The Loch Lomond section of the West Highland Way complete, phew!
At the risk of creating controversy, we don’t think the Loch Lomond section is the hardest section on the West Highland Way, although we know a lot of people do struggle with it. I think it’s a mentally tough section especially for people who don’t know what they’re walking into or maybe don’t have much hiking experience. I am definitely not saying we are experts, far from it, we’re just lucky enough to have walked the West Highland Way before, albeit in the opposite direction.
The toughest section of the West Highland Way, in my opinion is Ewich Forest, due to its location between significant places such as Tyndrum. Also the forest is relentlessly up and down and it’s steep! Last year on our JOGLE we actually wild camped in the forest as we were so exhausted we didn’t manage to get out. But more on that when we get there!
This morning I set the alarm clock for 6am and Eve didn’t stir, again, she didn’t actually stir until 7.15am. We had the film crew filming us last night for several hours and I think it took its toll on Eve after a full days walking.
Last night was cold, but not as cold as the previous night. Eve slept well and I got a much between nights sleep than last night. We had breakfast, a hot drink and were walking again just after 9. I had originally planned to be walking by about 7.30 am, but that’s the joy of what we’re doing, there isn’t really a fixed agenda to keep to. On the slip side, we do have to ensure there is time set aside for Eve’s education and for chilling during the day, if not I think we would all burn out within a few days. Secondly, being autistic we do like to know some things. Eve for example likes to know where we are stopping and I like to know when we are stopping, both of which can be really hard to pin down and even harder to manage when we don’t have an answer!
The first half of todays walk was hard. That’s because it’s a very rough trail of boulders, tree roots and mud, making it slippy. It constantly goes up and down and at best you can only see about 5 metres of trail before it disappears over a boulder or behind a tree.
There were sections when Eve had to go on her bottom to slide down This section should not be underestimated especially in wet or icy conditions as it can be lethal. The trail can be 10s of feet above the shore that is littered with boulders, a fall here could be catastrophic, hence why we took it so slow and carefully. We were also incredibly lucky to be blessed with near perfect weather for Loch Lomond.
A great target on the Loch Lomond section that indicates that the trail is starting to get easier is Doune Bothy. For those who don’t know, a Bothy is a small building that is open to be used by anybody, but targeted at hikers. I have discussed bothies before and how I think they’re great but unfortunately they can be abused and vandalised by people. I would not sleep in one unless we had to, a lot of people make a point of staying in them when hiking the West Highland Way.
The second half of today followed the Loch for a while along a good path, before our final and stunning view of Loch Lomond reaching a wooded area with even better footpaths to follow.
Today we met loads of people who we spoke to from groups of friends to a German couple who asked for my advice on Scottish weather! I didn’t exactly say this but basically to expect the unexpected and don’t believe the weather forecast! We also met a lovely couple of people who gave us a donation of £5, thank you.
This evening we are staying at the Beinglas Campsite just north of Loch Lomond. It’s busy, expensive and with just 1 toilet for all males it’s definitely not for those looking for solitude or to experience Scotland at its best.
So why are 2 autistic people, who struggle with anything social choosing to stay somewhere so busy??? Well… as you know Sarah is a very sneaky lady and decided to surprise us with a visit so we are all together in the campervan!!!
It is Sarah’s day off, and as far as I was aware she was supposed to be at home chilling and having some mummy time. Seeing Sarah walk across the bridge towards us as we entered the campsite was the best sight we could have imagined. I even got a small video on my phone of Eve running into Sarah’s arms.
We chilled on a bench and had a lovely lady approach us and gave Eve a crochet chic and bunny for Easter! Thank you. Eve also had a white chocolate magnum from the shop using some of the Buy Me a Coffee funds we have kindly been donated. Thank you so much. She definitely earned it today! This evening we had spaghetti for dinner and might even walk to the Drovers Inn to see the bear!
See you all in the morning and have a great night.
Ian and Eve