West Highland Way. Rowardennan to Inverarnan. May 2014.
Helen Rose Outdoor Diary.
I am trying to fill in the gaps in completing the West Highland Way. The West Highland Way was Scotland’s first long distance route and remains by far the most popular. Stretching for 96 miles from Milngavie on the edge of Glasgow to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, the route offers a fabulous introduction to the Scottish Highlands. My most recent section was from Rowardennan at the foot of Ben Lomond on the east side of Loch Lomond to Inverarnan at the north end of the loch. This is the best section but also the most difficult terrain. I was on an organised tour with Fred at Scot-trek and the website is www.scot-trek.co.uk . It is difficult to arrange this myself as it is a linear walk with a long drive to the far end which requires going to the west side of the loch.
We started from Rowardennan on a lovely sunny spring day. Fortunately it is too early for the midges to be out although I did manage a tick bite! The first few miles of the walk were on a good forestry track and through the trees we had glimpses of the loch and the so called Arrochar Alps on the other side of the loch. These are a range of mountains and some of the tops are very rocky hence the name of the Alps. After some miles we stopped for a tea break at a viewpoint over the loch. Later on in the walk the terrain became more difficult with the tree roots and rocks. Fortunately, the weather had been dry so the tree roots were not wet and slippery. We chatted away as we scrambled along to the lunch stop at Inversnaid.
We came to a clearing where there was a sign for Rob Roys Cave. There are many of these throughout Scotland and the myth is that he watched a spider in this cave which inspired him to continue his struggle. Believe it or not but it is good folklore! It is difficult to get down to this cave in the rocks but is better glimpsed from the other side of the loch. We soon came to our lunch stop outside the Inversnaid Hotel with lovely views over the loch from the picnic benches. This was a fourteen mile walk and in total it was 8 hours including the breaks so we did not rush on and had regular breaks. It is possible to take a public boat from Inversnaid to the other side of the loch but we soldiered on bravely.
After lunch it was back to all the ascents and descents over the rocks and tree roots but we were lucky to spot some of the wild goats in amongst the trees. It is quite common to see them on this walk. The route continues along near the loch shore and care must be taken not to slide into the loch as there are some little rock ledges to walk over. Most of the path has been improved over the years but for some reason this section from Inversnaid has still not been tackled. Still, it gave us the experience of the early walkers on the path many years ago. In time, we reached a beach near the head of the loch where we rested and took in the views.
After the break the path was good and we left the loch side and continued curving inland and then back towards the loch side where there was a request stop for the boat over to Ardlui. Some people decided to take the boat over to round off the day sailing the loch. We continued up a little hill eventually coming out at the Beinglas campsite with the teepees for those doing the West Highland Way over the week rather than in sections.
From here it was a short walk to the bridge across the River Falloch to the end of the walk at the Drovers Inn at Inverarnan. The Drovers Inn is an old inn used by the Highland drovers who used to drive their cattle down the side of Loch Lomond to the markets. It is an institution and the decor and furniture, in deference to the past, look as though they have not been changed or altered for a couple of hundred years. I love the ambience and it is a reminder of being beside the open fire when I returned from Munro bagging cold and wet but happy.
Coming attractions; WHW Inverarnan to Tyndrum and Ailsa Craig.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This section: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary
Filed under: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary
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