Leaving Tyndrum through woodland this morning there were several interesting things to see. Firstly an area where lead ore from the hills used to be worked years ago that is still totally devoid of vegetation, nothing will grow on the poisoned land to this very day. Next came a small Loch where Robert the Bruce was involved in a battle in 1306, then the remains of St.Fillan's Priory.
After a mile or two through farmland the West Highland Way then passes through a forest that contains some nasty uphill sections. Where the path passes close to Crairnlarich I made a half mile detour to the town to buy food and water. While there I noticed that the A82 was fairly quiet and the stretch going my way was wide with a cycle lane. I didn't fancy the steep climb back into the forest so I made a snap decision to take the road instead. The tarmac was a welcome relief from the bone jarring surfaces of the West Highland Way, which I rejoined a few miles up the road at Beinglas Farm.
I stopped at Beinglas for a cold drink, it looked a nice place to camp, then I pressed on. Soon after the northern end of Loch Lomond came in to view as I passed over a ridge, a very fine sight it was too.
My destination for the day, Inversnaid didn't look too far away on the map, but it was to take me a long time to get there. The path along the side of the Loch gets very difficult here, it was more like an army assault course than a footpath, boulders, roots and fallen trees cause all sorts of crazy obstacles. If a health and safety officer ever walked through this section they would most likely have a seizure, though actually you don't walk much here anyway, you clamber and climb, desperately hoping you don't trip and tumble in the Loch never to be seen again. At Rob Roy's cave I took a wrong turn and had to use rock climbing skills to get myself out of a tricky spot. None of this was made any easier by my heavy pack, it was now clear to me why many walkers choose to get their packs transferred each day.
Finally making Inversnaid was wonderful after such a test. I'd been planning to wild camp for the night, but I heard there was room in the Inversnaid Bunkhouse and opted to rest my weary legs there for the night.
GPS data click here
Mileage today; 20.86 miles, walking time 6 hrs 10 mins, average speed 3.4 mph
Weather; sunny, max 17C
Cumulative mileage; 272.75 miles
|As I cross over a ridge the northern end of Loch Lomond comes into view|
|Which way now? Sometimes there are no signs to help those going the 'wrong way' along the West Highland Way.|
|One of many crazy obstacles near Inversnaid. The boulder on the right is about four feet tall, try getting up there wearing a 14KG backpack!|