Our 6th day on the Rob Roy Way was long and hard but ended with a night in a beautiful pod… and we saw our first daffodil!!!
The route today would take us from Killin into the hills past Lochan Breaclaich into Ardeonaig and onto Ardtalnaig for the night.
This evening we are staying in a pod. We love pods! They’re small and cosy with limited facilities. Just the way we like it. This pod is spectacular and Eve is snuggled in bed loving every second of it! If you want to check them out have a look here https://loch-tay.net/
If anybody knows the area or has studied the local maps you will know that you can continue along the road out of Killin and end up exactly where we are with little effort. This section of the Rob Roy Way is basically a huge detour into the hills in a big semicircle. I have heard of hikers using this obvious shortcut, but being ‘purists’ we kept to the official Rob Roy Way. We are pleased we did.
We started this morning with a cooked breakfast. It was really nice to have a full belly before setting off especially with what today had in store for us.
The route out of Killin was simple as we retraced our steps and walked up the road signposted for Camusurich. It immediately started to go up hill.
We walked up a progressively steeper and steeper path today in what appeared to be a never-ending incline all the way until nearly the half way point for today beside Meall Odhar.
The initial road section was quiet and we only met one car driving the opposite way. We listened to a David Williams audiobook and went over various spellings of word that we heard in the book.
As soon as we turned off the road the incline got steeper and steeper. It didn’t get any easier for several miles. The route was on a tarmac road through a beautiful woodland with spectacular views back across Killin and Loch Tay.
This section was long and hard. Eve took a lot longer to walk these few miles than I had anticipated. I was already starting to think we wouldn’t reach the pod until after dark. I can’t remember what time it was when we reached the edge of the forest and the trail started to level out slightly but it was later than planned.
Immediately leaving the forest road near a mobile phone pylon, the views and scenery really opened up and went from spectacular to almost breathtaking. The views with the low lying clouds with rain and more clouds sweeping in and around was captivating. We took our first proper break here removing our backpacks and eating some sweets.
However the cold started to bite so we walked on at a slightly quicker pace enjoying the views. We were overtaken by two young girls walking a dog. The dog was as white as an iceberg. We were both thinking it but Eve said it, “I don’t think that dog will stay that white for long up here”. 😂
We could see clouds and mist in-front of us blanketing the route that we would be following. We know from experience it can be muddy and boggy. We dread to think what the dog looked like after their walk 😂. However our thoughts soon turned to thinking about where we were going. We added some layers as it was getting cold and got hats and gloves out ready.
As we climbed we could start to see the main feature of today come into view - the massive Brealach Dam.
The path started to change from a tarmac road to a rough rocky trail. The weather was closing in and the wind was picking up. We found a small area behind a wall to shelter for some food and a break.
The whole area up here feels wild and barron. The Lochan and dam were dark and looked like an abandoned engineering project. It felt bleak.
The mist was thick and with the wind made it feel like rain. We had to put on full waterproofs. One thing I like about wearing waterproofs is it makes us feel snug and protected. I know it’s all relative but it feels nice when you’re on top of a hill to be protected from the elements.
We walked along past the Lochan until we heard echos, so we had to test it. If you have not already, have a look at the video I put up earlier of us creating an echo. I think it’s brilliant!
We walked slowly still going gradually up hill until we reached the top and it felt brilliant. We were not at the half way point for the day but it felt good to start to go down hill.
We walked until we reached the huge pipes that are famous on this section of the Rob Roy Way. We decided to stop here for a break and the sun even started to come out. We were starting to dip below the mist and the clouds. It was calmer and warmer. We made the most of it and sat there for about 30 minutes.
The rocky path continued for a few hundred metres until we reached the part of the Rob Roy Way that is very easy to miss as there are no obvious signposts and no waymekers.
This area is wet, boggy and wet (I said wet twice on purpose, it’s… well…wet!)
We had waterproof socks on but within minutes they were overwhelmed and we could feel the water penetrating and making our feet wet. The good thing about waterproof socks is after the initial wetting they get warm and then you don’t feel wet! It’s not an issue for us as we have learned by experience to manage the wet and we know you can never stop it.
We took it in turns to lead the way, trying to find the most appropriate way through the bogs. There are countless ways you could go following various paths people had made. They were all very similar and none of them will stop you getting wet feet. Eve loves taking charge and directed me with military precision.
Eventually you will come up to a gate next to a woodland where a choice of path has to be made, the left or the right. One of them is better than the other. We couldn’t remember which one was the better and in typical style we picked the wrong one. We went left, we should have gone right. Eventually we did find a small area to cross. Our progress was quicker after this. Eve was very happy as she found the crossing area where we jumped the bog onto the other side.
The trail lead us out onto a very wet and muddy farmers trail through a cow field. We didn’t go close to any cows but we could see them with their calves and Eve got very excited as they were “so cute”.
We walked passed a few houses all of which seemed to have puppies! It took a lot of encouragement to get Eve to keep walking as i think if I hadn't we would have ended up with a puppy in our backpacks to bring home! 😂
Reaching the road was a huge milestone. We still had 4 miles to go but it felt nice knowing we had reached this point and got over the hills. We stopped for a break at the picnic bench outside of the local hotel. I was expecting to be asked to move on however on closer inspection I realised they were closed.
After having something to eat and drink, we took off our waterproofs and put our windproof jackets back on heading off to complete the last section.
Eve really started to struggle from here. Road walking is never great and the cars on the road drive so fast I think they’re trying to break the land speed record.
I nearly fell on top of Eve at one point trying to get us off the road quickly for a van/bus that wouldn’t slow down. I think it scared Eve!
The walk along this road felt like it would never end. The views were beautiful but we had the rain on our back, dodging cars and our feet were starting to hurt. It felt a lot longer than 4 miles.
One thing that did excite Eve (and me) a lot was seeing our first daffodil…! I am genuinely shocked as it seems so early and far too cold still for them. It was only one bulb with 4 flowers but it made it feel genuinely like spring. Eve cheered up a lot.
Walking on we had a car pull up beside us and a man started to talk to us. It caught me off guard to begin with but it was the husband of the owner of the pods we were staying at. He said ‘hi’ and told us where to go. It gave Eve the boost she needed, so thank you!
It wasn’t long until reached the pods much to Eve’s delight. We met a lovely lady (Rosemary) who took us to the pod for the night and gave us a mini tour. They had even left us tea, coffee, milk, hot chocolate and a chocolate brownie each!!! It was epic!!! Thank you to our amazing hosts! If you ever do the Rob Roy Way then I highly recommend staying here. It’s beautiful and you’ll be made to feel very welcome 😊
The longer and harder the day the nicer the feeling at the end, and today was one of those days. We are tucked up and snuggled down for the night and we couldn’t be more happy and grateful. It feels wonderful.
I do feel slightly bad for the hosts as they tried talking to Eve, but being autistic she is virtually non-verbal around strangers and new people.
Right we’re off to bed as we’re exhausted and looking forward to turning the lights off… oh before I go we also had another first for the year today. We had the door to the pod open until after dark as we felt so warm (without any heating on) and we didn’t want to close it!!! Spring is coming people!!!!
Anyway sleep well and we will see you all tomorrow…
Have a great night
Ian & Eve