I used to be good at mooching: I still am when I have access to a sofa and a cat, but put me in a hotel and tell me to while away a week and I lose the will to live.
Winsome Tahn heard of my plight and lent me her Scottish Trail Running book. She also pointed out a number of longer distance trails, ranging from the flat of the lowland canals to the ludicrously hilly of the Highlands. One in particular caught my eye: The West Highland Way.
Despite its name, it’s relatively flat and largely benign underfoot, sticking to passes and avoiding mountain tops. It’s also massively popular with walkers so if you run into trouble you’re unlikely to go for long before being found. It has a number of train stations along the route so is accessible by public transport, and it has a good handful of travel companies offering baggage transfer services. Best of all, it boasts its own ultra race (The West Highland Way) so this year’s random mooching even counts towards a future year’s route recceing.
Day 1 of my WHW adventure took me from Milngavie (pronounced mull-GUY, obviously) to Killearn, a short and gentle day which began and ended at obelisks and took me from a run-of-the-mill Costa to the rather more unusual Three Sisters Bake cafe.
Lunch there killed an hour or so of the three that I had until the hotel opened, and I packed away a rather yummy, if misnamed, leek and potato soup (which consisted almost entirely of carrot and celery) and a giant freshly baked scone with cream and jam. A wander around the market and gift shop used another half hour, after which I found a sheltered spot in the sun in which to just sit and be.
Once the hotel opened, I headed straight to my room for a pleasant hour or so of foam rolling*, some quality lazing around, and a little smidgette of preparation for tomorrow’s rather longer jaunt.
* not every word of that is true.