10 miles for me – 14 for most of the group…..
The morning started out quite a bit chilly, and I began my walk with a jacket on. I was the first to take it off though! I stay quite warm as I am hiking. Its funny to see the rest of the group in pants, long sleeve and jackets with me in my shorts and t-shirt!
As we started out, it was quite flat, then we had a fairly long uphill section. I was beginning to realize that I was probably not up to completing the entire 14 miles today. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Most of the walk was through forested land along the edge of Loch Lomand. One would think that walking along the edge of a lake it would be flat – not in Scotland. The hills and mountains go right down to the waters edge. For the path to follow lake edge, it hangs to the side of the mountain, causing many steep ups and downs – most of which are extremely rocky and/or tree root ridden. You really have to watch where you are putting your feet. Along the way there are many streams and waterfalls that cross the path. Someone very nicely put boulders over most of the streams that you have to step from one to the next to be able to cross. In other areas, however, you just have to pick your way across. Just another obstacle! This leg of the walk was 7.5 miles and we completed it in just under 3 1/2 hours. We really made good time.
At this point, we entered the town of Inversnaid. We really didn’t see much of the town, just the hotel that is a stopping point for many walkers. I knew that I just couldn’t go on. The next 7 miles of the WHW has been called “the most difficult section”. There would not only be rocky paths, but areas where you would even have to climb over and around boulders. I decided to “cheat” a little bit and give my legs some rest. So, as Mom, Verna, Gloria, Marilyn and Elizabeth continued on their way, Dad, Ralph and I hopped on the ferry to go across the Loch and catch a bus to our next destination.
The ferry ride was great! Our boat pilot was a bit of tour guide and comedian rolled into one and he told us alot about the area. He explained to us the clans that claimed land on each side of Loch Lomand, and pointed out the Old Military road that was built during the Jacobite uprising (1600s I think). That road is still in use today and you can see the brick work that kept the road from falling in the loch, as well as the stone walls that kept the mountain from washing onto the road. We could also see the old Toll Cottage that sat at the border of two clan lands, where you would pay a toll to travel along the road. The ferry docked in Tolbart – a name that means “a place between two waters”. Just beyond the town was another loch that had access to the ocean. The vikings would sail into that loch, then carry their boats overland on rollers to access Loch Lomand. The were doing this to try to claim the land from the Scots. We staying in Tolbart for about an hour before catching the bus to Inverarnan (pronounced In-VHAR-nan).
Once the bus dropped us off we found a geocache right by the bus stop! From the it was just a short walk (about a mile) to the Benglais Farm – part B&B/hotel, part campground. I have to say that I was glad that I am not camping! The temperature was getting quite chilly as evening approached, and became rainy as well. Not only that, but the tent were pitched in the sheep field! I certainly wouldn’t want to wake up by a sheep introducing itself to me with a “Baaa”!
Once we got all the bags to the rooms, I was feeling quite refreshed and decided to backtrack the trail to find the ladies that had walked on. I found them about a mile down the trail. According to my Nike SportWatch, I had walked another 3-4 miles since taking the ferry, so I really only missed about 3-4 miles of the walk. Part of me wishes that I had walked every inch of the WHW, but realistically, it would not have been wise for me to do so.
So, fed and refreshed, I am looking forward to tomorrow!
- Day 4: Rowardennan
- Day 6: Ewich House and Life Lesson #3