LETJOG – Day 44: Wednesday 30 June – DRYMEN to INVERARNAN (26 miles)
Well, today’s section of the West Highland Way really was a marathon! This demanding walk was not the longest day of my trek in terms of mileage, but with an aggregate of nearly 1,000 metres of ascent, and with countless ups-and-downs and twists-and-turns over rocks and tree-roots along the final 15 miles, this day was, by a margin, the most arduous of my LETJOG adventure to date. And to say that I was grateful for my poles is an understatement! Taking me almost exactly ten hours to complete, including four short breaks, I was most fortunate for the dry weather and for some cloud cover, although the temperature and humidity did still make for a sticky day, and I got through around four litres of water!
My thanks to Frances at the tastefully-converted ‘Kip In The Kirk’ guesthouse in Drymen, where I stayed last night, for her thoughtful hospitality and for supporting my LETJOG trek. Setting off early in the morning mist along the quiet road to Balmaha I was able to take in the atmospheric views of Conic Hill and the islands of Loch Lomond, even if the higher peaks were somewhat shrouded by low cloud.
The mist lifted presently as I followed the West Highland Way, up and down between the forest and the waterside, before a longer climb into the trees after Rowardennan for the prolonged trawl to Inversnaid, and all the while with tantalising glimpses of the Loch to my left, through the foliage. This really was a day of exertion, and of concentration on the uneven terrain, so my thoughts and photos might be rather more limited than usual, although I did have more facility for views as I emerged from the trees and as the path flattened out a little towards Inverarnan.
I should really have split this day into two, especially as I could still recall the path, having completed the West Highland Way nearly three decades ago. But I was up for the test, and I can sit back now, in the Drovers Inn at Inverarnan, pleased to have been able to rise to the challenge!