West Highland Way, Day 2. 1st May 2012

After a cold night, woke up to bright sunshine in Garadhban Forest. We only had muesli for breakfast and it was just as bad as I had anticipated.  There was quite a lot of logging going on in the forest which had the upside that there were more open views; the downside was that some parts looked as if a bomb had hit it. Great views of Conic Hill.  Woodcarver Ian walked with me to the summit – a freezing cold wind but fantastic views over Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond from Conic Hill

Conic Hill and Loch Lomond










Ian is into geographing – a little known activity which involves taking one or more photographs in every OS 1 km grid square in the UK. Ian is a top geograph’er who likes nothing better than visiting obscure grid squares – he headed off to photograph a bog and I made my way down to Balmaha. Arrived at the Oak Tree Inn anticipating a bacon roll and coffee – but they didn’t serve cooked food till 12 so had to settle for a coffee and a muffin in the sunshine.

Boats at Balmaha

Primroses and Viola, near Balmaha










From Balmaha to Rowardennan is only 7 miles but it seemed a long way. I really liked this part of the Way – boats at Balmaha, open woodland paths, primroses everywhere, cuckoos cuckooing and I spotted a red squirrel in the woods.


Loch Lomond between Balmaha and Rowardennan

I walked for a while with an interesting Australian lady who was an ethno-biologist, working with Aborigines in central Australia. I was pleased she was seeing Scotland at its best. Late lunch in the pub at Rowardennan – beer and a sandwich.

The West Highland Way between Rowardennan and Inversnaid

By this time, I felt quite tired but still had another 7 miles to go to Inversnaid. Again, walking through open woodland with great views of the loch. It was a simply a question of getting on with it – and I finally got to Inversnaid about 6.30, where I was delighted to see the woodcarver’s van. We adjourned for a beer then drove up the hill to find a camp site.

This was a 19/20 mile day – a bit too long really, but I was pleased that I made it without blisters and too many aches and pains. Sunshine all day – I was really glad that I’d brought the sun cream.

Camping along Loch Lomond is not allowed in summer but there are a few possible spots after Ptarmigan Lodge, just after Rowardennan. Rumour has it there is good camping around Rowchoish bothy but I couldn’t be bothered checking these out.

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