Day 51

Milngavie to Drymen – 13.1 miles (783.4 total)

I had a lot to organise last night, having to pack for my final 3 weeks of the walk while still having a number of maps to print off. On top of that I had an early rise to catch the train to Glasgow, then Milngavie, to meet Pete for our third walking of the West Highland Way. The last time we did the full way was 25 years ago. The WHW is one long Kerching, No.13. As I have stated before, it was the very first Way Walk that Pete, George and I did, in 1988. It was extremely busy then – and judging by the amount of backpackers milling around the main street in Milngavie, it is still extremely busy.

Douglas Street in Milngavie – the starting point of the West Highland Way.

Anyone reading my previous entries will know that meeting walkers, until now, has been a rarity. Experiencing the WHW is the other end of the spectrum. This is waywalking on an industrial scale. The varied languages and nationalities we have already encountered is incredible – and we have deliberately started the walk midweek, to avoid the weekend bottleneck! But then, the WHW is a very special walk, with scenery to die for, especially if you are lucky enough to catch a spell of good weather. Our forecast for the week ahead is sunny and hot… getting hotter. The last rain I remember, while walking, was the Wigan fiasco – Day 30! You do the maths.

After taking the obligatory photos at the start we set off on a gentle trek soon reaching Mugdock Wood with its magnificent displays of bluebells. Scroggy Hill and Craigallian Loch were next. Once you round Carbeth the distinctive shape of Dumgoyne Hill gets ever closer giving you an indication of what treats lie ahead in the days to come.

The bluebells in Mugdock Wood
Craigallian Loch

Dumgoyne Hill

Our lunchtime stop was six and a half miles in to the walk at the Beech Tree Inn. Pete had arranged for his partner, Andrea, to meet us there for lunch. A nice surprise awaited me because Pete’s sister Kay, and her husband, Dave, were also present to join us. We spent a nice hour in their company before heading off for the second half of our walk.

Pete, Andrea, Kay and Dave

Passing close to Killearn, Conic Hill, and further in the distance, Ben Lomond, were becoming ever more prominent. Loch Lomond itself came into view for the first time. At Gartness we left the path to take the road to the centre of Drymen, our overnight stop.

Conic Hill – between Drymen and Balmaha – on the horizon.

Today’s walk was a relatively easy 13 miles – tomorrow’s walk to Inversnaid will test our fitness, it could be 20 hard miles. Early to bed tonight… after a beer, that is.