Today I'd like to start my blog by saying a big 'thank-you' all the people who've made generous donations to MacMillan via my Just Giving page since I started walking. Also to everybody who has been sending messages of encouragement via Twitter, Facebook and other ways. I haven't been able to reply to most of you due to the limited time I've had online, but I can assure that everything is read and very much appreciated. Your support is a great source of inspiration to me.
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The Inversnaid Bunkhouse turned out to be a great place for an overnight stay. Dave and the team made all their guests very welcome and there was a great atmosphere. All the other West Highland Way walkers were very friendly. I seemed to be the only person heading south, so many were asking me what horrors awaited them as they headed north to places I'd already seen.
While in the Bunkhouse it was comforting to read in a guidebook that the section of the West Highland Way I passed through yesterday afternoon was considered to be by far the toughest section of the whole 96 mile route. So I set off in the morning hoping for easier terrain, I wasn't disappointed, the path had it's difficult spots here and there, but they were nothing compared to yesterdays horrors.
Through the forests I made good progress, though the loch views were limited until I reached Rowardennann. From there onwards you spend much of the time walking along pleasant shoreline sections of Loch Lomond, the views are very pretty. Also noticeable from Rowardennann onwards was that the mountains were gradually turning into hills, it felt like I was beginning to leave the Highlands. There were more people and more litter too as I edged closer to populated areas. Until now the West Highland Way had been almost completely litter free, a credit to it's thousands of users.
When I reached Balhama I stopped for lunch in the sunshine. My legs had been feeling surprisingly fresh all morning and the first 15 miles were very easy. I wasn't quite sure why, perhaps it was the huge bowl of porridge I'd eaten for breakfast, or maybe it was knowing I'd survived the worst the West Highland Way could through at me.
After studying the map in Balmaha I chose to walk to Drymen by road. It meant I would miss the view from Conic Hill, but it would also save me a couple of unnecessary miles and some steep hill climbing. I must remember that my focus is to make Lands End, not walk every inch of the West Highland Way. A couple of miles beyond Drymen I stopped to camp at Drumquhassle Farm, well placed to make Glasgow City Centre tomorrow.
GPS data click here
Mileage today; 20.81 miles, walking time 5 hrs 40 mins, average walking speed 3.7 mph
Weather; morning overcast, afternoon bright spells. Max 17C
Cumulative mileage; 293.56 miles
|A view of Conic Hill from my shortcut on the Balhama to Drymen road,|
|Loch Lomond at Rowardennann|
|Loch Lomond from an old fort near Balhama|