Tom and I have been together for ten years. We don’t really do anniversaries, but this one seemed worth celebrating. We spent the weekend camping, walking, and eating at the Bridge of Orchy (B of O), one of my favourite places. It is hard to explain quite why I love the B of O so much, but I really do. Perhaps it is that it boasts a welcoming hotel serving excellent food, and good beer, including one of my favourite ales of all time. Perhaps it is that one can pitch one’s tent by the actual Bridge of Orchy, and be in said hotel, consuming said fine food and ales, in mere minutes. Perhaps it is its position among spectacular West Highland scenery. Or perhaps it is just that it has been a camping and walking oasis for us since we moved to Scotland. Anyway, for me, the B of O never disappoints.

(view above the B of O)

So we celebrated our decade with a lovely dinner at the B of O, a night in the tent, and a two munro walk. The B of O sits underneath Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh — two straightforward and interesting munros which, together with their several associated tops, make for a fine day’s walking.

(Beinn Dorain)

We had a lovely day: the weather was kind to us with sunny intervals and fantastic visibility — we could see Buachaille Etive Mor to the North, and the beautiful hills of the Black Mount all around us, shifting in and out of the light as the clouds sped by above. In the next photograph, Tom is pictured (in the middle of the red circle!) above snow-filled Coire Daingean.


If anyone is at all interested, I can certainly write up this walk with a route map — we made a good day of it — climbing up Beinn an Dothaidh first, and then picking our way to the summit of Beinn Dorain along the leacann (fun! we could see walkers plodding slowly along the West Highland Way a thousand metres below us!), before coming back down along the ridge.


The full walk is just over nine and a half miles, with 1800-2000 metres of ascent. It took us around five and a half hours, after which we were more than ready for another celebratory pint.

(a pint of bitter and twisted in the B of O hotel)

In ten years together we have written doctorates, songs, and books, taken several different jobs, and lived in six properties in three cities. Its been a decade of curious haircuts, shifting political and personal perspectives, old habits, new obsessions. Many things have changed, and in many ways, we have grown up together. Now we intend to grow old together.



here’s to the next decade!

40 thoughts on “B of O

  1. Oh my goodness! I had the best ever steak I’ve ever ever ever had in the Bridge of Orchy Hotel – it was amazing. I’m doomed to be forever disapointed by any other steak now for the rest of my life :(


  2. I’ll add my Congratulations to the list. I have first hand experience of couples writing thesis’ at the same time – not always a nice experience! I hope me and my half weather the storm as well, one down, one to go…

    I’d also be interested to see you route, I’m trying to gather together some good walking routes for the West Coast (I love AW and the lakes, but I can’t find an equivalent for NW Scotland).


  3. Congrats!

    I’d be interested in seeing your route map. I guess it’s easy enough to work out from OS maps, but always good to see personal hints and points of interest on a walk.


  4. I am very impressed that you managed Beinn Dorain and the other one in a single day. When we went we thought we were going to die on the summit and the thought of a second peak was out of the question!

    When we went there was little visibility, and I kept slipping and cursing rudely on the ice. But still, your walking achievement is uber-impressive and I’m really happy for you with the ten year anniversary.

    I love the olden photograph of you two together.

    Long Live Love! xxx


  5. Congratulations!
    I would love to know more details about your walk – it looks wonderful, and B of O is so very accessible on a train from London too.
    Here’s to the next decade indeed.


  6. Congratulations. The summary of your past decade was nice. Thoughtful. Stuck in the midst of a day-to-day relationship (who drank the last of the milk? where are my socks? thankyou for the easter eggs) it can be hard to see how far individuals and a couple of travelled, and what they have achieved.

    The scenery looks stunning. I think I could be tempted into camping in such surrounds. Darn hot and dusty Australia. Also full of Things that Bite & Sting. Or perhaps I’m just making excuses.


  7. What beautiful photographs of the mountains. I don’t know what munros or leacanns are, and I hate hiking, but even so your photographs and descriptions make me want to see this countryside.

    And an enduring relationship deserves celebration (even though camping sounds like a punishment to me).


  8. Ahh, I welled up reading this post. That is amazing. Congratulations – hurrah for celebrating in style. And I love the velvet in the 1999 (and Tom’s hairstyle) – I too seemed to have a lot of velvet crushed and ordinary in my late 90s wardrobe!


  9. Congratulations! Will have to check out B of O sometime. With the summery weather we’re starting to think about doing more walking (went up Kinder Scout in the Peak District on Friday – it’s really whetted my apetite!).


  10. How lovely to see those hills again – i lived very near to Bridge of Orchy for around 5 years and used to love running, walking and cycling around that area. Takes me back, so it does!! Anniversaries are important – you have to mark the event and that was a lovely way of doing so.

    best wishes to you both


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