Tag Archives: Inverarnan

The West Highland Way – Inverarnan to Tyndrum

August 6 – I miss Loch Lomond. Now I’ll have to come up with a new song to hum as we walk along.

Tired of mountains and trees? Today we have some history! Also, mountains and trees…

Mountains, trees, and sheep!

King Robert the First of Scotland (Robert the Bruce) fought the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. On the night before the battle, he prayed to St. Fillan, a monk from the early 700s. When Robert won the battle, he dedicated a new priory to St. Fillan, the ruins of which can be seen below.

The ruins of St. Fillan’s Priory from the 14th century

The Fillan River was known for healing the mentally ill when monks dunked them in this deep pool. Men were dunked in this section, and women were dunked a little further upstream. St. Fillan is the patron saint of the mentally ill.

The Holy Pool
Old bridge crossing over the River Fillan

A little further on is an old cemetery, containing some memorial stones from the 8th century. One of the stones bears the image of a forearm – a very unusual thing to carve on a memorial stone. Except…. St. Fillan was known to have a luminous forearm, that he used as a lantern so that he could continue reading scripture in the dark! Coincidence? You decide!

Kirkton family graveyard containing some 8th century memorial stones

Skipping forward to Robert the Bruce again, when his army lost the battle at Dalrigh right here in 1306, he disgustedly threw all his army’s swords into this small lake, known as the Lochen of the Lost Sword.

Lochen of the Lost Sword
Field of the Battle of Dalrigh

Wow! That’s a lot of history for one day’s walk. So, here are some more sheep and goats.

And flowers:

We approach the town of Tyndrum, where they used to mine lead.

There is a sign here inviting people to pan for gold, and we stood and watched for a while as some fellows panned away.

So now we are cozy in our B and B, after another hearty meal of haddock and chips (what we would call steak fries). I’m beginning to weary of the chips, which are served with every meal, but the fish is very good.

The places we’ve eaten in Scotland are all very solicitous of dietary restrictions / food allergies, and offer lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free choices. On our menu tonight was ‘tofush’ for those who desire a plant based alternative to fish.

Out the window of the restaurant were a row of bird feeders, set up for the entertainment of those eating within.

What a nice place.

The West Highland Way – Rowardennan to Inverarnan

August 4 – What do we do on our rest day? We walk around, of course!

Today was our first opportunity to order a full Scottish breakfast, which is very much like a full English – fried egg, tomato, farm sausage, beans, black pudding (blood sausage), mushrooms and bacon (looks like ham). We pronounced it excellent.

It’s a beautiful sunny morning, but a chilly 50 degrees, so we put on our fleece jackets and set off to see the first part of the hike to Inverarnan.

Not sure what this is, but isn’t it interesting?
A reminder of how far we have to go

We met a Ukrainian who was spraying foliage along the trail. We asked what he was spraying for, and he told us that he was killing rhododendrons, which are very bad. We pressed: the shrubs with pink flowers in the spring? Yes – very bad. Huh!

Spraying the rhododendrons

We encountered a family – mother, son and girlfriend of son – having a jolly walk. What a good son!

August 5 – So here is our conundrum. The guidebooks all agree that the next leg of our journey is the hardest day of the Way. It is over 14 miles of rugged walk with lots of big hills. Jim is under strict orders not to let me die on this vacation. There is no bus, no Uber, no way to get north of here as the road ceases to exist on this (east) side of the Loch. There are no bridges or ferries that can get us across the Loch to civilization. What to do?

Jim, who always says there is no corner so sharp that it cannot be rounded, found a solution, of course. For a princely sum, we hired a taxi to take us 30 miles all the way back to a town at the southern tip of Loch Lomond. From there, we caught a bus heading north on the west side of the Loch, and in 45 minutes, presto: Inverarnan (In-ver-ARR-nun).

Once again, not a town, just a hotel and a campsite. Once again, we were given a cabin, very cozy and nice.

View from our cabin

We spent the rest of the day walking south back down the West Highland Way to see a few miles of what we missed on the trail today.

A mossy old tree

Walking the trail, which is a stream. Lots of jumping on rocks to keep our boots semi-dry.

Little waterfall

Our last views of Loch Lomond. We’ll miss you!

A wonderful day.