Our final West Highland Way blog post from our CEO, Gordon reflecting on the journey!
“On the 18th July I stated that I was walking with three great people however that would appear to be an understatement. The fact is these are three extremely warm, funny and faithful people and i am so proud to be able to call them personal friends and true Hospice Ambassadors.
I hope you kept up with my 5 day blog that gave an indication of the challenges we faced each day. I never for one minute thought that this was going to be an easy challenge and it simply wasn’t. The West Highland Way certainly serves up some of the most magnificent sights that Scotland has to offer however to reach those tranquil lochs, towering mountains and glorious landscapes we had to navigate some really rough terrain and rushing rivers before taking in their beauty.
This has been my first ever challenge of this type and I was extremely lucky to be alongside those who were motivators, navigators and those who kept us laughing for the 96 miles. Maybe you can work out for yourselves who each individual was however as a team we were brilliant even if i say so myself.
Across the 96 miles we found one strange thing in that we were within the minority. We were outnumbered by the number of people walking who were simply from all over the world. Israeli’s, Danes, Czechs, Palestinians, Swedes and Germans to name but a few. Everyone was so friendly and happy to say hello when we passed them on the journey with an acknowledgement if we were camped within the same site. This was probably the only downside to the journey as we were so busy time watching to make sure we safely made base camp each night that we didn’t get a real opportunity to have a craic with our guests and that’s maybe something to think about if we ever re-visit this trek in the future.
We did of course bump into some Scots when we walked through the Towns that linked the journey. The team would like to pay thanks to the wardens at Milarrochy Campsite who looked after us on our first night. To the owner of the Crianlarich Station Tearoom for sponsoring us. Thanks to Paddy at Blackwater Hostel and Campsite within Kinlochleven who pulled out all the stops to provide us with a caravan rather than tent pitches due to some aches an pains to some of us which the ground sheet of a tent wouldn’t assist with recovery.
Father and I were on dinner duty that night in Kinlochleven and we headed to the Tailrace Inn due to the chippie being closed on a Sunday. We bumped into Spence who was displaying some disappointment towards the football earlier in the afternoon however after some positive intervention from the good Father, Spence had sponsored us on-line there and then on behalf of Kinlochleven Celtic Supporters Club.
Oh did i forget to say? We bumped into a star and great hospice supporter when we stopped back in Tyndrum. The wonderful Michelle McManus was celebrating her first anniversary with husband Jeff. Michelle gave us all big hugs and warmed us up with some of her usual humour. This certainly was a tonic whilst some of the team were dealing with blisters and our stop off in Tyndrum was to purchase supplies that would assist with their healing.
In yesterday’s blog I thanked Danny from the Fort William Celtic Supporters Club for their hospitality and kindness towards us on our final day. Warm showers Lunch and a wee celebratory pint for me and a juice for others within the Nevis Centre. This was truly a wonderful gesture as the 96 mile trip was now showing in each of us.
The journey home on Monday evening was an enjoyable one. Ryan our driver, sponsored by AMS Baggage Transfer Service, had some of Stevie’s humour to deal with however the journey gave us time to reminisce over our last 5 days and point out some of the areas we had walked through as we past them by road.
Although this was a very difficult challenge, I didn’t hear one negative comment from any of the team. The most Important thing we remembered every day whether whilst walking, celebrating Mass or when Stevie led us through the Rosary was that this was not about us. This trek was always about raising as much as we could to help both the Hospice and the Celtic Foundation to continue doing all of the good work they both do.
On behalf of the team we thank you for your thoughts, Prayers and words of support during our time away.”
It’s not too late to sponsor the team – click here to donate to their page