Balmaha to Inversnaid
The one with the bluebells, sights of Loch Lomond and a camping adventure in my new tent!
Location: Balmaha to Inversnaid
Distance:- 17 miles (including squiggles!)
Weather:- beautiful until lunchtime then drizzle for the rest of the day.
Health:- I feel great. No aches or pains, just very tired.
SUMMARY: Today has been epic! The scenery is so difficult to put into words and photos/videos do not pick up the vibrant colours. It’s sooooo green! Then the bluebells in twinned with the orange heather made me stop in my tracks and just go wow!! Loch Lomond is one of the most majestic places I’ve ever visited and I don’t want this trip to end!
The Long Winded Version
7.30am – Enjoyed breakfast at the hotel of creamy porridge & honey. I got chatting to Cameron & Jackie who are using the luggage transfer service. They are walking to Inverannon today.. over 22 miles!
8am – I said goodbye to Angie & Louise, knowing that they will catch me up later. I wandered over to the Tom Weir statue who was a STV broadcaster, environmentalist and climber who lived locally. He wrote a column in The Scots Magazine for 50 years. I took my photo and watched the boats then started looking for the WHW signs. A fellow hiker, Tony told me that the signs are from the car park behind the hotel. I thanked him and I was on my way.
8.20am – 1 mile later, the signs bring me out onto a road. This looks familiar I thought! Then I saw the Tom Weir statue!! Yep, my first squiggle! Thanks Tony!
10am – I’m following a lady whose rucksack is enormous! It looks like a 70l pack. We stop at a similar place to take photos so I introduce myself and ask her if she is also camping? No, she replied… that was it! What on earth she had in that pack god only knows!!
10.15am – I have the most scenic “wild wee”
11am – The trail leads me away from the shores of Loch Lomond. My “huge backpack friend” is sitting on the pebble beach taking photos. I wave, and she turns around ignoring me. Ok, perhaps she’s shy?
11.15am: I look up and see about 100 steps to climb. When I reach the top, and go around the corner, it continues up! Omg! My little legs are screaming at me!
11.45am I can see a man and a dog sitting at the top of the last section of steps. I didn’t notice that the dog was wearing a harness and high vis. As I walked by I said “blimey, that was tough wasn’t it?”. He looked up in my direction and agreed with me. It was then that I noticed he was blind! I take my hat off to him as it must have been 10 times tougher for him! This forest trail that snuggling follows Loch Lomond is stunning. The bluebells, the moss covered rocks and fallen trees. The birds dining their heart out and my little robin followed me all day! (It was probably different robins, but I talked to it as if it was the same bird!).
11.57am – A drizzle of rain starts just as I reach Rowardennan Hotel. I get my stamp in my West Highland Way passport and the receptionist claims “this is the best part of my job”! I order a Cappacinno & chips – £6.30! Louise & Angie join me and I enjoy the company. Rain skirt on and we are ready to leave. I look dead sexy! Lol
13.40 – Angie & Louise are ahead of me so I’m not sure which route they took. I took the alternative route, which climbed up and stayed on a track. The red route below was apparently dangerous when wet (thank you Guthook!). I lost count how many stupendous waterfalls I saw today. I walked with Brian (retired policeman from yesterday) and Tony – I teased him about sending me the wrong way this morning! Brian is super fit, but Tony is having problems with his ankles and is in quite a bit of pain. They are walking this trail in 5 days but I can’t see him making it! They are meant to be carrying on the Inverannon today.
2.37pm – I passed two people in ponchos. They are Rosie & Tony and they are camping along the trail. Their tent ripped last night so they’ve had fun and games! They are staying at the same place as me, so we agree to have a beer together later.
2.45pm – OMG! The bluebells are just breathtaking! Mixed in with the orange of the heather/ferns it just looks lovely.
3.10pm – I bumped into a cute older couple. He has been collecting flowers and putting them in her hat! They are so in love it’s lovely to see. I caught them later at Inversnaid Hotel and even though it was raining they were holding hands. How cute is that?
3.30pm – I’m drying off at Inversnaid Hoteland watching characters from the trail come and go. Angie & Lou are here, then Brian turns up. “Where’s Tony?” I ask. Brian is shaking his head and is quite worried about Tony. Eventually Tony turns up (about 35 mins after Brian). At this rate they will be in Inverannon around 10pm! I left them to it, but I hope they decide to get a taxi to their next stop!
3.50pm – Rosie from Inversnaid Bunkhouse picks up me and the poncho people in her people carrier (all masked up of course!). I pitch my tent (badly) then head up to have a beer with my poncho friends. Guess who is also here? Huge rucksack lady! She is still ignoring me! Today has been a day of amazing scenery, good conversation and so peaceful in the forest. Catch you tomorrow for day 3!