This was our first of two 15-mile days, so we planned for an early morning leave, but only as early as our B&B hosts had breakfast ready for us. We were finished and out the door by 8:30AM. The first part of the trail that morning was a gradual climb through farmland that lead into a steeper climb through the Garadhban forest.
Halfway through the Garadhban forest we met up with a few Scots: Ross, his son Aaron and Ross’s friend Mike. Ross was our Scotsman who helped ensure that all eleven of us had a place to sleep each night and that our luggage was transported each morning to our next accommodation.
After a short stint of shyness young Aaron grabbed the lead and showed us the way, pointing out roots not to trip over and the spectacular views. He also let us know that the Loch Ness monster probably has relatives that live in Loch Lomond, and that not all boys and girls in Scotland believe in fairies. He was a natural guide!
Aaron led us all the way to the top of Conic Hill where we had great views of Loch Lomond, and
where we took our 2nd official group photo. This time with two new team members, Arran and Ross…
After our team photo we headed down towards the town of Balmaha, our half way point of the day. We passed many other hikers along the way, apparently hiking to the top of Conic Hill is a popular day hike for locals and out of town guests.
Our lunch break in Balmaha…
The second half of our day took us along the shores of Loch Lomond. We meandered across pebble beaches, through camping sites, and beautiful wooded trails, a few portions hillier than others. We had said goodbye to our Scottish friends at lunch and were on our own again!
However peaceful and charming this part of trek was, it was the second half of a 15 mile day. It’s amazing how the last few miles can feel more like ten! We eventually made it to Rowardennan Hotel hot and tired, but also feeling rather accomplished!
After a cool shower on this beautiful warm Scottish day, we sat on the deck testing out the local beer. Once again, dinner was tastier than expected!
Up next Rowardennan to Inversnaid to Inverarnan: 13.5 miles
Keep on trekking to beautiful places…