A beautiful morning awaits me as I roll out of my bed in Kinolochleven for some breakfast. In the nook I’m delighted to see the German couple again. We talk about our journeys so far, and how we all hope to complete the final section of the West Highland today to Fort William. They let me know that they are taking the easier path, which is an old logging road, and I wish them well as I’ll be sticking to the original route.

I never see them again.

I feel strong, spirits are high and legs are ready as I come to the trail at the edge of town. Quickly the trail climbs up the mountain, and breathing is labored as I climb upward. Soon I’ve reached the summit and see a long valley that carves through the mountains, clouds rolling across the skies and dancing between the peaks. A light rain starts to fall.

This final leg, to me, is the epitomy of the West Highland Way and all of the glory it holds. Epic Craics to my left and right, light rain to keep one on their toes as they walk, misty clouds of magic that would swirl into the valley then disappear, and the feeling of a great Universal power watching over all those that venture through this landscape.

At mid-day, I come to the remains of an old building, the only semblance of a homestead to be seen along this entire section of trail. Perhaps it was a house of worship, or a place for Vikings, clansman and hunters of old to rest.

No matter what it’s purpose once was, to see such a structure in the isolated valley was a sight of inspiration for myself. I slowly walk past, letting my hands brush against the wet stones as I feel the work that went into this by those long gone.

A small patch of blue sky comes into focus in the far off distance. It seems to be my guiding light, my beacon if you will, towards the town of Fort William. The rain is coming down harder now, so I go off trail into the forest and find a grove underneath the trees that protects me from the rain as I get a bite to eat.

The blue sky seems elusive, never seemingly to get closer as I go. The rain falls harder still, so I keep my head down and trudge onward. This last leg is the longest, but I can feel the end in sight. I can’t give up now.

I come to what seems to be the final ascent up a mountain. When I reach it’s summit I see what I believe is to be Ben Nevis, and the small houses below which I hope are the outskirts of Fort William.

Slowly I make my way down under the shadow of the great Ben. The temperature gets warmer, the sky a more brilliant shade of blue.

I start to hear street traffic, and the more common sounds associated with a town. My trail turns from dirt to concrete.

I come to the welcoming sign for Fort William, then onto the main street for tourists and find the lonely West Highland Way walker statue at the end of this street. The official mark for the end of the trail.

A few more blocks is all that I need to go to find my accomodations for the next couple of nights. As I walk along the waterfront, I marvel at this journey I completed.

I was never the fittest, strongest or even the healthiest of people. I find repeatedly though that what matters more than that is just sheer will and determination. An unwavering commitment to complete a task will get you further than any endurance training.

And so I finish the West Highland Way and it’s official 96 mile route.

Goal accomplished.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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