I have divided my route into a series of sections, each of which contains an account of my experiences along that section, directions and points of interest, map(s) of the route and photographs.
The journey begins:
Photo 1: The start of the walk and the start of the Caledonian Canal – Banavie
My pack seemed to weigh a ton! I cursed my luck that due to the annual motor-cycle trials I had been unable to book a B&B any nearer to Fort William railway station. “After that 12 hour train journey, the walk will do you good” I told myself as I staggered along Auchintore Road at about 22:30 on 5th May. All I could think of was having to walk back to the station the next morning, in order to catch the 08:35 Mallaig train and travel the 6 minute journey to Banavie at the southern end of the Caledonian Canal, the starting point of my walk. It transpired that the B&B was about the last house in Fort William and a good 15 minute walk from the station.
The following morning with the extra weight of water, my bag felt so heavy that by the time I got to the shopping precinct I was seriously wondering if I should stop and try to buy a wheelbarrow.
I boarded the train with 2 minutes to spare and settled myself down amidst a happy chattering throng of Shearings holiday makers on their day trip to Mallaig, and possibly a boat trip as well? A few minutes later still perspiring from the dash to the station, I heaved my pack onto the platform at Banavie and watched as the train departed, my mind going back almost a year to when I had made that journey to Mallaig, caught the ferry to Inverie in Knoydart and started my coast to coast walk across to Montrose.
“This is going to be a much tougher challenge” I thought as I crossed the road to where the Caledonian Canal joins Loch Eil. The weather looked unpromising, there wasn’t much to be seen of Ben Nevis or its neighbours and I fancied I felt a drop of rain as I posed my sack for its photo call by the bottom lock of Neptune’s Staircase…