Comments on: West Highland Way in a day https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/ Boom, boom, tsk, dana, na, na, na, na, na! Wed, 27 Mar 2013 21:14:41 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 By: Meredith https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-473 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-473 Congratulations! That’s a great accomplishment and I can totally understand the whole ‘smiling’ thing. I hope I can get that feeling again soon. I am not quite up for 90+ miles (yet) but I hope to at least try Letchworth (upstate New York) before my second back surgery in September.

The entire time I was reading I just kept wondering how you could do all that riding, (over what must be at least slightly bumpy terrain), and not have absolutely horrible back pain. I guess it is all about setting your pace and knowing your limits, which is so much easier to determine when you bike alone. First thing in the morning when there are less bugs, traffic, and people, is the best time to ride here, especially alone. It really clears my head and I can just not think about all those annoying things I have going on. Everything just feels and smells cleaner and less “populated”. Like when you are camping and it’s first thing in the morning and you wake up in your tent and you smell that dew-tree-grass-”non-smog” smell.
So, before this comment gets longer than your post, it is very cool that you stuck with that goal for so long and I am really happy for you in that you finally did it.
What’s next? I saw you were thinking about the American Southwest. I have not biked there but I have vacationed there a few times. Absolutely beautiful.

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By: Michael https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-474 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-474 Just got back yesterday form Scotland having completed the WHW on foot in five days. Spent most of those wishing i had the bike. The descent from the top of Devils Staircase was a killer on the knees but would have been awesome with some wheels. The track along the shore of Loch Lomand must have been tough going. Well done for doing it in a day. If i were to do it i think i’d give the first section (to Rowardennan) a miss.

Nice blog.

Michael, Cambridge.

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By: Mark https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-475 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-475 Meredith – (very) strangely my back didn’t hurt nearly as much as I expected. Normally when I do rides that are half the length or less my back is properly sore. Odd, but no complaints!

I have had some numbness return to my lower back again which was scaring me for a while, but the doctor tells me that it’s not too surprising, especially as I get more active. I hope you’re recovering well. It’s a long drawn out process, but so satisfying when you feel like you’re making improvements. Hang in there.

I really don’t know what’s next, although I don’t think I can afford to go to the states this year :(. I’m going to give up long routes for a wee bit, I fancy doing some racing again.

Michael – unlike most people who I have read about that biked it in a day, I thought it was an excellent ride. Although you’re right, Loch Lomondside did drag on a bit.

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By: Brendan https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-476 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-476 storming effort Mark, absolutely storming. I am impressed and awed. A long-standing challenge falls. Now, how about doing some of the remote epics? The Himalayan traverse? India to China, no time-limit, high passes only, no support.

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By: Stuart https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-477 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-477 Nice one mate – super proad of you (if that doesn’t sound too camp). I wish I had the head to do it… I reckon that’s most of the battle if you’re pretty fit.

Wicked post on it all too – I even got a little emotional reading it (in danger of sounding camp again) it even made me want to ride the top half again! I’ll just go check the train times ;)

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By: SCDave https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-478 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-478 Congrats!, you finally did it, reckon you can shave a couple of hours of that time then ? :lol

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By: Mark https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-479 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-479 Brendan – the remote passes definitely appeal to me (and you too, I suspect). Logistics are the problem really. Can you think of anywhere that would be good for sometime around November-January? Somewhere remote, but preferably where the staple diet isn’t nuts and the weather isn’t crazy at that time.

Stuart – thanks man, but you’re a poof! :P

Dave – could definitely knock some time off. I actually thought about it for a while, but then I came to my senses! I’m going to let it lie.

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By: Pedronian https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-480 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-480 Why don’t I read this blog :/

Anyhoos, great story and even better achievement. Don’t know what else to say tbh :)

In certain ways it was also quite inspirational to read /me looks longingly at the Kona…

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By: Pedronian https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-481 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-481 Edit: I knew there was something else. I know the focus was riding an’ all but did you get any nice pics perchance?

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By: Chris Mackenzie https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-482 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-482 Did the West Highland Way 3 weeks ago. It took me two days. I thought about trying it one day but decided to go for the 2 day option in case I couldn’t make it. It was a great adventure but the bit at the top of Loch Lomond was a bloody nightmare. Day 1 was Milngavie to Crianlarich and Day 2 was Crianlarich to Fort William. I finished the whole ride in 2 hours of darkness in the forest just before you get to Fort William. It reminded me of the Blair Witch Project. I did not know where I was riding at times. I also nearly got caught by a ranger twice (in Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy).

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By: Ross https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-1332 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-1332 Excellent blog. I realise this is almost 2 years after you did it, but I’ve been inspired by reading about your trip – I’m definitely going to give it a go this summer. I’m going to reccy the first half soon to see if I can get away with doing the trip on a cyclo cross bike – a bit easier to carry on those unridable sections – what do you think?

Cheers, Ross

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By: Mark https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-1340 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-1340 Hi Ross,

I would still ride a mountain bike. The carrying section isn’t really all that long (perhaps I made it sound worse than it is, although time can dim bad memories…). There are enough rough sections later on that I think you’ll be really glad you’re on a mountain bike.

Having said that, I’d be interested to hear how you get on with a cyclo-cross bike. In fact, I’d be interested to hear how you get on anyway!

Since I did it, someone created a website about riding the Way in a day, but I can’t find it now, perhaps it’s gone :(

Have fun, it’s great.

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By: Ross https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-1342 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-1342 I think for the first run, I’ll take your advice and go with my stumpy hardtail. It’s pretty light anyway, and I think I’ll be grateful for the more comfortable ride after a full day in the saddle. I’ll let you know how I get on!

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By: Ross https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-1978 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-1978 Hi Mark. Yesterday was the day and I gave it a really good bash. My wife, Summer drove the way on the road and gave me support and sustainance on the way. I know you did it unsupported, but Summer was fantastic and made the whole thing a team effort.

The first part was a doddle and I made it to Balmaha in good spirits having started at 0430. The next section to Rowardennan was fine, but sapped more energy than I thought it would, especially as I got a pinch puncture going over one of the thousands of stone water ways that cross the paths – damn them! I also had a pretty bad crash and tumbled over the handlebars, so I had a stop to strighten the bike and myself out, during which I lost half my body weight to midges.

What everyone says about the north end of the loch is true in spades – for me it was pretty much unrideable. I found a good way to carry my bike and hoofed it to the Drovers, but it sapped a lot of energy and morale. Nothing a baked potato and haggis didn’t sort out, though.

The next section through Crianlarich up to Tyndrum was fairly easy riding, but it is a fairly constant climb, with some steepish descents thrown in for good measure. Much needed coffee and cake at the Green Wellie, and then flew down the good track to Bridge of Orchy. The climb out of Bridge of Orchy was the best of the day, and spat me out at the foot of the Black Mount after the descent. This section was fine, a long gradual climb followed by a rocky descent to the Kings House Hotel.

By now it was 7pm. I was feeling pretty good, but I was beginning to feel a little for my support crew! I felt I could carry on and finish the final 20 miles, and make it probably by around 10pm, but then we would have got to Fort Bill without the chance of a meal in a resteraunt, and I though Summer deserved that at the very least, so I canned it there.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day, but I would say to most people, unless you are pathalogically (pun intended!) determined to stick to the route, should get the ferry from Inversnaid and cycle up the road to the Drovers before rejoining the way. I did the route to ride my bike, but the Inversnaid to Inverannan section stopped me doing just that, and I reckon I would have made it in time to Fort Bill for my chicken Bhuna had I jumped on the boat that was waiting at the Inversnaid Hotel when I arrived there.

Do I regret not finishing it off? A little, but some things in life are more important. I had a great day, rode and epic ride and finnished it off with a meal with my favourite person – what could be better?

By the way, I did the ride on my hardtail. With some of the rockier sections, it felt like I was riding a bike with square wheels! Definately not one for the cross bike!

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By: Mark https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-2022 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-2022 Neat write-up Ross (sorry my blog software mangled the paragraphs!) – thanks a lot for posting it here. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who found the north end of the loch tough. It sounds like you had a great day, you’ve brought back loads of memories for me and I’m suitably jealous (I’ve hardly done anything this year).

If you’ve not done the rest of the Way – from Glencoe to Fort William – before, you should definitely try to get it done since it’s a great ride in itself.

Also, I’d love to hear of any other similar rides you’ve thought of – I’m starting to investigate what can be done around the Cape Wrath trail – http://www.capewrathtrail.co.uk/ (although I suspect there is a lot of walking/carrying).

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By: Ross https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-2040 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-2040 I like the sound of that! I’d like to take a closer look at the route though to see if it is rideable. Might be one for a special bike – any excuse to buy a new one. Perhaps a no-sus mtb – ultralight and easy to carry.

I’ve struggled over mountains before with 70+lbs on my back, and the norht end of Loch Lomond was nothing compared to that, but on a day when you are against the clock, and the light, it just slows you down, and sucks a little of the joy out of it.

I know what you mean about the staircase and the last section from Kinlochleven – to be honest, I haven’t stopped thinking about getting back to do the whole thing since I finished on Saturday! I may give give it a bash in late August, but this time, I might get a mate to meet me at Inversnaid so that he can take the bike over the Loch up to the Drovers while I jog it up the northern end.

I did this ride for the sake of the challenge (inspired by your blog) but also as preperation for the 3 peaks cyclo cross race this winter. I’m also doing the Merida MTB marathon in Selkirk next month. But, for the “just ’cause it’s there” factor, there’s nothing to beat The Way! Let me know if you’d be up for it in late August!

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By: Ross https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-3226 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-3226 Hey Mark, I just thought I’d let you know that I did a section of the Cowal Way, starting in Ardgarten last week. A lot of fire track in it, and some unrideable sections over the mountain passes – glad I did it on my cyclocross bike!! Not quite as epic as the WHW, but a challenge in its own right!

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By: Mark https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-3261 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-3261 Thanks for pointing out the Cowal Way to me! That’s something else for the ticklist. I’m still trying to find the time to do anything at all this year (must take some days off next week, I think). I’ve still got the Minigaig/Feshie/Tilt loop to do – have you done it?

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By: Ross https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-3294 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-3294 Never done it – is that in Perthsire?

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By: Gordon https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5539 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-5539 What did you see, not much I expect?

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By: Scott https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5806 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-5806 Hey, once again I know it’s been a year since any post, and it’s been years since you first tackled it, but I’m leaving on Thursday to tackle the WHW on wheels. My mate and I are doing it over 2 days, and plan on completely self sustaining…so we’re bringing all our own food, and sleeping gear. Which means relatively heavy sacks. We’re torn between suffering the north of the Loch Lomond as we know it will be brutal, but there is something about doing the whole of the WHW…but with 10kg sacks on our backs it might just be completely mental. I did want to suggest that if you’re mad enough (we’re considering this) you could try the WHW again, then push on along the Great Glen Way from Fort Bill over to Inverness. It’s around 170 miles, and will obviously take a few days…but how many depends on you. We’re thinking next summer…but hey who knows! Thanks for the blog, very helpful…even all these years on!

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By: Mark https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5810 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-5810 Hi Scott!

Self-sustaining is nice style :)

I’ve been interested recently in a couple of adventures like that myself, but am unsure how I would carry the extra weight. Do you just use a rucksack? Have you tried panniers? What about a trailer? Do you know what any of those options are like on singletrack – is it still fun?

If I was you, I’d still go for the whole WHW. I’m not convinced it will be a nice carry though…

Good luck – I’d love to hear how you get on.

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By: Scott https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5853 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-5853 Well we did it over 2 days, about 21 hours of riding, but we missed the ferry from Inversnaid to Inverugle, and as a result we had an extra 2 hours to wait, so we could’ve done it in 19 hours. We did skip a couple of key bits, Connick hill, the North Section of Loch Lomond, and the big hill behind Bridge of Orchy that takes you down by the other pub/hotel. Next time I’d add the hills in, but still leave the north of Loch Lomond out. I just used my normal 70 liter rucksack, it weighed about 12kgs and with the right support it dispersed the weight fine. My mate had a load of ultralight gear, and his 20 liter pack weighed 8kgs, but his shoulders were a bit more sore than mine. However he was defo more manoueverable than me. I wouldn’t really change much as far as the pack goes, except where possible bring lighter gear. I’d say one of the worst bits was the push out of Kinlochleven, it was wet and steep, and went on forever. One of the best, the climb up Rannoch Moor. It was sunny so there were awesome views. We had a few mechanicals, and also a few stacks which led to some interesting bruises. All said and done it was awesome. We’ll be doing it, or something similar next year.

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By: John https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5976 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-5976 Hey folks, nice blog Mark. Was wondering if you found that website you mentioned about doing the WHW in a day? I’m looking to have an attempt at there and back in a day in the next few weeks so just doing as much research as possible!

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By: Mark https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-6006 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-6006 Hi John,

I’m afraid I still can’t find the website. I’m guessing it’s dead, but I can’t even see it on archive.org. Boo!

Good luck with your ride, it sounds great! I’ll keep an eye on your blog to see how you get on.

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By: Richard https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-6021 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-6021 Hi .. i have been reading your most interesting blogs, a friend and i are planning to cycle the route some time in september, and we are currently talking about how to do it, by the sounds of things we would be better getting the Ferry across the loch instead of cycling/carrying up the north side of LL, but we have several friends and relatives who have walked the way.. and i think if we miss out parts we will be a target for the Purists…what would you carry in the way of spares for the bikes ?

Richard

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By: Mark https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-6046 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-6046 I think it’s worth going along Loch Lomondside, but I am one of the purists! Spare parts wise, I just took the usual tools and such and three spare tubes, I think. Damn, these recent comments about this route are getting me fired up for planning a big ride next year. I’ll see what I can come up with…

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By: Richard https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-6060 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-6060 .. Thanks … I would like to go all the way round .. but dont really want to get stuck, as i mostly do roadwork but on a Mountain bike as i like forest tracks and hill roads too.. did 36 miles last night in 2.5 hours. we are betting excited about it.

Richard

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By: Rob https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-6870 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-6870 HI. Ive been thinking bout doing this for a while. I Ive ridden BMX since i was 14 moving onto downhill in the las 2 years so am quite a dab hand on a bike. Reading the blog here though it seems that you guys are prety experienced with big long haul treks. Do you think the WHW would be suited for a first attempt at long journey? Im geared up for it but I dnt wanna shoot for the moon and miss u know? Cheers

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By: Mark https://crocodile.is/blog/2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day/comment-page-1/#comment-6875 Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:27:00 +0000 http:///2005/06/17/west-highland-way-in-a-day#comment-6875 Hey Rob!

I think it’s a good one for a first long trip. It’s still the longest I’ve ridden, but there are a fair few jumping off points along the way, at least compared to some of the highland routes.

I did the top half with my mate Stuart before riding the whole thing, which gave me a good idea of the feel and I’d recommend getting a 50 miler in a wee while before too.

It’s a great route – have fun and let us know how you get on!

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