Friday, 9 June 2017

West Highland Way - day 5

Thursday 8 June - Day 5 - Inversnaid to Inverarnan

We woke up to a drizzly morning. Unfortunately the drizzle kept up all day.

After breakfast we finished repacking our bags and delivered the cases to the entrance to be collected and moved to our next abode.

Both Jen and I had opted not to wear wet weather pants over our hiking pants. It just made it a little easier to move.

The warm up today was walking down to the Inversnaid hotel where we picked up the West Highland Way again. I think I got to know that bit of road as I had come up it twice on the previous day. It was easier going down than up with its 10% gradient.

Almost from the start the track was rocky and uneven.

About a k from the hotel we reached a point where a slight diversion took the scambler to was has been dubbed "Rob Roy's Cave" which is not a cave at all but crevice under a pile of rocks. Rob Roy is the local equivalent to Ned Kelly. I didn't find it as the track was not at all obvious and I had had to do quite a bit of scrambling over rocks to get as far as I had.

I was in the right spot as a cruise ship on the loch was blaring out a commentary and indicating that that was where "Rob Roy's Cave" was. I hope the passengers had better luck finding it that I did.

Just after the Rob Roy failure we came across oak leaf seats and acorns.

Needlesstosay we did not avail ourselves of the seats as they were all rather wet.

The path clambered up and down along the loch shore gravel to boggy flats, through high bracken and oack woods, under crags and fallen trees. The constant was the difficult terrain, muddy and boggy track and scrambling up and down over rocks.

Jen performed very well and justly deserves a mountain goat badge (if I can find one!).

The going was very slow. Caution was the name of the game as the risk of slipping and, consequently getting hurt, was always there lurking for the unwary.

There were frequent crossing of waterways. Most were small and had rocks either side to maintain the channel which also acted as stpping stones. In other places we need to pick our way across shallow streams "rock hopping". More major water courses had actual bridges.

The side of the loch was often steep with a narrow track. Definitely not for the faint hearted.

In places huge slabs of rock were exposed. Some of the rock had been subjected to huge pressure as the waves in the lines on the exposed surface showed.

While we had views across the loch the top of the sides remained shrouded in mist.

We passed a number of small islands and some spots where there were reasonable beaches.

At one point we even had a section of flat grassland. That didn't last long!

It is possible to cross Loch Lomond by ferry. We decided to do so at Ardleish where is is possible to call a ferry from Ardlui by raising a signal (a bright orange ball). The ferry comes on the signal and transports passengers to the Ardlui side of the loch.

We boarded the ferry looking a little like half drowned rats. The ferry is quite small and can only transport a maximum of four passengers at a time. We were fine as there was only the two of us.

At Ardlui we made our way to the Ardlui Hotel where we had a leisurely lunch. There was no point hurrying as the ferryman was having a lunch break between 2:30 and 3:15.

At 3:15 we took the ferry back to the Ardleish side of the Loch and headed off towards our overnight stop: Beinglas Farm at Inverarnan.
View across Loch Lomond towards Ardlui

On this latter section there were some duckboards in marshy spots

There were a number of abandoned, tumbled down stone cottages near the track
Beinglas Farm in the camping ground and B&B. It also had a laundromat. Clean clothes again!

Inverarnan boasts a pub that has been in existance since 1705. It other claim to fame, apart from its age, if its collection of stuffed things. Once we had dealt with the washing Jen and I trotted off to check out the Drovers' Inn, the name of the pub. It was indeed full of stuffed creatures.

Drovers' Inn
The drizzle was still falling and walkers kept arriving at Beinglas Farm looking wet and tired. Some were camping. Good luck to them. Jen and I retired to our wam, comfortable room where we could ignore the weather until the morning.

Today we covered 11.2kms of the West Highland Way. We also did 1.25km getting from the bunkhouse to the start of the days walk and a further 1.2km on our visit to the Drovers' Inn.

Elevation gain for the day: supposedly 387m

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