Notes from the Island; No Going Back

I clicked the “confirm payment” button and my bank balance was instantly destroyed. In exchange for this large sum of cash (£370) I now have transport to Glasgow and back. A round trip of around 1070 miles if I was driving. But we’re not. Instead, once we cross the Solent and get on the mainland, we’ll be doing all but the 96ish miles of the West Highland Way on the train.

That’s a lot of money for the privilege of not having to drive or park and secure a vehicle while we’re on the trail. It also means we’re pretty broke now but as each week goes by, my work picks up a bit and so long as it doesn’t rain for two weeks we should be able to do this trip without financial heartache.

It’s funny really, we all wonder what it would be like to be wealthy and to jet off somewhere at the drop of a hat but what we really crave is the ability to say “screw it, let’s go to the mainland for the weekend”. We call it being “Boat Rich”, longing for the days we’d have the £100 or so it costs to get the ferry without it needing to be booked 8 weeks earlier to get a ticket for £70.That 30 quid, really does count, especially to a gardener. In February.

I’ve bought the train tickets so there’s no getting out of it now!

A few things have changed because of the costs of this trip, a warm up hike around the island next week is cancelled because I can’t afford to lose the £150 I can earn by working through half term. We’re going to take the kelly kettle as our stove because we can’t afford a smaller, lighter alternative at the moment (although long term I’m definitely getting a Biolite). I’m patching up my boots which have seen better days and putting some new insoles into Mrs Jones’ boots, and the kids will make do with the waterproofs they have all in an effort to reduce the financial burden of what should be a cheap backpacking trip.

Anyway, while we’re lacking  cash we have an abundance of excitement, the planner is filling up as we make notes on our itinerary, how far this day, where to camp, what to eat or where to resupply. We’re currently looking at 9 or 10 days on the trail which includes a day hike from Bridge of Orchy up Beinn Dorain but we’ll judge the conditions when we get there, we have no worries about giving things up if we have too. Hopefully we’ll get some time in Fort William and we’ll either have a go at Ben Nevis or if conditions aren’t great, try and hire some kayaks and potter on the water for a few hours. Either way it doesn’t matter, what’s important is that I’ve bought the train tickets so there’s no getting out of it now!




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