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West Highland Way

Information Introduction Postscript
Days 1-4 9-12

Day 5. Inversnaid to Inverarnan - 6 miles

More rugged walking along the loch. I have read there are ferral goats along this stretch of the path. I tell Charl to be as quiet as possible in case we come across some. This turns into somewhat of a joke as every time we turn a corner, negotiate a boulder or tree stump, Charlie says "shhhh goats". He is walking in front (no room for two abreast here) and when he turns and says "shhhh goats", of course, I don't believe a word of it - but there they are, as large as life. The "shhhhh" was completely unnecessary as they couldn't care a toss about us and will not even budge from the path unless you very nigh step on them.

The path leaves the lochside and becomes easier. Time for a brew. Unfortunately, the drizzle turns to steady rain.

We say goodbye to Loch Lomond and after a short steep pull, the path contours the hill. The rain is now heavy as we descend into Glen Falloch.

We arrive at Beinglas Farm, our destination for the day, dry out and enjoy our soup in the cookhouse. We arrive just in time. The heavy rain turns to an absolute deluge and the noise is deafening on the corrugated roof of the cookhouse. We watch many "drowned rats" arrive throughout the afternoon.

The rain continues through the night.

Day 6. Inverarnan

All things considered, mainly the rain which is still bucketing it down this morning, we decide to stay here for the day and visit the Drovers Inn for lunch. The Inn is very "quaint" with stuffed birds, deer heads, wild goat heads and a stuffed eagle on the bar. It is decorated with old oil paintings and photos and draped with old clansman clothing, shields and swords. We find the bar staff are all dressed in kilts and the food is superb. We have a "Drover's lunch" which is a ploughman's but with about a pound of cheese each! Also, while we are in the pub, the sun returns. On leaving, we find a kilted member of staff explaining heatedly to a party of Japanese tourists that, "no, they cannot sit in the pub garden and have their packed lunches!" waterfall

As the weather has improved so much, we decide to visit a waterfall we can see from the Bienglas Farm campsite.Beinglas Farm

The climb is steep and no mean feat after a couple of pints! It is very hot so we hide our fleeces under the bracken and continue to the top. The noise of the water is deafening.

We make our unsteady descent, locating our fleeces on the way, and to our surprise have our second sighting of wild mountain goats.

They are not at all camera shy and indeed this one posed for us.

Back on level ground again, we spend most of the evening in the cookhouse. Although it is no more than an open sided barn, it is very well equiped with many chairs and tables not to mention the dryers, electric lighting and telephone.

Day 7. Inverarnan to Tyndrum - 12 miles

The weather is dreary this morning but the scenery more than compensates with many waterfalls. River Fillan millitary road

We soon meet and 18C millitary road which climbs steadily out of the valley.

We cross the River Fillan. It is warm and drizzly. I have trouble with steamy and spotty glasses.

We reach the ruins of St.Fillan's Priory. This is a very enigmatic spot. Seats in the way of tree stumps have been thoughtfully provided outside the ruins. Time for a banana break in the first sunshine of the day. The cemetary, which is outside the ruins, is quite eerie and on a large mound. Rumour has it the abbots from the medieval priory are buried here. It is still kept neat and maintained by the village, which as far as we can see, consists of a couple of farmhouses and a barn.

from the ruinspriory ruinscemetary

Only a few more miles to the campsite just outside Tyndrum.

Day 8. Tyndrum to Inveroran - 9 miles

millitary road We pick up fresh supplies in Tyndrum. We have three days ahead of us without a shop so our packs are pretty heavy. Beinn Odhar

The early morning cloud disperses and once more its back on the old military road. We have a late breakfast of huge, delicious Belgian buns from the shop in Tyndrum, sitting on a wall above the river with Beinn Odhar looming in front of us.

Fort William train The old military road, the modern trunk road, the railway and the river all squeeze through the same gap in the valley. As we near Bridge of Orchy, we cross the railway. The train to Fort William passes under us - it would be quicker!

We arrive at Bridge of Orchy, built around 1750, at 1.30 pm and have lunch by the river. Scottish Pie and chicken mayo roll. The shop in Tyndrum was so well stocked, we went a little overboard with the food. Bridge of Orchy

We lay by the river and sunbathe. south from bridge The guide book states the path up Mam Carraigh is a "good uphill slog." The sun is blazing down and it is hot work but it only takes us 45mins. The guide book exagerates.

north from bridge
Loch TullaView from Mam Carraigh

Mam Carraigh is only just over 1,000 feet high but the views are stunning. We sit for a while and admire Loch Tulla. We meet two frenchmen on the summit. They are covered in very red and very sore looking midge bites. With bits of bad English from them and bits of very bad French from me, combined with various hand movements and mimes, we manage to have a conversation, mainly about the horrors of midges. I lend them my bite cream and they cadge a cigarette each. As we are leaving the top, someone offers to take our photograph together and in return, I take a photo of them.

The descent only takes 15mins so we are soon outside the Inveroran Hotel. We have a pint in the sunshine and put up the tent a little further on by the river. It is a beautiful evening, and we return to the hotel for a wee dram.

Looking down on Inveroran

We are told that the midges were so bad yesterday that the sky was black with them. How fortunate we had a day off at Inverarnan so are here a day later. There's no sign of a midge today.