TRAVEL: Walk­ing the West High­land Way»

Fresh air, lush lochs and abun­dant whisky on West High­land Way

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Kim Fuller

The pas­time of hill walk­ing, as it’s called in Scot­land, was some­thing I knew I had to do as soon as I learned about it. I grew up hik­ing in the Rocky Moun­tains, and hill walk­ing, it seemed, had the ope­nair re­fresh­ment and med­i­ta­tive ca­dence of a hike, but with­out the high-al­ti­tude as­cents. There were more rolling, lush land­scapes, with quaint towns to ex­plore along the way. And whisky tast­ings.

I trav­eled to Scot­land from Colorado in 2010. I had just grad­u­ated from col­lege, and for a year I lived in the coun­try and ex­plored Europe as an as­pir­ing free­lance writer. I was based in Dundee, in the coastal area of Fife, and I did more city wan­der­ing and paved-path run­ning than hill walk­ing while I was there.

Upon my ar­rival in his coun­try back then, my then-new friend Jack Mcke­own gave me an im­age-rich book on the West High­land Way. The pages de­tailed a 96mile, south-to-north route through moun­tains and lochs, forests and farm­land that con­nects Mil­ngavie, near Glas­gow, to Fort Wil­liam, on the western side of the coun­try. Jack had com­pleted it over a decade ear­lier, and I think I asked him right then and there if he would do it again, with me.

Four years af­ter I left Scot­land, I re­turned, this time with my boyfriend, Bobby. It was early Septem­ber, and we had set plans to walk the Way: Jack would join us, and sev­eral friends would to meet us along the route, hop­ping on the trail for a leg of it here and there.

Crunched for time, we de­cided to set up our itin­er­ary at six days in­stead of the more com­mon seven. This pre­served a

Kim Fuller, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

Jack Mcke­own, left, Sheila Mcke­own, cen­ter, and Bracken the dog stand on a hill­top out­side of Bridge of Orchy in Scot­land while Bobby L’heureux sets a stone on a cairn.

Kim Fuller, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

The view from the edge of Loch Lomond at sun­set.

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