Day 3 – Rowardennan to Inverarnan
OK, so today was the day that I finally cracked and opted to go with the bag carrying service. We decided to send the tent and all the heavy equipment in my bag, and Andy would just carry everything that we might need during the day, such as our cooking equipment and spare clothes.
The long slog up Conic hill with my backpack the previous day had almost finished me, so I thought why not take the strain off. Plus I knew that today was going to be tough – reportedly the most difficult section of the whole walk.
We set off around 8am and it felt amazing to be out walking without my heavy backpack – especially going up some of the steep hills shortly after leaving the youth hostel. The path climbs higher and higher above Loch Lomond, although the view is partially obscured by trees. Every so often though you reach a clearing where you get to see right across the loch, and are able to see how high up you really are.
“it brought a little tear to my eye”
We thought we were making really good time, but then the ‘John o’Groats’ girl went zooming past us and away into the distance!
The path works its way back downhill again, and the rest of the walk towards Inversnaid was pretty straightforward. We passed a memorial plaque to commemorate someone who had died saving the life of a friend – it brought a little tear to my eye, and I’m quite disappointed that I can’t remember the person’s name.
We reached the Inversnaid hotel and decided to make ourselves some lunch, so we went and sat away from the hotel and boiled up some supernoodles. After we’d finished we went and sat up in the patio outside the hotel with a few beers, just as the sun started to warm up.
We didn’t sit too long though as we knew the next stretch would be tough. Not long after starting off again we passed the German couple, both wearing long trousers and sleeves, and again not a drop of sweat! Both of us were practically melting in vests and shorts!
The section between Inversnaid and Inverarnan is notoriously the most difficult part of the whole walk, and I remember I really struggled with it last time. However this time I was hopping and skipping over the boulders like a mountain goat, and really enjoyed the break from straight walking. Not having my backpack made it easier of course.
We passed the sign for Rob Roy’s cave – last time we were unable to find the cave itself, so I went down for a closer look. Again, I couldn’t see any cave! Just a big pile of rocks.
“we passed feral goats, deer, and a big fat toad”
There was loads of wildlife on this section of the walk – we hadn’t really saw much up until this point, but we passed feral goats, deer, and a big fat toad who was sitting right in front of us on the path!
One of my favourite parts of the whole Way is coming over the top of the hill and looking down over Doune Bothy – it’s such a spectacular view. We popped our heads in the door of the bothy, and found a couple who had already set up camp for the evening – I think we interrupted them skinning up a joint. We sat and chatted to them for 10 minutes, and they seemed nice enough, even though between them they probably had only 5 teeth! They were camping there for a couple of days, and had got the bus to Inverarnan from Glasgow that morning. The woman said that some of the views around here were “phemonemal” (not a spelling mistake, she did pronounce it that way!)
We left them to it, and carried on. There was a steep climb just after Doune bothy, but it wasn’t really too bad, and from the top there was an amazing view all the way back down Loch Lomond, so we could see how far we’d come.
“I figured out that the sign was just a ploy”
We passed a sign not long after that saying that it was only 2 miles to the Beinglas campsite at Inverarnan, but it felt like much longer than that. We were really tired by this point and thought as we rounded each corner that the campsite would be there, but the path seemed never ending.
I figured out that the sign was just a ploy to get walkers to continue on to Inverarnan, rather than get the ferry over to Tarbet at the other side of the loch. We arrived eventually though and congratulated ourselves with a hard-earned beer.
Even though we had planned to wild camp most nights, I had already suggested previously that we stay at the Beinglas campsite that evening. The facilities are excellent, plus the famous Drovers Inn is just up the road. I was certainly glad to get a shower, as I was a bit tired and sweaty looking after the day’s walk!
Just as I was getting undressed to go in the shower, I noticed a tick on my stomach. Luckily it hadn’t started feeding on me yet, so I was able to remove it quite easily. I showered and changed, then we headed up to the Drovers for a meal. We spotted the German couple again, who were staying there that night.
We headed back to the bar at Beinglas for a few drinks, and were glad to see that there was a singer just setting up his equipment. Got talking to a young couple that we’d seen earlier at Inversnaid, and they said they were thinking about giving up on the walk, which was a bit of a shame.
Made friends with a guy in the bar called Dennis, who originally came from Falkirk where we live, but now lives in Denmark. He was just back home visiting family and decided to go for a cycle around Scotland before heading back to Denmark. He was asking us about things that had changed in Scotland in the past 30 years and was surprised when Andy told him you weren’t able to drink alcohol at football games anymore (and haven’t been since the early 80s!)
We really enjoyed ourselves that evening and had a good few beers, however we still ended up in bed reasonably early, and the party continued long after we retired to our tent!