Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ben Nevis Inn is a welcome sight

Ring of Steall-050
After the long descent down Sgurr a' Mhaim (on the left in the photo above), during which I often considered just laying down and rolling down the rest of the way (what's a few more bruises, considering the bruises and scrapes I had already sustained from my countless falls?), we made it to level ground and prepared for the 6 mile trek back to Achintee Farm along the road.

Naturally, we rather hoped that some passing car would take pity on us and let us hitch a ride.  This is how we made it to the trailhead at the beginning of this hike--an American couple on vacation while on sabbatical in Durham, England picked us up after we had hiked 2 or so miles on the road.  Luckily, after 10 minutes of walking, a van full of sullen teenage boys and two camp leaders pulled over and let us in.

J. and I were on edge once the van started moving because one of the camp leaders who appeared to be in the driver's seat kept looking back at us while we chatted.   All the while the van whipped back and forth along the serpentine road, somehow staying on course, even as he kept looking at us.  We thought he must know the road pretty well to drive the van so carelessly.

Then we realized that we were in the United Kingdom and the driver's seat is on the right side of the van.  Part of what fooled us about the chatty man on the left was his habit of resting his hand on the dashboard.  From our perspective, he truly looked like he had his hand on the wheel.

Ben Nevis Inn, foot of Ben Nevis, Scotland
I drank tea nonstop during our trip
 With this realization, we were able to relax and anticipate, oh joy!, the piles of hot food and stout beers we would have (for nothing is more wonderful to a ravenous hiker than real food in an abysmally empty stomach).  I got potato leek pie, thick slices of bread with butter, large quantities of tea and cream, beer, and sticky toffee pudding. 

Ben Nevis in background, from footpath between Fort William and Ben Nevis, Scotland
Ben Nevis Inn dwarfed by the mountains
At last fully sated, with food and views, we headed back to Achintee Farm where we slept long and deeply.  Thus ends another day.

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