Drymen to Rowardennan – 15 miles
At breakfast we met the rest of the guests, to find they were a mixture of French, German, English & Scottish. The food was plentiful & good, we gathered our packed lunches as there was nowhere to purchase anything on route. Our hosts advised us of an alternative way to restart the WHW trail and after checking the map we were off. As we were leaving Drymen we saw the Costas outside their accommodation; they appeared to be waiting for the rest to gather. We acknowledged each other and were off to find the trail. We went past the local mountain rescue centre leading out of Drymen uphill and as we walked the views of the surrounding hills were most impressive. After about an hour we found the sign post to indicate the trail. We were now entering the Garadhban Forest with its large conifers and pine trees. As we got further into the forest we suddenly came to a large clearing where the trees had been felled.
The path was a good wide track with some loose gravel, but with a feeling of devastation seeing so many trees cropped – I assume for processing. The only positive thing about it was that we had good views all round; in the distance we could just make out a little of Loch Lomond. The winding path was gradually becoming more of an incline and as we reached the river, “Burn of Mar”, we now had a choice – go left to Balmaha, avoiding a climb up Conic Hill, or just go for it and walk up the Hill at 1175 feet above sea level. Guess what? We went for it and walked up Conic Hill. At this point it started to rain, but fortunately it turned out to be just a shower. I made slow but steady progress whereas Steve was off like a gazelle,
then waited for me to catch up.
The path skirts around the summit so we took a detour and climbed to the top
where we had a fantastic view of Loch Lomond.
After taking pictures we saw a group of four ladies trying to take each other’s photo so Steve offered to help them by taking a group photo.
We later found that they were walking the WHW and they came from Carlisle.
Making our descent we passed a French family taking photos of their child and Steve, now improving international relations, spoke in French to them (Bonjour).
The way down was quite steep in places with a lot of purpose made steps.
At the bottom we arrived at the Loch Lomond Visitors Centre where we had our lunch and had a chance to take off our boots to give our feet an airing. Whilst having lunch the Costas came past, giving us their friendly wave again, soon to be followed by the ladies from Carlisle.
With lunch over and boots on it was time to find the trail. We walked to the Loch beach only to find we had to go uphill again
into a wooded area passing Craigie Fort, Arrochymore Point and Cashel Campsite. We were now walking with Loch Lomond on one side and the road on the other, before entering Ross Wood. Here the path was well covered by trees & ferns and the hedgerows
were tall and muddy in places. Whilst in Ross Wood we met up with a young couple from Israel who were only walking to Rowendennan Hotel before heading back to London the next day, then returning home. It wasn’t long before we arrived at the Rowendennan Hotel
and after booking in, freshening up and a change of clothes it was time for our customary warm down stroll which today was to the edge of Loch Lomond
where we had spectacular views of the loch and Ben Lomond standing at 3,195ft
alongside Ptarmigan at 2,398ft just behind the hotel. After reporting our progress to base control (home) it was time for dinner, so back for a meal and our planned rehydration programme at the hotel where we saw the Costas having a pre-dinner drink. Later the Carlisle ladies also arrived and after our meal it was time to rest, ready for tomorrow