We left the Inversnaid Bunkhouse after a good breakfast feeling a little nervous about re-joining the West Highland Way after our chastening experience at the end of Day 9. And for a short while we were justified as we started out climbing up and down rocks that littered the pathway. At least this time they were dry.
A short while into our walk we came across a brand new shed like structure with a sign announcing the Cherry Tree Café. So, like all good walkers, we decided to stop for a cup of tea and a chat.The café had been built by Craig with wood sourced from further up the loch that he had brought down by boat. Craig was burning joss sticks to keep the midges down and was selling snacks (cookies and Scottish tablet) made by his wife Laina some of which he kindly donated to the Walk after we told him our story. This really was an oasis on a path where refreshments are hard to come by
At certain points along the West Highland Way walkers have a choice between taking the high path (road) and the low path (road). Based on our experiences yesterday we decided to remove any chance of spending time clambering over rocks and chose the high path. Instead we enjoyed a long climb up through wooded hills with wonderful views of the loch which stretches for 22.6 miles. One of the curious outcomes of walking North to South is that we were the only walkers heading South. Everyone else we met today was heading North which meant we again had plenty of people to talk to.
We stopped for a late lunch after 12 miles on a beach. As the largest body of freshwater in the UK it felt strange sitting on a log on a shingle beach, waves lapping an gulls flapping but not having that distinctive whiff of salt in the air. We also passed sailing clubs and moorings but still the feeling persisted: aren’t we by the sea?
Loch Lomond is a beautiful body of water. As we moved further south she lifted her skirts and revealed islands and inlets and bays and beaches.Unspoilt, largely litter free and, from a walker’s perspective, very well resourced. We passed two car parks with toilet facilities: one was the Scottish Memorial Centre remembering the Scots who fell in WW2; the other just a well-maintained toilet with no obvious reason why it was there. Given our moving average for toilets on the trail is below zero this was welcomed by most of our party!
We ended the day waving goodbye to Eric, the Architect, who was returning to London, before embarking on a brisk 3.5 mile walk into Drymen. Near the start of this last stage we passed the curious sight of a landowner cutting his (very large) front lawn on a tractor pulling a mower. The lawn was adorned with a number of golfing greens and as we walked by the gentleman jumped off his tractor, wedge in hand, and proceeded to chip golf balls towards pins. We waited for a chat and were rewarded with this invaluable tip for the rest of our journey: “Don’t talk to strangers!”
Today miles 19.8
Walker miles 77
Total Walker miles 1336