Thursday, May 8, 2014

43.58 kms: Balmaha-Milarrochy-Sallochy-Rowardennen

A few wines. Oops, I mean whines. It had to happen.

Also a swear word. It had to happen.

Top: Bluebell time of the year
Bottom Left: Any reason to get these off your back; great coffee an even better excuse
Bottom Right: Looking back along Loch Lomond

I have worked as a waitress, as a travel agent, as a shop person. All jobs where you deal with the public. And let's face it, the public is a temperamental, annoying, demanding entity, but they are your livelihood, even if it is via the person who owns or runs any given service enterprise. I have a huge inability to understand bad service. Even though it happens often, today's serving was the worst I have experienced in a long time. We're staying at the Rowardennen Hotel. The staff at the hotel are fine, but we went in to the Clansman Bar attached to have dinner and I have no recollection of experiencing such rudeness in a service industry. Ever. They have a captive audience. To a degree. Walkers on the West Highland Way seem commonly to bypass Balmaha and stay here the night. But can I say this to you—and to anyone who will listen—reconsider that idea. And if you stick to the standard plan, stay at the hostel, eat at the hostel. Do not go to the Clansman! And beside that, the meal was sub-standard: we had rehashed breakfast sausages on dried out mash with a gravy of broth-like proportions with no greens. We got out of there as quickly as humanly possible. Vile!

Why am I sick again on this section of the walk? I am starting to think that there is a more divine reason. We stayed a day in Balmaha to try and help me leave this cough behind. Last time I came this way, this night in Rowardennen was spent sitting almost upright coughing all night long. (I do recall a dissatisfaction with the bar last time too, but I didn't write about it at the time). The one day off this time has not helped. Do you think someone or something is trying to stop me going further? Does something ominous await me on the trail past Inversnaid? I'm not listening, but I am mightily annoyed. Walking up hills brings on asthma-like episodes, coughing is giving me a massive headache, I can't sleep nights. I am, in short, having a truly miserable time. And it is so much worse to have a miserable time on holidays when the expectation to enjoy yourself is so high. Feeling like this is making me panic, like I did last time, about accommodation because the last thing in the universe I want to do is sleep on some precarious rocky ledge in a goretex body bag. Call me crazy, it just doesn't appeal.

Left: Walking in the bluebells
Right: Skimming stones on the loch: an idyllic life

This grumpiness will pass. My knees will hurt less, all my other joints will stop carrying the slack my knees create, the sun will come out, the midges will stay away, the walking will get easier and the pack seem lighter. But at this stage I really wish there was a friendly bar around where I could drown a whine or two with a wine or two!

Good night to Rowardennen (except for the two arseholes at the bar), good night to you.

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