West Highland Way Day 3

A whole week ago now my friend and I were joined by another keen soul and enjoyed a splendid day on the West Highland Way. As we are walking this long distance footpath in stages day 3 was undertaken as a day trip - luckily its close enough to home for easy transport either end. The final four days of the walk to Fort William are planned for September when we are hoping for fine weather! Unfortunately we in the west of Scotland have had a wet May and June but last Monday's walk up the east side of Loch Lomond was blessed with warmth and a dry day. As we set off from Rowardennan the views were typically wonderful of the Loch and the hills, such a great vista. Familiar territory but changing views and different perspectives gave me such a great feeling.

After a short distance the path climbs up the lower slopes of Ben Lomond and as you gain a bit of height the views through the trees are inspiring; the photo above is of The Cobbler, an iconic hill in Argyll. Properly known as Ben Arthur it is just under the magic 3000ft altitude to qualify as a munro.

The path is not difficult in terms of navigation but day 3 of the way is regarded as the most tricky in terms of terrain. From broad forest tracks the route narrows down and becomes quite rocky in places, always needing to adjust your stride, and being sure to place your foot well. Just a few days beforehand the West Highland Way race runners took this path, setting off from Milngavie in the wee small hours. The fastest runner completed the Way in 16 hours 24mins. Aside from that being an amazing feat of physical endurance and fitness I'm amazed the pace could be maintained on the rough, rocky path north of Inversnaid.

Kath and Karen

As it was such a good day we had lunch on the shore, the water was clear and gently washed onto the stones, in all honesty I could have stayed there all afternoon, life seemed very easy and tranquil.

As we walked further north the narrow lochside path amongst the trees leaves the base of the Ben and moved into broader areas as we approach the top of the Loch, it is relatively narrow at this point and again this enhances the change in the landscape as you move towards the Highlands proper. We met people of many nationalities on the Way, one American couple on their first trip to Scotland had come over specifically to do this walk. With the variety of scenery and terrain the West Highland Way offers it's easy to see the attraction.

Just before leaving the edge of Loch Lomond there's a great viewpoint looking south, we spent time admiring it and then turned away to finish the walk and the day in the traditional manner with a celebratory drink in the pub.

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