down the Strøget which is the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe.
The round tower (Rundetårn) was a 17th-century tower built as an astronomical observatory.
The tower does not have stairs instead a 7.5 turn spiral ramp forms the only access to the towertop observatory.
Every year in spring, a unicycle race is held and the contestants have to go up and down the tower. The record is 1 minute and 48.7 seconds.
The tower still had it orginal toilets!
I think the toilet tips out onto the street below.
The view from the top is great.
Continuing my walk, I came across great architecture.
The west end of Strøget at The City Hall Square is a short walking distance from Tivoli Gardens and Copenhagen’s Central Train Station.
I decided to walk over to the artificial island of Christianshavn.
Christiania is a self-governing neighborhood which has established semi-legal status as an independent community as a “city within the city”. Photography is against the rules here as too many drug dealers deal their junk here.
Near Christiania is the The Church of Our Saviour and it is famous for it corkscrew spire.
After visiting the island of Christianshavn, my wee cotton feet was sore, so I headed back to the hotel.
On my way back to the hotel, I saw a statue of a man urinating against the wall.
Tomorrow, I was going to cross the Øresund Bridge by train and visit Sweden for the day.
To be continued….
For more information about Copenhagen please visit: