Friday, 30 May 2014

Day 91: Inverarnen to Tyndrum

What can I say: each day is different but equally as beautiful. The West Highland Way truly is a great Walking trail! The weather today was just perfect: the sun shone and a light breeze just kept us from getting too hot with little fluffy white clouds drifting across a blue sky! Today was a totally different walk from yesterday with the path becoming more easily negotiated once we left Loch Lomond. The countryside opened out and, as we walked along Glen Falloch 

alongside the river of the same name

we were surrounded by mountains towering over us in magnificent splendour.

The path took us past the Falls of Falloch

and soon after, we crossed the river and began to climb the glen on the opposite side, following the route of the Old Military Road and soon turned NNW to enter a lovely, cool forest and, as we climbed higher, between the trees, the vista opened out in awe inspiring beauty.

On reaching a high point the path turned downward 

and we descended down to Strath Fillen, 

and followed the Glen all the way to our destination. An easy and enjoyable walk with magnificent views on all sides.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Day 90: Rowardennan to Inverarnen

Words fail me... Surprising, because I can usually talk under wet concrete. But words do fail me in describing today's walk. It was just perfect! Another warm Scottish day with no rain!!! The walking was great but not easy. We said goodbye to the hostel and two wild geese with their family of goslings sitting by the lake.

Then off through the field for a short while to the track, a turn to the left (North) then onto the West Highland Way. Initially we were on a forest track and gently climbed through the forest

then the track followed the lake northward

and climbed along the side of the Loch so that the views were a combination of the woodland, the loch and the mountains opposite.... just wonderful! A small burn stumbled down the side into the loch

and the path changed from a wide forest track to a narrow path that was, at times difficult to negotiate, with steep ups and downs and rock strewn sections to keep the concentration level high and the cardio-vascular system working.

We crossed a bridge over a small waterfall and descended down 

to water level at a lovely inlet with a hotel complex conveniently place to provide a cooling drink and rest for weary calve muscles.

Refreshed we walked on and the next section can best be described as interesting! The rocky path was, at time difficult and challenging but it all added to the enjoyment of the day. Then, as our legs were becoming weary, the path changed again and the bluebells charmed the aches away.

The path opened out into a flat area with a ruined cottage to add charm to the scene.

Then it was climbing again as we moved away from the loch side to climb around the far side of Cnap Mor and subsequently, our last view of Loch Lomond as we looked back to the south.

 Onward then to our destination at the Drovers Arms: a famous pub which can best be described as self consciously "shabby chic" .... and a price to reflect its popularity!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Day 89: Drymen to Rowardennan

A fantastic day's walking! It was a little overcast but warm... another T-shirt kind of day. We set off out of the village after a great night's sleep and good brekkie with great company... Kip-in-the-Kirk is a great place to stay...  
Today our walk would follow the Eastern shore of the Loch

and following our glimpse of Loch Lomond as we approached Drymen yesterday, we got a better view today as we entered Garadhban Forest.

We then began to gently climb and as can be seen from the map, we had initially planned to take the low route but were seduced by the promis of great views and decided to take the higher option over Conic Hill (we were also well and truly over flat uninteresting walking).

As we viewed the path up Conic Hill we were a little phased

but our choice was duly rewarded as we surveyed the magnificent views of Loch Lomond

which just got better,

and better.

Then, as we began our descent, the vista opened up even more

until we were along side the Loch

and for the rest of the day we followed a path through ups and downs, alongside the Loch

and by rural land, and

through woods.

Then finally, we could see Ben Lomond in the distance (not that we are going to bag that, or any otherMunro). 

After what seemed like innumerable climbs and descents, we reached the Youth Hostel

with its view across the loch... We were "home" for the night.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Day 88: Kirkintilloch to Drymen

A great days walk! After last nights rain, we were walking in our T-shirts rather than wet weather gear today! We headed out of Kirkintilloch along the disused railway path which provided a gateway to the West Highland Way.

We followed the railway path to Strathblane, where we had lunch, and then once we left the village, we followed a rather boggy tack through some fields where we chatted to a man who, in his lunch hour had come out to walk the dogs and feed some swans with little cygnets: so he let us tag along... Great!

As we walked today the view has gradually changed and the mountain backdrop become more pronounced (shades of things to come)

The track became increasingly boggy and overgrown with fallen trees blocking our way. We managed to struggle out the other side with only a quick backward glance 

before closing the gate behind us, then we commenced our walk along the West Highland way!!

The path led us past our first Whiskey Distillery

and through a delightful little cafe stop (we resisted the temptation).

Gradually, the terrain became more steep, with the views of the highlands in the distance becoming more clear

and our first sight of Loch Lomond in the distance!

Soon we arrived at our destination after a most enjoyable day.

Day 87: Falkirk to Kirkintilloch

An easy and predictable day. We followed the Union Canal to the Falkirk Wheel. This is a fascinating... well it is to me, piece of engineering. It is a rotating boat lift built to connect the Union Canal with the Forth and Clyde Canal. We approached along the Union Canal tow path, through the tunnel and could see the arches of the approach to the Wheel along the aqueduct, 

then, as the path left the side of the canal we could see the side of the wheel and the approach the barges would make to it along the canal aqueduct 24 metres above the Forth and Clyde Canal below.

The boats enters the wheel which then rotates down through 180 degrees to lower the boat down to the canal below.

Once we had stopped gazing open mouthed at the structure,

we continued along the Forth and Clyde Canal all the way to our destination arriving very wet as the heavens opened about half an hour before we arrived. However a hot shower and good meal solved that and we were ready to walk another day!