He knows no fear!

Scotland long distance walks: West Highland Way – part 2

Today I was going to walk from Drymen to Rowardennan on the east coast of Loch Lomond. This stage was to be 25 kms (15 miles).

I spent the night camping in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park was first designated as a Forest Park by the Forestry Commission in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

The clearing in the forest where I spent the night.

The clearing in the forest where I spent the night.

I watch the sunrise.

I watch the sunrise over the trees.

I watch the sunrise over the trees.

The forest is a conifer plantation and is currently undergoing harvesting.

This forest is currently undergoing harvesting.

This forest is currently undergoing harvesting.

The park is managed by the Forestry Commission.

Stack of harvest logs.

Stack of harvest logs.

After walking a mile or two through the forest tracks, I stopped in a clearing for breakfast. From the clearing I could see Conic Hill in the distance.

Me at my breakfast view point.

Me at my breakfast view point.

After breakfast, I return back to the track heading towards Conic Hill.

The signpost marking the way.

The signpost marking the way.

Through a clearing I see my first view of Loch Lomond.

My first view of Loch Lomond.

My first view of Loch Lomond.

The path goes along the edge of two fields before crossing the Burn of Mar and emerging onto open moorland heading up the ridge to the summit

The path up to Conic Hill.

The path up to Conic Hill.

It was a steep climb to the ridge line.

The steps up to Conic Hill ridge.

The steps up to Conic Hill ridge.

The Way follows a natural ledge just below the summit. The Way does not go to Conic Hill summit but to reach the summit, take the obvious path to the left of the Way path for the short, steep climb to the top.

The Way follows the ridge line.

The Way follows the ridge line.

Looking towards Loch Lomond, I could see the line of islands following the Highland boundary fault across Loch Lomond.

It was windy up here.

It was windy up here.

I then begin the decent towards Loch Lomond.

The steps going downwards.

The steps going downwards.

The forest path leads to the car park at Balmaha.

Balmaha is a hamlet on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond.

The harbour and boat yard on Loch Lomond at Balmaha.

The harbour and boat yard on Loch Lomond at Balmaha.

Balmaha is a popular tourist destination for day trippers from Glasgow as well a trekkers on the West Highland Way.

Balmaha is a popular tourist destination.

Balmaha is a popular tourist destination.

Boat trips leave from Balmaha for the villages of Balloch and Luss as well as nearby Inchcailloch Island.

The harbour had many boats.

The harbour had many boats.

I stopped here for a coffee.

I stopped here for a coffee.

I stopped here for a coffee.

The view across Loch Lomond was great.

Looking across to Inchcailloch Island.

Looking across to Inchcailloch Island.

I set off on my walk again following the path to the top of a hill, known as Craigie Fort.

Looking back onto Balmaha.

Looking back onto Balmaha.

The path then follows the east shore of Loch Lomond towards Arrochymore Point and then ontowards Milarrochy Bay, a popular picnic and boat launching spot.

The path follows the shore.

The path follows the shore.

It was a sunny day when I trekking here despite being October. I could be happy wearing my shorts.

It was quiet at this time of the year.

It was quiet at this time of the year.

I found a caterpillar on my boots.

This little creepy was on my boots.

This little creepy was on my boots.

The Way continues along the shore between and up a steep stony path into Ross Wood.

The path took me into woods again.

The path took me into woods again.

The mushrooms in this wood were very colourful….

The mushrooms here were colourful.

The mushrooms here were colourful.

….and very big!

This mushroom was huge!

This mushroom was huge!

This mushroom was about 20-25 cms across.

Comparing the size of the mushroom with my foot.

Comparing the size of the mushroom with my foot.

The Way continues along the shoreline to meet the road just south of Rowardennan.

The jetty at Rowardennan.

The jetty at Rowardennan.

Rowardennan is also the start point for the ascent of Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most climbed mountain. At 974 metres (3195 feet), it is the most southerly Munro (a name given to mountains over 3000 feet, approximately 914m).

That night I set camp in the woods. As I did so – five Red Deers crept near my campsite.

These Red Deers were close to my campsite.

These Red Deers were close to my campsite.

I was knackered after two days of hard trekking but the worst was yet to come.

To be continued….

For more information on the West Highlands Way please visit:

www.west-highland-way.co.uk

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