Day 5 – Kinlochleven to Fort William 24.6km
OMG it’s the last day, we’re almost done. How has this happened?! After a night under what was our best tarp setup yet, we woke bright and early amongst a wild camp spot full of Germans and packed away quickly as the promised rain began. Whether it was the sheltered woods or lack of stormy weather, (or 2 pints of cider?) that last night was my best night’s sleep yet.
There was a final big hill to conquer this morning and the trail was rocky but manageable. Ellie’s knee and foot were giving her some serious problems, and Fi’s feet were held together by plaster and bandages so it’s safe to say there was a part of us that was looking forward to finishing. This was actually one of our shortest days mileage wise, but I think as it was the final push the horizon line just seemed never ending as we rode the rolling rollercoaster of ups and downs through exposed and rainy Scottish countryside. We saw some familiar faces and were cheered on by all we saw which was still such a boost, and much needed!
I think I was probably quite annoying on this last day, as I seemed to have escaped serious injury thus far and was also riding on a serious high from our awesomeness at actually doing this crazy challenge. I tried to tone down the hype but sometimes the bounding just couldn’t be contained. Sorry girls, I know I was running way too fast…
Anyway, the day progressed and we scarfed down the last of our snacks, having decided that Fort Bill spoons would be both finish line and our lunch stop (it is literally AT the finish line). It became a little bit monotonous until we reached the wide open forestry tracks that signalled we were coming to the end. The last 6/7km are ALL DOWNHILL let me just tell you that. Despite the painful bodies, we galloped down the hills and even the rain stopped to give us a nice end to the week.
It hurt, hunger was setting in, tiredness rearing its head and the finish was in touching distance. The final fe km were a little uninspiring as we ran into Fort Bill and through town, as anyone who knows Fort Bill can probably tell you it is not a particularly pretty thing. There was a tantalising false finish where the OLD WHW finished and they decided to put a big sign with the word ‘old’ really really small. Yeh thanks guys. Then it was a race through town, sprinting past shoppers, grannies and tourists in our bedraggled state, wild eyed and searching let and right for the finish line we knew only from pictures.
FINALLY, FINALLYYYYYYY we found it and grabbed wildly at each others hands as we came under a big metal archway and collapsed onto the bench next the big metal statue of a guy whose name escapes me. DONE, WE WERE DONE!!!! Gulping some water and after a few selfies, we decided to not inflict our smelly selves on the Spoons customers and instead climbed the hill to our hostel, showered and limped our way back down to town to devour spoons specials.
I’m currently typing this is a very sunny New Zealand so I think some of the finer points have been lost in the haze that has been flying across the world and the intervening 2 months since we finished (oops), but the feeling of finishing that big adventure with my best friends was unlike anything. We annoyed each other, we hurt, we limped and got wet, but we BLOODY DID IT and did it together like the badass adventure QUEENS that we are. I am so proud of us, and I just absolutely loved this adventure. Where to next ladies? 😉