I was hiking along the eastern shore of Loch Lomond yesterday when my special Fag Hag Gaydar started going off. Coming towards me was a pair of men. The one on the left was maybe late 30s, pudgier, dark-haired, wearing a pink sweater. The one on the right, possibly a few years younger, was taller, skinny, with short-cropped blond hair, working the urban loungy look with a hooded sweatshirt and jeans. They were walking a small white Scottish terrier.
This sighting remains unconfirmed, as we simply passed each other and said “Hi.” There wasn’t really any appropriate way for me to broach the subject of sexual orientation. That’s about as tactful as someone racing up to me and asking: “Wait, are you really Chinese? What are you doing in the Scottish Highlands?!”
This pair would fall into the larger category of People Walking Their Dogs, whom I have encountered on the West Highland Way. Of the other category, People Actually Hiking the Entire West Highland Way, I have only met four other people: two separate father-and-son teams, one from Leeds and one from Lancashire. In both instances, the father seems to have dragged along a very reluctant son on the 95-mile journey. The son from Leeds is thirteen; the one from Lancashire looks to be in his mid-30s.
Anyway, my right Achilles tendon is acting up, but there’s not much I can do about that. I have fourteen miles to hike today, all the way along the rest of Loch Lomond and on to Inverarnan. And um, have I mentioned it’s past 10:00 am and I haven’t started yet? This is all the fault of the fabulous B&B where I am staying (The Shepherd’s Rest), which offers WiFi, slippers and a robe. As I venture further into the Scottish Highlands, I may not encounter any more WiFi along the rest of my journey. Or possible gay men, for that matter. But you never know.