Walkin’ In My /Boots

West Highland Way Walk

Part II

Day 3

Today we are off from Rowardennan to Inverarnan! But, I must share with you the incredible sites we have seen long the way. Loch Lomand is the route we followed in this section of our walk, located in the northern and more remote part of Loch Lomond. The terrain is perhaps the most rugged I have ever seen and that I dare to climb, walking in my boots or otherwise. The water plunges 620 feet! It’s difficult to complain because the scenery is outstanding. But, beware…this is no joke and can be dangerous if not paying attention. It does get particularly challenging north of Inversnaid but, even there the climb is worth every step. 

Isn’t this worth a real look? 

However, I am getting ahead of myself. I just couldn’t wait to share the peaceful look at this slice of heaven.

This photograph is courtesy of Ben Oss and Beinn-Dubhchraig, titled In The Distance and Gregor-Innes. https://www.westhighlandway.org/image-gallery/  

The highlight in this part of my walk is the outstanding waterfalls at Inversnaid. The waterfalls are such a fantastic site that it makes you realize the power of nature with its beautiful surrounding and/or beneath you. The West Highland Way walkers can get up close and personal with it as the route takes a footbridge over the waterfall just as it cascades down into Loch Lomond. The loch narrows towards in its northern tip, making accessibility to services easily attainable on both sides of the loch.

Source: Photochrom Print Collection…Library of CongressCatalog: http://lccn.loc.gov/2002695020, Public Dmain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33197263

As a bonus, you will also see along this route some wild goats, or see magnificent birds of prey, and maybe even see the Golden Eagle and the Osprey!

Day 3 Rowardennan to Inverarnan…14 miles…( 22.5 km ) 

Simon, my son, was having trouble with his foot and decided to have a day resting it. Fortunately, he was kindly offered a lift to our next destination at Inverarnan. After seeing how tough this section was to walk, it was a wise decision. So, we were off with the three of us…my other 2 companions following the shore of Loch Lomond.

Brian and his son Chris soon moved ahead, and we agreed to meet at the hotel at Inversaid. The Inversaid Hotel is in a fabulous setting, situated at the base of the waterfall I spoke of above.

 After a pleasant lunch, Brian and Chris were anxious to move on and soon left me behind. We managed to keep in touch via texting on our mobile phones. As we progressed, the going started to get tougher as we had to scramble over rocks in the middle of the path, and we had to be careful not to trip over them. As I struggled to navigate the trail, a text came from Chris advising me to turn back as he had to help Brian over a tricky rock formation. Ha! Turning back is not in my nature, so I texted back Over my dead body and continued on. It was fortunate for me when I reached the said spot, I had met a young couple and asked them, Would you just keep an eye on me in case I fall? They were happy to oblige.

 

Rob Roy’s Cave

Courtesy of Lorie K.

I was more successful than Brian, however, and so the walk continued with my new found friends…and I might add, I was feeling quite pleased with myself. A while later, we came across a cave which Rob Roy had hidden in to evade his pursuers. Brian and Chris had missed it in their haste to finish the walk that day.

Thankfully, it eventually got more relaxed as we approached the far end of the loch. I had begun to feel dehydrated after all the excursion, but fortunately, my friends had a spare bottle of water to give me. I was falling well behind schedule and estimated my time of arrival at 8pm. Simon and Chris thought I must be lost and set out to look for me. Chris eventually found me and escorted me to The Rovers Return, our stop for the night.

My new friends had headed for their campsite, which was nearby, so we parted company after thanking them for their kind help. On arriving at The Rovers Return, I had a late meal which had been saved for me, and then I immediately retired to bed. Even the ghost which supposedly haunted the place could not have awakened me from an exhausting dead sleep!

 

This is one very charming pub in Scotland.  

Established in 1705

The Drovers Inn

Also known as the Haunted Inn.

This photo of The Drovers Inn is courtesy of Wikipedia

<a href=”https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g551930-d581625-i197583587

The_Drovers_InnArrochar_Loch_Lomond_and_The_Trossachs_National_Park_Scot.html#197583587″><img alt=”” src=“https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/0b/c6/e2/e3/venison-casserole-for.jpg”/></a><br/>

I found of interest those who have wondered about the Feral Goat. As an ending message let me just tell you though they have long horns which can be straightened sharp or curled and rounded, they are only a threat as an invasive species with serious adverse effects, such as removing native scrub, trees, and other vegetation. Feral goats are included in the 100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species.

There are many such species in theWest Highland Way walk path, and you must remember animals in the wild are not pets. They are wild. There are many estimates on the population, but it ranges under 3,000 to over 4,000 feral goats in Scotland. However,  scientists think the overall population has remained constant since the late 1960s. They eat vegetation and quite destructive to native woodlands. Feral goats are included in the 100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. Feral goats are a reasonably common sight in the Scottish Highlands. The goats are descendants of livestock abandoned, through necessity, by  Highlanders during the Highland Clearances. The goats act as a living reminder of the region’s turbulent past.

Information Source:

Author: arjecahn on flickr.

Source:https://www.flickr.com/photos/arje/95321922/

 

 

Day 4 Inverarnan to Crianlarich -6 miles-(10 km )

Good Morning Mates! Today looks a lot better after a good nights sleep and I am looking forward to a better days walk. After the very tough day, we were looking forward to a leisurely day in which Simon decided to participate. We both knew yesterday after I had such a grueling walk that it would have been impossible for him having an injured foot. (I had heard there is a route to climb Beinn Odhar, which is a Scottish mountain situated at the northern extremity of Loch Lomond but happily that was not our choice to climb and decided against it as it would have been another challenging walk up a steep climb instead of the more leisurely one we had selected.) In anticipation of the mountain scenery we were expecting to see on this days walk, I was most eager to get started. 

So shortly after being fortified with a good breakfast we left The Drovers Inn, crossed back over the River Falloch and followed it upstream on the right bank passing by the Falls of Falloch.

 

Attribution: Brian D Osborne / Falls of Falloch

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Falls_of_Falloch_-_geograph.org.uk_-_47481.jpg

For those of you who are romantics, the Falls have quite a history and viewpoint that would make anyone fall in love. Eas Falach,, for Falls of Falloch means Hidden waterfall. It is the most popular of sites of local beauty on the river Falloch. A viewing spot was engineered and designed by John Kennedy called Woven Sound to provide a sheltered space for which you can experience the Falls themselves but up close. It provides a viewpoint where the sound of thundering falls can be taken in from a beam that hangs slightly over the water. It is a trellis of steel rods weaving between trees and avoids the destruction of the natural beauty of the site. It was designed so to provide a sheltered space. I read that Dorothy Wordsworth recalled in a dairy that many romantic writers and artists who had visited the Falls in the early 19th century left their marks etched into the dappled steel at this viewpoint. Be a romanist or lover of nature, this is one area you should not just walk on past

Later on, we crossed the river again and continued through open land and woods. We took a slight diversion from the path to arrive at our day’s destination in the village of Crianlarich. It was an elementary day, but we arrived in the valley of the River Fillan at the halfway point to Tyndrum.

Day 5 Crianlarich to Bridge of Orchy 12.5 miles ( 20 km)

 Crianlarich, appears to offer little for the visitor but does have the only police station for some distance in any direction, post office,  cute little church and a good store to shop in. All of that in mind, Crianlarich, remains a busy but very small village. However, if wanting to stay here, this small village offers a surprising number of options from a grand old hotel to B & B’s. and wooden wigwams for rent in Strath Fillan! Mountain climber? Well, it is also a convenient location for climbing the mountains of Glen Falloch, or Ben More, which towers over the village to its east

As Simon had a 12.5-mile walk in front of him and his foot was hurting again, he decided that discretion was the obvious choice and he would catch a bus to The Bridge of Orchy which was our target for that day.

The route towards Tyndrum followed the valley of the River Fillan and went past the  Kirton Farm with the ruins of St Fillan’s Priory nearby. There was a farm shop which also sold both hot and cold drinks along with cakes and many other tempting treats. We decided that this was definitely a great place to stop for a mid-morning break.

Photograph Credit: MartinThoma [CC0]-River Fillan

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Inverarnan-Tyndrum-16-River-Fillan.jpg

Afterwards Brian and Chris shot off again, having agreed that we would stop for lunch in Tyndrum. Further on the way, I came across a spot near a small lake where there was a sign which mentioned the Legend of the Lost Sword. Gathering interesting information always slows you down, or that’s usually my excuse! My son Simon, has always said I am a dawdler but being so means not much gets past me that one day my thoughts are, I missed it!

The Legend of the Lost Sword and Robert the Bruce. who was King of Scotland from 1306 until 1329 when he passed away. (also known as Robert de Brus or Robert I) Robert Bruce, known for being a skilled warrior was known for  his victories against the English during the First Scottish War of Independence and is regarded as a Scottish National Hero. He died at the age of 54 with causes unknown and buried at Dunfermline Abbey. It is said he reached his goals accomplishing his life’s dreams for gaining recognition of the Bruce’s right to the crown.

 As I researched a few bits of information, I also found this sword which was designed by John Barnett, a skilled Edinburgh sword maker. If interested in collecting swords, you can visit https://www.theknightsvault.com/shop/robert-de-brus/ and find a handmade sword for as little as $240.42.

Well, finally I arrived at Tyndrum where I met up with the other 2 for lunch in The Tyndrum Inn. After a casual lunch, it was time to be off again to  

 

The Bridge of Orchy. Source: Carol Walker / Bridge of Orchy 

The trail climbed out of Tyndrum and went along an old military road which was sandwiched between the main road and a scenic railway line which at one point went over an impressive viaduct. (That’s the engineer in me to admire a viaduct!) On the right-hand side, there were a couple of magnificent mountains. The  going was flat, and I made good progress arriving on time at our destination at The Bridge of Orchy Hotel for a lovely evening meal. This lodging where I spent my night is located at the head of Glen Orchy on the A82 road. A significant improvement from the 3rd day. Although it was not a difficult day, I was more than happy to arrive earlier than my previous days walk and retire early to rest up for the next day and my walk to Kinghouse!

 

 

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Until We Meet Again!,

Chris

Chris Ambrose, Author 

70 is the new 50`

 

My Boots Are Made For Walkin

No matter what Life throws at you, 

it’s where Giving Up, is Never an Option!

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