A rough, mostly sleepless night was not how I envisioned starting my journey along the West Highland Way. This was in part due to nerves, part due to the warmer than usual weather, with a little gastrointestinal distress thrown into the mix for good measure.
The food at my first night’s establishment was less than desirable, to say the least. I nibble on a less than tasty breakfast, drop my suitcase off with the transport van, secure my pack to my back and survey the sky above. Gray clouds and light rain.
A few other hikers head out to the main road and disappear as they head right, so I follow suit. Directions to the actual start of this trail are a tad unclear.
A few hundred yards down the road though and I see people turning left into a wooded area. Just beyond that is a smattering of shops just opening up where one can get any last minute supplies, a coffee or a quick bite to eat. I anxiously head to the trailhead. I just want to get going.
Immediately I find myself in a woodland park, the small city of Milngavie a fading memory. Ironically I meet a couple at the start of the trail that is also from Arizona. It is their first long distance walk, and they are doing it over seven days. I wish them well, and then never see them again.
I’ll find that throughout my journey many wonderful people will come and go as I do my own walk.
The rain hardly lets up during my first leg of twelve miles, but it never is a downpour or cold. In fact I find it quite inviting, and certainly needed as the United Kingdom is suffering a terrible drought, as is evident by the brown field grasses everywhere.
The walk pushes my legs to exhaustion on day one, but I make good time and arrive to the village of Dreymen mid-afternoon. I get a sandwich and coffee at a little pub, then explore the place before my B&B check in time.
The Clachan, if memory serves, is the oldest serving pub in Scotland, and the warm atmosphere and amazing food I found inside leaves a wonderful taste in my mind after my first day on the WHW.
Two pints and a fully belly later, I find the way back to my quaint little bed set up. I have a wonderful sleep as my body heals and readies itself for tomorrow.