Day 58: 20 May 2014; Milngavie to Milarrochy

Day 58: 20 May 2014; Milngavie to Milarrochy
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 58
Date Tue 20 May 2014 Start to end time 08h 04m
Start point Milngavie End point Milarrochy
Miles today 22.11 Cu miles 1,085.61
Ft today 2,883 Cu ft 143,185
Route miles left 408.90 Route ft left 56,928
Today’s weather Hazy sunshine all day. No rain. Cool Easterly wind. About 15C
IMG_1064 IMG_1063
Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“I constructed my “LEJOG” hike route by joining together as many recognised long distance paths as I could. I did this because it saved me working out routes from scratch and also because these long distance paths tend to be better way marked and maintained than “regular” rights of way and footpaths. In total I think about three-quarters of the route uses these long distance paths.

So today I left one long distance path behind – the Kelvin Walkway – and joined another one – the West Highland Way. The “WHW” is a bit different from the others I’ve walked, for two main reasons. The first is that it is one of the most popular walks in Britain, so it’s extremely well signposted and it’s nearly impossible to get lost. The second is that I’d already walked the WHW in the recent past – almost exactly 4 years ago, in fact. So the route is familiar to me and I knew pretty much what to expect.

With this prior experience, I knew that today would be a fairly hard day. I’d allowed myself a night in a B&B in Milngavie, at the start of the WHW, and got up early so I could be walking by 7 am. Even at this early hour, when I got to the start of the Way in Milngavie town centre, there was already a queue of people waiting to have their photos taken by the obelisk that marks the start of the route.

So once I’d made the obligatory photo-call, I set off and headed down low road to Loch Lomond. I hadn’t meant to rush this section, as I knew it was well over 20 miles and with a tough hill thrown in for good measure. But I soon joined another couple of walkers who were heading for a campsite even further up the loch than I was, so I fell into step with them and made good time. We shared the route for a good few miles in the late morning, and I enjoyed having someone to talk to as I walked. The miles seemed to pass very quickly and before I knew it I was at Conich Hill – a smart little hill that overlooks Loch Lomond and offers good views down the whole length of the loch from near the top.

At this point the last time I’d walked the WHW, my boots had most inconveniently disintegrated but this time I’d taken the precaution of changing my boots in Glasgow (I’m now on my third pair) so suffered no such mishaps this time. After the descent from Conich to the shores of Loch Lomond, I found a small shop and café at Balmaha where I managed to get a cup of tea and something to eat. Then it was a pleasant couple of miles walk along the shores of the loch to Milarrochy where I am camping tonight.

All in all, I really enjoyed the walk today – having someone to talk to for part of the route lightened my spirits and helped pass the time, and the scenery was uplifting. All in all I found it a lot less difficult than last time – and it made me feel a lot more confident about some of the sections of my route I’m planning North of Fort William, as some of them are likely to involve walks of similar distance – or even longer – today. Perhaps walking 1,100 miles has had some training effect after all!”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
IMG_0646 IMG_0656
At the start of the West Highland Way in Milngavie. It runs for about 90 miles North to Fort William. Even at 7 am there was a queue of people witing to start! Memorial to the Craigallan Fire, which was burned in 1930, during the Depression, as a rallying point for local people and helped bring about a wider appreciation of the value of the Scottish mountains
IMG_0662 IMG_0666
Early morning haze over the mountains near Loch Lomond. Feels like the hike is beginning to enter the “proper” highlands now This is tempting but too easy! The walk is so popular that all sorts of infrastructure has sprung up to serve the needs of the many people hiking it
IMG_0672 IMG_0674
Looking over to Conich Hill (to the right) – the first proper ascent on the WHW. Strictly the route needn’t go up it at all, but it gives great views from the top On the WHW this lunchtime. The route is very well signposted – hard to get lost
Panorama from Conich Hill over Loch Lomond – the largest loch in Scotland and the second largest freshwater body in the UK (only Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland is bigger)
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
Solid line blue
<- Forward to next day
<- Return to overview page ->
Back to previous day ->