Day 53

Inversnaid to Tyndrum – 19.7 miles (822.7 total)

The approaching weekend is a Bank Holiday in the UK. This caused extra complications when booking accommodation on the, now extremely popular, West Highland Way. Pete stepped in and offered to accompany me on the WHW and, more importantly, to organise booking our stops. Lack of acceptable choice meant that the destination of today’s section had to be changed from Crianlarich to Tyndrum, adding about 7 miles to our walk.

Having done the WHW twice before, we knew that the initial path from Inversnaid was a difficult one. Add to this the forecast of very hot weather and it’s safe to say we were aware that today was unlikely to be easy.

We started walking around 9.30am, heading north up the rocky track on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond. For 3 miles or so the path was rough, narrow and uncomfortable. This section was once described to me as β€˜ a bit of a scramble ’, which I think is the perfect description. At times you need hands and feet to progress along the track. I was extra cautious, as I said yesterday, because I really didn’t want to twist an ankle at this late stage of my walk. It took us 50% longer to cover the first 4 miles of the day’s walk compared to yesterday.

The lochside path
Wild goats

After passing Rob Roy’s Cave it was noticeable that the loch was starting to narrow, indicating we were getting closer to the top the it. On the far bank, Ardlui came into view as, at last, our path started to level out. Walking conditions were back to normal by the time we reached Inverarnan coinciding with the sun making its appearance. At Beinglas Farm we took advantage of a bar/restaurant to enjoy a pint of cold cider.

Beinglas Farm

Suitably refreshed, we followed well-defined paths for the rest of the day. After Inverarnan we walked along Glen Falloch tracking the river valley and passing the Falls of Falloch waterfall. By now Loch Lomond was a distant memory as we made our way towards Crianlarich. The temperature was well in to the 20s with no breeze. We crossed underneath the main road to now follow the old military road.

Looking back at Loch Lomond
Our last view of Loch Lomond

Our water supplies were almost exhausted when we found a canvas chair and an β€˜ honesty box ’ with a small container of cold drinks by the side of the path. Talk about an oasis in the desert! Judging by the amount of empties in the bucket every passing walker was happy to stop and purchase before moving on.

Honesty Box

We rounded Buck Craig, then Black Craig before entering the forest above Crianlarich. Walking in the forest provided some welcome relief from the hot sun as the tall conifers offered up shade.

Limbo dancing under the railway
Railway viaduct between Crianlarich and Tyndrum

The final section of an extremely hot and testing day saw us leave the forest to join the River Fillan and work our way towards Tyndrum. We arrived there at 6pm, exhausted and dehydrated. I must have drunk about 2 pints of cold water as soon as I got to my hotel room. A warm shower for me, then a soak in the bath for Pete quickly cheered us up again.

The River Fillan