Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Day 0 - Rocking in Fort William

"Are you going to a rock concert?", the old lady asks me.

I stare at her. She stares back.

"Why?", I ask, but really I want to say something like "Why are you so prejudiced? Why do you assume every young person to be a punk, a rebel, and something entirely different from yourself? Why do you care where I'm going?" - but I don't.

"Well, I just...", her voice trails off, she's clearly embarrassed. I look down on myself. Brown walking trousers, a simple blue T-Shirt, walking boots and then there's the big trekking rucksack next to me. I definitely don't look anything like someone going to a rock concert. Maybe to a music festival, but why would I be wearing the heavy boots for that?

"I'm going walking in the Highlands", I explain, and suddenly the little old lady couldn't be friendlier.

We are standing at Stirling  bus station, and we have been doing so for quite some time. The bus is late, 25 minutes, we were told, but I've been here for 45 minutes and there's still no sign of any bus. At some point, I ask at the office, where some really unfriendly people tell me that the bus won't be coming. Oh, and we could have taken that other bus to Oban that left ten minutes ago. Thanks for telling me now.

So I take a bus to Glasgow, and there change for Fort William. The route the Citylink bus takes is stunning; it seems to follow the West Highland Way for quite some time, judging from the amount of people with big rucksacks we are passing. There is still some snow on the mountains around us, not just on Ben Nevis, but also some of the smaller munros.

Having arrived in Fort William (four hours later than planned), I start my search for Piotr's house. I am couchsurfing with Piotr, a really nice guy from Poland, together with a guy from Hong Kong and two Franco-Canadian girls. We have a really nice evening, filled with lots of interesting discussions, and later on we have a barbecue in the midge-surrounded garden. We're all too hungry to wait for the food to be ready, so we just eat the freshly barbecued food while standing around the grill.

Read more about my East Highland Way trip here.

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