So I felt great on Day 2 – so great that before I went to sleep I was looking at extra bits of walking I could do around Inversnaid, thinking that since today was only 10 miles I might get there by around 2.30.
I woke up feeling completely lacking in energy for no apparent reason, and Day 3 proved to be extremely tough going! What I have discovered when you walk long distances is that every day is full of emotional and physical ups and downs. Sometimes the walking feels easy; you feel great and full of energy, and it seems like you could walk forever. But it never lasts! At some point it changes and you feel low, tired, your feet hurt and you wonder how you will keep going. But hey! Those times never last either! It’s just an endless cycle of good bits and bad bits. And I don’t even like to label them good or bad really (another mindfulness lesson) – they just are what they are. And what I learned on the West Highland Way was that you need to cherish and enjoy the parts where you feel great, while not trying to cling on to them, and understanding that they will pass. And you need to relax and accept the parts where everything hurts, not waste energy wishing you felt better, but taking comfort in knowing that you won’t feel like this forever and at some point you will feel great again. IT’S LIKE A METAPHOR FOR LIFE.
Anyway. Enough waffling! Day 3 started out with a walk through woods alongside Loch Lomond – it sounded easy but the path was surprisingly tiring as it was all ups and downs. Having felt so full of beans the day before I rather stupidly ignored my body which was telling me IT WAS TIRED! I should have listened and conserved my energy, but instead I added on an extra couple of miles to go off the path in search of Wester Sallochy – an old abandoned village described as one of the spookiest places in Scotland which I fancied having a look at. It didn’t disappoint – I don’t believe in ghosts or any of that stuff but it certainly had an eerie atmosphere. I thought I wasn’t that spooked until, as I was walking away, a bee buzzed past me noisily and the sound made me jump about 10 foot in the air. I may have also squealed 🙂
Once again the path spent a lot of time on the shores of Loch Lomond and once again I was fascinated by the amazingly resilient trees – how was this one still alive?!
After 3 undulating, tiring miles (plus the extra bit!) I was struggling a bit and wishing I hadn’t added the extra walking on! However Rowardennan loomed and I got a wee burst of energy as these amazing views opened up.
A couple of oystercatchers were sitting on the rock admiring the view
I went for a look at the Rowardennan War Memorial which was lovely. It felt like a good spot for scattering ashes, so that’s where today’s wee bit of Eddie & Neo went.
After leaving Rowardennan the trail passed by the route up Ben Lomond which looked appealing but I was not daft enough to attempt to add that on as a detour! It’s on the list of places I’d like to come back and walk another time though. Then it left the loch side to climb higher among the trees. For the next few miles I was feeling pretty tired – I think the first two days of walking had caught up with me! I pushed on to the 6 mile point where there was a handy bench where you could see through the trees for a nice view over the loch.
I collapsed gratefully onto the bench, scoffed my lunch, aired my feet and rubbed them with Deep Freeze gel (a top tip I got from the lovely people at TrekSnappy). Eventually I decided I had better push on for the last 4 miles and pulled on my socks (there is nothing, nothing that beats the feeling of pulling on a fresh, clean, dry pair of socks halfway through a day of walking! Seriously – you could have offered me £500 for my clean socks and I would not have taken it!). But before I could depart I heard a familiar voice and saw Dave approaching – he had caught me up! It was lovely to see him – even though we’d only been apart for a couple of days it felt like more 🙂 So we had a sit down and a catch up and decided to walk the 4 miles to Inversnaid together. Dave was struggling a bit with sore feet as he was carrying such a big heavy pack so we decided we would see if I could get my room at Inversnaid upgraded to a double and stay together.
As we set off I noticed the plaque on the bench we’d been sitting on which in my over-emotional state brought a tear to my eye – what a lovely way to be remembered. “Some one like you only happens once in a lifetime. Thanks for happening in ours” ❤
As we continued to head north along the loch we could see the distinctive outline of The Cobbler on the western side. Another one going on the “must climb” list!
Soon the forest road came to an end and we were back down on the shores of the loch. More gorgeous beaches!
We came across come some of the feral goats that live around Loch Lomond. I love goats and it’s lovely to see them, but it’s also a sad reminder of a brutal part of Scottish history; the goats are descendants of livestock abandoned, through necessity, during the Highland Clearances.
There were loads of beautiful waterfalls along this stretch of the trail.
We were both finding it tough that afternoon – the path was very rough underfoot which made it slow going. Far from rolling into Inversnaid in the early afternoon with plenty of energy to go off and do extra walking (WHAT WAS I THINKING) we staggered in at 5 exhausted, sweaty and bedraggled. I’m not sure what the hotel staff made of me, having booked a single room when I rolled up with Dave asking to upgrade to a double – I did tell them he was my husband, not some random stranger I’d picked up along the way, but I’m not sure they believed us!
After two nights alone it was nice to snuggle up with my husband in a cosy bed – not that either of us had the energy for anything other than cuddling! After a shower and some food I think we were both sound asleep by 8 pm – rock & roll! 🙂
Click here for the Day 4 blog.