It was a beautiful and atmospheric day to be hiking in the forest. The forest was spectacular and silent, with only the only sound being the burns gently cascading through the trees.
We however walked along singing Christmas songs such as Last Christmas by Wham. Not quite as atmospheric!
Today was a very short hiking day. We only walked 3.1 miles in total.
We had already decided to stop hiking once we had reached the banks of Loch Katrine. This is because the hike around Loch Katrine is 13 miles to reach Stronlochlochar without any exit or pick-up options.
For us, part of the adventure of walking all 29 of Scotland's Great Trails is adopting the hiking lifestyle. That involves knowing not just when to start, but when to stop. It's not like we're just doing one trail and then having the chance to collapse afterwards, we still have another 1870 miles left to go and we're home educating Eve as we go. There is a lot more to this than just walking.
We got dropped off at about 8.30am by Sarah back at the exit for the Three Lochs Forest Drive. Sarah then drove to Loch Katrine to wait for us to arrive.
We walked up a small track, leading away from the main road of Dukes Pass where we soon found ourselves back on a wide forest track.
We know from walking this trail before that there are splendid views, however, the low-lying fog was blanketing the whole area, minimising visibility.
We walked surprisingly quickly. Eve had a spring in her step that I think was helped by the rather unseasonably mild weather and the jam on toast she had eaten for breakfast. I can't eat sugar in the morning as it gives me a headache and I burn out within about an hour. An inevitable consequence of age it think!
One of the things we like about walking in weather like this is all the moisture that clings to every surface reflecting the light and making everything shine. On a day when the sky is grey, this can make it appear a lot brighter than it actually is.
The walk was again very well signposted. We didn't meet a single person until we reached Loch Katrine. I was relieved by this as I was very concerned about what they might think if they saw an 8-year-old girl, walking on a school day singing Christmas songs.
The highlight for today was crossing the bridge over Achray Water. Anybody who has looked at any of the literature produced by the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park would have seen this bridge. The waterfalls are spectacular and very accessible.
Arriving at Loch Katrine car park Eve started running towards Sarah. Sarah had seen us coming before we had seen her. Quite how she saw us and we failed to see a bright pink car I don't know!
We did walk a little further. A few hundred metres at best around Loch Katrine to finish at the new eco pods that have been recently installed. We haven't stayed at them, as they are phenomenally expensive (and we only live down the road).
Eve spent the afternoon with Sarah reading and building lego. I however spent most of my time on the laptop trying to sort out the website URL (website address). It was boring, really boring.
Tomorrow we will tackle Loch Katrine whilst Sarah is at work! "boo hiss"
It's an early night for all of us, so have a great evening and we will see you all in the morning (if I have any mobile phone signal)
Ian, Sarah & Eve