Wednesday, January 28

Hiking is Sexy! with Two Scots Abroad

Never did I think I’d see the day that I would be writing that. In fact, I’ve just bought my first pair of Teva SANDALS. Seriously, my motto used to be - never sacrifice style for safety, speed or sl*tdropping, maybe hitting thirty has changed me? I would beg to differ, I’ve been touched! I’ve seen Glencoe and now my life will never be the same again. 

Last April, my best friend, Helen, and I, took on the 96 mile challenge of walking the West Highland Way (WHW). Now, we are no strangers to Topshop; dance floors and chips ‘n’ cheese, so this may have come as a surprise to our families and friends. We never even dabbled with the idea of a week in the sun; we wanted the outdoors; the scenery and the rain that comes with it.

Because my partner (the other half of Two Scots Abroad), Craig and I have been planning an 18 month career break to travel The Americas for a while, seeing more of Scotland has been high on my agenda. This year I’ve ticked off Tarbert, Islay, Ballater and Skye. The WHW was the catalyst for this increased desire to explore my homeland – we began in Milngavie, just outside of Glasgow on the Monday and finished in Fort William on the Saturday. Madness, I know. Have you heard of the saying ‘peaks ‘n’ troughs’? It means the highs and lows and I think it’s apt so here we go.


The Views

Walking up, and over, then around Conic Hill was immense (day one Milgavie to Balmaha). My eyes were greedy for the loch and sky, Helen said that this view was just the gateway for what was to follow.

Glencoe – I imagine the mountains to be monsters, so imposing. I love that feeling of being inferior. The unphased family of deer at Kingshouse are photogenic too. 

Balmaha – The calm water is almost chocolate like with its brown tones. 

Kinlochelven – Sleeping in a valley then the sun shining as we looked in on it from the top of the hill. 

Pal Time 

When else do you get to spend a full week with your friends and all the laughs that come with it? There were various people who joined us along the way. Originally we started off as a trio but Julie’s feet let her down, she left us on day one and returned with three other friends (and a Mum and her friend) for day five (Kingshouse to Kinlochleven). Another friend completed day one with us and then Helen’s sister-in-law joined us for day three (after picking us up from the water boat taxi – see below…) My parents met us with Buck’s fizz in Fort William to motivate us for the last (awful) stretch.

Hot Tub

Best idea ever. The Bay Cottage has got it right, they offer WHWers the use of their hot tub, this is just what the doctor ordered after the first 20 mile trek.

Beer (at the end of the day)

That beer is the best beer you are ever going to have. You’ve just walked 19 miles, you deserve it. And the steak pie, go on…


Getting lost! 

On day two Helen and I walked for about two hours out of Balmaha to be faced with a choice and a fight with construction works. We made the wrong decision and spent two and a half hours playing The Hunger Games and wasting daylight. In the end we admitted defeat and jumped on a water boat taxi to Inveranan where Helen’s in-laws collected us *hangs head* 


I had to sit out on day 5 (Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse) because of Achilles pain. I’ve never broken anything so, vom inducing pain was new to me, and not welcome. The BnB owner at Bridge of Orchy watched me hobble in, using my walking sticks as crutches and advised me this was a good place to stop if ill, as there was a bus that takes you to the next stop. So the following day I put my feet up, hopped (hobbled) on the bus and met the girls at Kingshouse, Glencoe. Tip: well-worn walking boots, are the only answer to avoid injury. I’ve now opted for high quality trek trainers. 

Crappy gear

I was envious of the raindrops patiently balancing on top of the girls’ North Face jackets as my Trespass was drenched through. I was never wet but you could see the difference in quality between the £150 coat and £25 TK Maxx special. Commit! I am now rocking a very bright blue Marmot Precip shell that folds into its own pocket (for hiking whilst travelling). Stylish and functional, never sacrifice style for getting soaking!

Don’t let the troughs put you off, it’s an adventure and you can learn from my mistakes (eh, packing list here). I’ve already got our next trek lined up – The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu (in Peru!) Come with us! Follow us at Two Scots Abroad.

Find Gemma,

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