Thursday, 5 July 2007

Rowardennan to Kingshouse Hotel

Day One - Rowardennan to Inverarnan

Well, after a very early (5.30am) start in Tadworth me and my dad were very soon meeting Carol and Jane at Glasgow airport. A nice man from Wickes had offered to collect us all from the airport and deposit us at Rowardennan the start of our days walking. The weather was good for walking - no rain and not too hot - so off we set on our 12 mile walk (Carol said this was a short day...?!) to Inverarnan.

The walking today was quite flat and uneventful - "I can handle this for three days easily!!" I thought - giving us all plenty of time to take in the lovely surrounds of Loch Lomond: I loved the beautiful little waterfalls that ran through the forest alongside the path, spotting birds of prey, checking out the bothies (wandering if I could ever persuade Jelena to stay in one!!), and greatly enjoying being out of London for a few days. The trail had a few ups and downs, a bit of scrambling through the trees, but mostly involved following a nice path alongside the loch.

Jane and Carol had made us all lovely packed lunches (the sausage sarnies were absolutely scrumptious!) so we stopped at a hotel and ate our sandwiches looking back over Loch Lomond. And then we headed on past Rob Roy's house - which was no more than a shelter under some large rocks - towards the end of Loch Lomond by Ardlui.
Now we had a choice - we were planning on catching the 5.40 bus back to Glasgow so we could either catch the ferry across to Ardlui and wait, or try and complete the final two miles to Inverarnan in just over an hour. Undaunted by the large hill on the map we opted to complete the final two miles. Carol got into her stride and was off! I just about managed to keep up, with Jane and dad bringing up the rear, and we reached Inverarnan in what we thought was good time. We came out into a farm and Carol decided to buy some ice creams for the walk down to the bus stop. All very well we thought until we saw the bus go hurtling past as we walked over the bridge to the road!! Oh well, now we'd have to stop for a pint in The Drover pub!

And I should mention at this point that before we'd set off from London dad had told me to make sure I only packed a small bag because I'd have to carry it on the first day. Well, I turned up to the house in Tadworth and found out dad had packed a huge bag!! The first thing I thought was, "I bet I end up carrying that!"...I did.

Day Two - Inverarnan to Tyndrum

This was the last day that we were staying in Glasgow so before we'd even set off I did 2 miles with the hoover around the flat, helping to tidy up!! There's certainly more to this walking mallarky that you think!!

After saying goodbye to Jane in Glasgow we got on the bus and headed out to Inverarnan, our starting point for the day. Before this day was through I was going to get a very nasty introduction to the more savage side of walking in Scotland - the midges!

Yesterday was supposed to be the hardest of the three days we had walking with Carol so we were looking forward to having a nice chat while sauntering along and clocking up the miles. And this we did covering everything from vegetable deliveries to politics! A few of the hills were bigger than yesterday and the weather had taken a slight turn for the worse but we were getting further and further into the beautiful Scottish countryside (I actually think it looks better with big moody clouds around!) and everone was in good spirits. So much so that we even managed to persuade Carol to stay in a Scottish Wigwam!

Don't for a minute think that it's anywhere near as exciting and romantic as this picture might suggest. The fresh air had definitely got to us! To add to the situation, at 5am Carol decided to open the window because she was too hot - cue midge hell!! I counted over 50 bites up and down my arms and legs when I got home and I still look like I've got measles now! I also managed to attract the attentions of a tick which I'm sure was from the bl**dy wigwams!!

Day Three - Tyndrum to Kingshouse Hotel

After a hearty breakfast in the motorway service station that calls itself Tyndrum we set off on our biggest walk - 22 miles. From the map, we worked out that it should be a flat 10 mile walk to Bridge of Orchy, 2 miles over a small hill to Inverornan and then another flat 10 mile walk over the wilderness of Rannoch Moor. The first part of the walk to Bridge of Orchy was simple enough, apart from the weather. And then we got to the hills. First up and over a 500ft hill (with stunning views) and then on to Rannoch Moor and the steady climb up and up for about 8miles!! Rannoch Moor is absolutely beautiful and desolate - exactly what you imagine Scotland to be. But the legs were starting to get weary now and we were all pleased when we got to the brow of the hill and saw the Kingshouse Hotel (still some way) in the distance. Rannoch Moor is famous for the battles that have taken place there but I wouldn't fancy trudging off to fight in a wet kilt!
That night we stayed at the Kingshouse Hotel and drank into the night with a lovely group of people we met in the bar. It was the perfect end to three great days!
KBO Carol!!

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