WHW: Killearn to Balmaha

As I only decided to walk the West Highland Way two weeks ago, I enlisted the help of Patrick.  His draft itinerary suggested stopping in Drymen at the end of Day 1, Rowardennan at the end of Day 2, and Inverarnan at the end of Day 3, stages of 12, 14 and 14 miles respectively.

Unfortunately, it’s still fairly busy time of year, so Drymen became Killearn and Rowardennan became Balmaha.  What that’s meant is two very relaxed days to start with… and a whopping 21 miles on the books for tomorrow.

Today’s section was slightly more undulating than yesterday’s with several ups which I chose to walk rather than run.  Underfoot was largely unremarkable, though the final few miles into Balmaha reminded me of a Lake District walk I did with my husband last year – large stones forming steps and some slightly rocky terrain.

Early on, the views were spectacular…

… I imagine.  The mist may have obscured the far views, but the upside was the chance to really appreciate the near ones, including about a mile of plants festooned with spiders’ webs.

They were everywhere. Every plant was covered from root to tip.  The dewy webs shimmered in the morning light and I tried very hard not to let my imagination run riot.  “What would happen”, I wondered, “if you brushed against a bush?”  Visions of spiders swarming out of their webs towards the intruder flitted through my mind. Fortunately they were banished by the rather more prosaic sight of some walkers heading off into the bushes to relieve themselves, and shortly after that, I started passing a number of walkers I’d seen yesterday (and will no doubt see again tomorrow).

By the time I reached Conic Hill “The ascent … gives walkers the first real taste of Highland country. The path does not cross the summit, but contours round the north side. On clear days it is worth scrambling the last few feet to enjoy the magnificent views.” 

… the mist had begun to lift, so I opted for the scramble.  I was rewarded with a cairn …

… and a view of Loch Lomond in the mist…

From there, steps and rocky path led down to the extremely picturesque Balmaha Car Park, and more importantly to its Coffee Shop and Ice Cream Parlour. 

It’s very important to recover – I’ve a long day ahead of me tomorrow!

About abradypus

A Bradypus or Sloth am I, I live a life of ease, contented not to do or die but idle as I please; ... [Michael Flanders and Donald Swann]
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3 Responses to WHW: Killearn to Balmaha

  1. IAmKat says:

    Sounds like you are having a lovely time! Make sure you eat plenty of recovery ice cream

  2. totkat says:

    Yes! The spider webs! I got that on the Thames Path and had similar crazy thoughts about a billion tiny spiders. So pretty though.

    What flavour ice-cream?

    • abradypus says:

      In the absence of rum and raisin, I abstained, and went for the 5C*s soup. It was nice to have the option though.

      Please don’t ask what the 5Cs were. Carrot, coriander, celeriac, cow parsley and catnip? It was tasty, whatever the ingredients.

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