The Day before the West Highland Way

Well, the walk starts tomorrow, and I have to admit to being more than a little bit worried about it. Will my Achilles tendon hold out? Will I be able to cope with the weight of the pack? How well will I cope, walking solo, etc?

There’s only one way to really find out, and that’s to go ahead and try it!

I’ve now tried everything that’s going in my pack, and I’ve adjusted the pack to be more comfortable for me specifically, so there shouldn’t be any hidden surprises along the way.

My biggest concern is the weight of the pack. It currently weighs in the region of 17.5kg. I’ll give a breakdown of what I’ve got in it, so that you can see that what’s there is more or less all necessary.

I’ve broken the contents down into categories, so you can see what’s in each


 Ok, in here we have the following:

  • First Aid Kit (including Tick twister and extra medicines)
  • Compeed blister plasters
  • Antibacterial Hand Wipes (small pack of 15)
  • Giant Travel Towel
  • Gelert Washbag – containing shampoo, shower gel, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste

Total weight of this comes to 1.26Kg. Not a massive weight, but it all adds up in the end.



In this lot we have:

  • Waterproof Matches
  • Lighter
  • Trangia 27-1 Stove
  • Trangia Fuel bottle (full)
  • Light My Fire Meal Kit, Including (full) Spice Box
  • Metal Mug

Total weight for this is 2.03Kg, the largest item of which is the stove, coming in at 850g


In this lot we have:

  • Freeloader Globetrotter Solar Charger
  • Freeloader Case with cables/adapters to charge other devices
  • Kandle reading light + case (including spare batteries)
  • Amazon Kindle (with protective case)
  • Spare battery for Google Nexus One phone

Total weight for this comes in at 1.2Kg. This section is probably the one that is most likely to be considered a luxury, and I don’t deny it. However, for me to blog my progress each day whilst out in the field, I need a charge on the phone. As I’m going to be walking solo, it’ll also be nice to have the Kindle and an ability to charge the iPod (not included, as it’ll not be going in the rucksack)



In here we have:

  • Berghaus Deluge Overtrousers
  • Keela Stashaway Jacket
  • Bear Grylls Expedition Microfleece
  • Bear Grylls Survivor Trousers
  • 1 pair Brasher 3-season socks
  • 1 pair Sealskinz waterproof Trekker socks
  • 5 x Bridgedale Coolmax Liner
  • 2 x Bench Boxer Shorts
  • Berghaus Relaxed Fit Zip Neck Baselayer

Total weight for this section comes in at 2.52Kg. I think it’s fair to say that most of this is completely necessary. You’ll note the only thing that I’m changing every day is the Liner socks. I think it’s extremely important to keep the feet fresh and clean. I had originally planned on changing underwear every day (now every other day), and base layer every other day (now every third day), but the weight this was adding was just too much. 


In this section we have:

  • 2 x small packs of Beef Jerky
  • 3 x Pepperami
  • 6 x Blackfriars Flapjack
  • 2 x Super Noodles
  • 2 x Wayfayrers Meals
  • 10 x Scott’s So Easy Porridge Oats
  • 2 x 750ml H2Onya Water Bottles (full)
  • 7 x PSP22 Fuel energy drink sachets

Total weight for this section comes in at 4.5Kg, although the heaviest of this are the water bottles, which have a combined weight of 2.03Kg when full. I’ve got enough main meals there for the first 4 days, and breakfasts to last the whole trip (2x porridge sachets a day). The flapjack adds a whole lot to the weight, at 125g per bar, but at 500 calories a bar, approximately, they’re too good a source of fuel to be parting with. Most of the food in my list is high in Carbs to give me energy whilst walking, with just a little bit of extra protein from the beef jerky, etc.

Add the sleeping bag and the tent (1.6Kg and 2.8Kg respectively) and that comes to a total of 15.65Kg (ok, when you add those figures up, it might not – but I was rounding off for the blog). The downside of that is that it doesn’t include the Rucksack itself, which is another 2.5Kg – so realistically, we’re looking at an 18Kg pack

After calculating that, I decided to remove a few bits to drop the weight down a bit. The metal mug has now gone, as has the waterproof socks, the Pepperamis and a small dental first aid kit I had in the washbag. This only saved me about 500g, but every little helps, really!

I’ve been looking online, and most things say that you want to aim for a weight of 15kg or less, so I’ve been panicking a little. Until this morning. I’ve now read a couple of articles, which point out that the weight of the pack is relative to the person… after all, I’m a big guy (6′ 4″, and larger than average), so I tend to eat more, and my clothes tend to weigh more. My actual pack weight at the (revised) 17.5Kg is proportionate to an average person carrying  15Kg.

Additionally, for the first 2 days I’ll be using 2 x drinks sachets (1 sachet a day after that), 1 Flapjack, 2x Porridge sachets and 1 main meal – in total about 600g a day off the weight of the pack, not counting the actual drinking of the water (because i’ll be filling that up at the start of the next day) By the time I finish walking on the first day, my pack will be down to about 15.5Kg – but pack up to 17Kg the next morning.

Here’s hoping it all goes to plan! I’m fully packed now – I’ll be leaving home at about 7:30am tomorrow, with a view to starting the walk at 9am. I’ll hopefully be at Millarochy Bay at teatime tomorrow!

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