I awoke at 6 am and was excited to get walking today. By midday I would be half finished the West Highland Way, so the feeling of accomplishment was almost something I could taste. The trail today was mostly stones and mud as it snaked through a lot of farmland, recreational caravan parks, and some very intriguing points of interest concerning old highland battles. So lots to keep my interest. I really have to hand it to whomever is responsible for the upkeep of the WHW, and maintaining it as an almost living museum of sorts.
The sun was blazing again today, and not one to complain about having such a nice day in which to walk amidst such breathtaking surroundings, but it became rather oppressively hot as the day wore on. A word of advice for anyone doing this walk in the summer: “Factor 50”.
I’d heard of a hill somewhere along the Highland Way that climbed so high and steep you’d think it was never going to end…well, I found it, and it truly lived up to it’s reputation. Every single corner was another ramp upwards, one after another, after another. Ok, yes, the views were excellent, but what goes up, must come down, and then back up again…it would appear.
By the end of the day I felt I would never reach Inverarnan. For some reason everytime I expected it to be just around the corner, it eluded me time and time again. I soon began daydreaming of pints of cold Guinness. I had already run out of water and I started feeling like the guy in the dessert, crawling on his hands and knees with thirst, who sees an oasis before him. And then it appeared, the campsite just outside of town had an outside bar with a big neon Guinness sign out front. I think I may have just thrown my bag to the ground along with my walking sticks and limped up to the bar.
By my second, or was it the third, pint I started chatting with those around me who were also doing the walk, but of course, the oppsite way. I met my first farrier (and probably the last) named Gareth, and his friends, who were all very helpful with tips about my walking day ahead…and it didn’t bode well.
After 4 pints I felt as if I could walk further (with a mild wobble) to get a head start on tomorrow’s trek and soon found my camping site amongst some shoreside ruins overlooking the head of Loch Lamond.