West Highland Way

Fort William to Home - 24th to 25th April 2014

It seemed like only the day before that we had been in one of those cabins, time had flown by, and as the saying goes, we certainly had had some fun. Although we had packed our packs to minimise the amount we had to take out, there still seemed quite a lot to decant. After deciding that we smelt alright we decided not to change our clothes but just changed our boots for trainers. Unlike the journey up, we were leaving Scotland in the early evening, so we walked along to the lounge/buffet car and ordered a couple of coffees. They came complete with 2 shortbread biscuits each which we weren't expecting, but was very welcome.

Time to go home

In the lounge car

The train stopped a couple of times as we slowly made our way through the outlying areas of the town and then we were into countryside. We hadn't looked to see what the route of the train was, during our research, and just as well. It was a fantastic surprise. We stayed glued to the window as loch, mountain, deer and forest was passed by. What made it all the more special was that the train was lovely and slow, and when we got to an incline it struggled. Consequently, we had plenty of time to see everything, it couldn't have been better; we were like little kids in a sweet shop. The fading light slowly robbed us of the view but even then we peered out of the window, cupping our eyes to try and block out the light from the train, desperate to see more. It was probably a good couple of hours before we admitted defeat and relaxed back into our seats. We stayed for a while longer before we remembered The Water of Life that we had purchased back in Fort William.

Back in the cabin we toasted our achievement, once or twice or was it three times - it all seems a bit hazy. Rachel decided that she would brave the top bunk and I'm pleased to report she made it all the way back without falling out. I think we slept better on this leg but it is difficult to tell really. We were awoken by our steward, with our morning coffees and shortbread biscuits which again went down rather well. We did our ablutions and packed our packs for the last time, changing over to a clean set of clothes in the process.

We set off along the platform and found the same waiting room that we had used at the start of our trip. We took the opportunity of having most of the dwindling remains of our supplies for breakfast. We had a specific train to catch from Victoria which was a good couple of hours away and being rush hour we had decided to have breakfast first before trying to get across London. Rachel had the idea of going to see Buckingham Palace to kill some time, which is just around the corner from Victoria train station, so we set off on the underground. It wasn't too bad and soon we were out into the open air and walking towards Liz's gaff. The second of my blistered little toes had started complaining, and I hadn't taken any pain killers. The idea of walking to Buckingham Palace didn't fill me with a great deal of joy, but I put my bravest little soldier face on and marched off. After some photos we wandered around for a bit and then made our way back to the station.

We were soon on the final train leg of our journey and being whisked ever southwards and it seemed incredible that only 12 hours earlier we had been on the train in Scotland, looking out for deer as we trundled across Rannoch Moor. The train arrived at Haywards Heath and we set off on the walk home. It seemed a little strange walking through our home town in walking boots and full packs in the middle of the day, but we certainly weren't going to get a taxi. As we walked up into our little close, there were no neighbours about and so we slid into our little house unnoticed, not even the cat was in. He soon appeared and everything was back to normal, in our world and in his.

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