We left Tyndrum in great spirits, with hope in our hearts and a key in Col’s pocket (sorry Kate) heading for splendid isolation.
before leaving Tyndrum, we stopped at the local store to fill up with essential supplies. “Last store for 44 km” read the sign outside. In hindsight, we might have been better waiting the 44 km. The assistant cursed and swore under her breath as she struggled to encourage the scanning machine into action. Armed with a selection of sandwiches and drinks and a newly extended vocabulary, we hit the trail as it rose out of the Villa age, beside the A82 and the Fort William branch of the railway.
The railway line was a constant companion for this leg of the Way, as far as Bridge of Orchy. Only one train passed us as we made our way through the glen in the spring sunshine.
Ahead of us was the striking shape of Beinn Dorain, dominating the skyline.
The mood was leisurely. This was a short 9 mile stage and there was no rush to reach our destination. As we walked, small groups of walkers stopped for relaxed picnics by the side of the path, enjoying the warmth of the sun after yesterday’s rain.
We decided to stop at a remote rock for lunch, freshly procured from the cursing shopkeeper of Tyndrum. We were miles from anywhere. No buildings, no roads, just us and the rocks. But as soon as we opened the sandwiches, two chaffinches appeared from nowhere and waited, expectantly, for food. We obliged of course.
just then, the sunshine disappeared and it began to hail. We hurriedly got back to our feet and pressed on.
Before too long we had reached the station at Bridge of Orchy. The path took us below the railway line and we soon found ourselves at the Bridge of Orchy hotel, enjoying a pint of Haggis Hunter.
We crossed the bridge and followed the old military road as it rose onto the hillside of Ben Inserveigh, lined with heather. The path wound around until we could enjoy a fantastic view over Loch Tulla and the wilderness that was Rannoch Moor beyond.
The view was so peaceful as the only sounds we could hear were the wind and the odd flourish of bird song.
We didn’t have far to go now, as we dropped down towards the Inveroran Hotel near the head of the loch.
A more blissfully isolated spot you couldn’t imagine. No Wi-fi, no mobile phone signal, just old fashioned conversation. Just like the good old days before people were transfixed by their mobile phones.
We never spoke.
Tomorrow would be the much anticipated journey across Rannoch Moor. We couldn’t wait to get started.
Mark Sweeney is a hiker, mountain-biker, picture-taker and keen coffee drinker, living on the doorstep of the Peak District's finest walks