First of all, thank you to Louise, who helped us with lists of doctors’ surgeries and hospitals within walking distance.
Thank you also to the lady at reception of Red Squirrel Campsite in Glencoe. She kindly gave us a lift to the local GP. It was strange being in a vehicle, and under the circumstances cannot be considered cheating, not least because she was taking us in the opposite direction to the one we were meant to be walking in.
Along the journey she commented on the uses of oatmeal inside shoes to prevent blisters. Apparently oatmeal is very soft underfoot. Of course, in Heley’s case, she concluded that damp feet would only leave her with a severe case of Porridge Foot. A thought that continues to cheer us up even now.
Regarding Heley’s inability to sleep while inside a sleeping bag, she advised us to consider sleeping bags as cosy not confining. We were also told to remember to make sure our arms were easy to move and that we could make a hasty exit from our sleeping bags… just in case we awoke to find a fox licking our face. Camping was clearly a very different affair when she was a young lassie.
We got to the doctor, who looked at us incredulously when Heley said she was there for a blister. He seemed strangely impressed when he saw the gaping open wound that Heley had been quietly carrying around Glencoe the previous day.
The advice is to rest up and let it heal, but that’s not really feasible until Fort William, so instead the nurse patched us up. She was clearly experienced at dealing with the walking wounded. They probably have a lot of broken walkers appearing over in Ballachulish.
The nurse was lovely, and even gave us a few supplies for re-dressing the wound. She commented on Heley’s bravery as she cleaned the wound; others have commented on how mad she is. She ingeniously used what was meant to be wound dressing to create a buffer zone between Heley’s “blister” and her shoe. Only time will tell if it works.
All patched up, we picked up some fudge (from a shop not the doctors’ surgery!) to give to the campsite lady, and off we trudged. As we approached the campsite the lady drove past and said hello, asking how it went and what the outcome was. We gave her the fudge and in return she recommended that we take the day slowly and enjoy the views. Well, at least we enjoyed the views.
We never got to go up and around the hills in Glencoe. We’re just relieved to be moving though. We turned today from a 16-mile day with plenty of scenery and climbing hills to 20 miles of stumbling around Scotland and hobbling the hills.
Other than road, we really only had the Devil’s staircase to content with. Given our wandering around Glencose the previous day, and the madness we went through in Wales, we made short work of the climb. We overtook the only two walkers we saw on the hillside, and, despite her injuries, Heley still made it to the top before me.
Onwards we limped to Kinlochleven. Given the circumstances we chose another campsite. Hopefully I can be forgiven for writing yet another blog post from a bar. Still, it’s another 14 miles to Fort William, and from there we’ll see how it goes.
One day at a time.