Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
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2008.09.17 : West Highland Way
The End of the Tour
"Later I was a little drunk myself, not this time for fear of rats but from mere good fellowship. I remember wandering round the village listening to the laughter and the music among the little glowing fires and thinking that, after all, the whole journey was worthwhile; it did reawaken a kind of hope in human nature."
- Graham Greene, Journey Without Maps

Well, my notes from the last day of the walk are pretty damned scanty. Suffice it to say we got up at a leisurely hour, showered – at the beginning of the day! – packed our bags one final time, and moseyed on down that last stretch of road.

Bye, Glen Nevis! It was a pretty enough stretch, those concluding 2.5 miles of West Highland Way, from Glen Nevis into Fort William. Of course, we had to do it to say we'd walked the entire WHW. (Also of course, Tim had done it in advance, two days before.) But we'd always thought of Glen Nevis, and the concluding mountain climb, as the spiritual conclusion of the walk. And but then again, we did have to get to our trains – all 10.5 hours of them, to get back home!

As maladroitly foreshadowed yesterday, my shin splint(s? – only the one shin) came back, somewhat roaringly. I was baffled and grateful that it had gone away for one day only – our Ben Nevis ascent day. Now, I supposed, it could pretty much do its worst. To borrow a line from Eric L. Haney, I could do 2.5 miles upside down with my head in a bucket of shit. There'd be oceans of time to rest and recover afterward.

And could you pick up my dry cleaning? Rather deeply weirdly, we spotted this on the side of the path on the way out of Dodge – it was my shopping list for Tim from two days earlier! We could only imagine that 1) he'd dropped it; 2) some kind country soul had found it and put it up where the owner might find it; and 3) it got rained on.

We ran into a gentleman on the road who guessed we were on "that walk" due to the size of our bags. I pointed out that our bags were smaller than they'd ever been. "We don't smell so good, but we have a light step!"

Here' the official end of walk photo; an A&E ward that was either just that bit too far along, or perhaps in exactly the right place (we weren't sure); and what my boots looked like, in a train carriage I think, after 100 miles of Highlands and two mountains.

<i>Rock and roll, Cleveland!! – I mean, Fort William!!</i> Step this way, Way walkers and Ben climbers cheerfully accommodated . . . I should have really kept these off of . . . everything

Thanks a whole awful very much lot to you for reading along for the ride. (It kind of makes it for me.) Thanks to Tim, as ever, for being the total world-class champion walking companion (and friend) that he is. Until next time, mate! (Which, if you're asking him, isn't going to be very long at all.)

And as a final parting gift, and because I can, here's a larger, higher-resolution (I didn't want to say "higher-quality") version of my debut long-distance walking dispatch music video: "Ben Lomond - 974 Metres of Mean". Bon Earpetit.



Oh, and if you're jonesing for some more cool outdoor adventures (online), check out Tim's various exploits on timcorrigan.com.

This shopping list gives a fascinating (for some) insight into Michael's dietary requirements and handwriting.         (hide)
Tim and Michael are open to suggestions for projects related to travel, video and mobile blogging. Also to suggestions of where to go next! Thanks to Michael for being a great companion and for this truly stunning way of reliving the trip! Now that's kept him busy for most of a year - time to go and generate some more material I think.         (hide)

  graham greene     music     tim     video     walking     west highland way  
about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

my latest book
ARISEN : Odyseey, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
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