One thing I forgot to tell you yesterday: When we arrived at the hotel in Drymen, there was a wedding reception at the hotel. The groom and groomsmen were all dressed in their finery – kilts! I tell you, you cant go to Scotland without seeing men in kilts!
16 miles: This was a tough day – but I made it!
When we started out from Drymen, we had to walk about a mile back to the West Highland Way. From there, the uphill started. But the views made every step worth it! Our first glimpse of Loch Lomand was just a few miles into the walk, as we were going through Queen Elizabeth Forest. Here, many areas of the forest were being “harvested” and there were stacks of “timbers” alongside the trail. We left the forest and began a downhill section, but Conic Hill was looming ahead of us. We could see where the trail ascended the hill – it looked quite steep- and it was. There were sheep and cattle grazing all around us, even on the trail. They did move out of the way as we approached, however. As we reached the highest point of the climb, the views were breathtaking. It had been foggy and drizzly to this point – it would start to rain and we would put our raingear on, then it would stop and we would take the raingear off (it was too hot to wear if you didn’t need it). At this time, the sun was starting to come out of the clouds in patches and lighting up the surrounding hillsides. I don’t know how anyone can see this type of scenery and not see God’s hand in it. Several of the ladies climbed another trail to the actual summit to find an “earthcache” (a type of geocache), but my legs were too tired to climb any further. As the path started its descent, we could see lots of other people who had made climbing Conic Hill a day trip. About halfway down there was a large flat area that was just made for picture taking. Here is where we met a couple of Canadians, as well as a couple of Scots (who had visited Canada) and we crossed paths often the rest of the day. From there the descent became quite steep – to the point where stone “steps” had been placed in the hillside to make it “easier” to climb. There are not all the same distance apart, not the same heights, so it was still hard. The descent too us into another forested area where we found another geocache. From there it was a couple more miles into Balhama where we stopped at a picnic area to have lunch.
After lunch, we still had another 7-8 miles until we reached Rowardennan (pronounced Row-DAN-an). In some respects, this stretch was easier in that it did not have the length or elevation of climb as the first half of the day. However, when you have tired legs……. This part of the walk stayed fairly close to Loch Lomand – in fact, I was able to get a picture of myself with my feet in the Loch (boots still on of course)! We had a couple of steep climbs and I was beginning to look forward to the end of the walk – then we came to our steepest climb of the day. This hill is nicknamed “Hell Hill” – and rightfully so, I believe. Despite having to take many breaks to catch my breath and “get my legs back under me” I made it to the top! I have to admit that my poor muscles were quivering, though. A couple more mile of ups and downs and we were finally at the hotel.
Once we settled into our rooms, I was able to get a hot shower, and then soaked in a hot tub (those of you who know me, know that I never take baths….). I was rejuvenated enough that I was able to go out and find a couple of geocaches!
After a short rest, we went to the hotel bar for dinner – roast leg of lamb and sticky toffee pudding – and boy, was I hungry! I even finished off Dad’s fish! Back in the room, I am settled in for the night, finishing up this blog. However, as we have no internet or cell service here, it will have to wait until sometime tomorrow to get sent to you! Good night, all!
- Day 3: Dryman
- Day 5: Benglais Farm, Inverarnan