Planned kilometres: 24 (cummulative 1302)
Kilometres walked: 27 (cummulative 1369)
% Completed: 75.2%
Weather: High Winds (Storm Hector) and rain
Pubs visited: Oak Tree Inn
Pints: 2 (cummulative 163)
Kms per pint: 8.4
Blisters: 0 (cummulative 4)
Drymen to Rowardennan
When I turned on the TV this morning the weather forecast was talking about a yellow alert that had been issued for Storm Hector. The Yellow alert covered all of Scotland and the prediction was winds of 50 to 60 mph with rain.
A look out of my hotel window confirmed that the winds were already here, however the rain was minimal. The silver lining of walking in the wind, meant that I wasn’t going to have to worry about midges today.
I had a late breakfast as they said that the winds would be worse early in the morning and should die down as the day went on, so I thought the later I start today the better. As I walked down the road to the start to the West Highland Way, there were lots of tree branches and leaves scattered all other the footpath.
The first part of todays walk was through a forestry track which offered significant protection from the wind and lulled me into a false sense of security. The forestry track also gave me my first view of Loch Lomond.
The route emerges onto an open moor and then a long climb up Conic Hill ridge and that’s when I felt the full force of the wind. It was hard going walking and trying to stay upright as I ascended the ridge as the wind & rain was hitting either side or front on. The only saving grace was that the wind was pushing towards the hill and not towards the slope.
At the top of Conic Hill, the view of Loch Lomond was great, however I only hung around to take a couple of quick photos before descending to get out of the wind.
At the village of Balmaha, I stopped at the Oak Tree Inn for lunch and a couple of pints. After this the walking track alternated between forestry and the foreshore of the loch. The sun even tried to come out a few times but was quickly chased away by wind and rain.
The path went past this cottage which used to be an old mill. I was happy to see a sign outside the cottage that said 2kms to my destination.
Tonight, I’m staying at the Rowardennan Lodge youth hostel which is on the banks of Loch Lomond and is over 200 years old and was previously a hunting lodge.
View from the front of the hostel
The rooms are very basic and mine is just like a cell with 2 single beds and not much else, but it sure would beat having to camp in this weather. I rearranged the furniture in the room by pushing the 2 single beds together to make a double bed and had to sleep opposite way around as headboard had a little shelf which I nutted myself on once and decided to not to repeat the experience.