About the Loon

My photo
A happy chap who likes a walk every now and then

Monday, 26 December 2016

WHW Apr 16, Day 2 - Mallarochy to Beinglas Farm (19.8 miles ish)

Day 2 
Mallarochy to Beinglas Farm

Another decent enough morning dawned, but there were a few ominous looking clouds scudding about by the time i finally set off to walk. Day 1 had seen me do about four miles more than planned so today I only had about 12 miles to do if I stuck to my itinerary.

 Lots of these short sharp wee climbs on the 1st stage up to Rowardennan, unfortunately with a short sharp climb, there's always a short steep downhill on the other side. 

A mixture of lochside paths and roads (on which everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get to a dead end) for the first five odd miles took me to the Rowardennan hotel which had big, "open all day" signs splashed around, handy as it was the back of ten and a coffee and bacon roll break was in order, "open all day" must really mean "open later in the day" as it was closed.

 Slightly disappointed and still peckish I headed off on the trail again, passing through the Ben Lomond visitor centre car park and finally getting away from roads and hopefully the hoards of folk along the lower Loch side,  the weather changed with a strong biting north wind and on/off driving rain.  Soon enough I passed out of the restricted wild camping zone, a bonus as that meant I could now stop and camp wherever, if the need arose.

The next two miles up to Ptarmigan lodge were pretty flat easy going, the two  after that were a constant steady climb to high above the Loch shore on forestry logging roads.

  Squalls were constantly coming down the loch, not enough to to go full goretex,  but bloody freezing all the same.

I spotted a herd of red deer hinds lounging in the forest, they weren't overly bothered about my presence but kept their eye on me nevertheless. The first proper wildlife of the jaunt

This gap was actually a bit of a squeeze with a bergan on, I'd imagine anyone trying to get through with a roll mat sticking out wouldn't get though without having to take it off.

The logging road turned into a wee path, which was quite nasty in places, especially with it being wet, finally it started to descend down towards Caliness, we're my original plan had been to wild camp. It was only around midday, far too early to contemplate stopping for the day, so I continued on, passing an honesty box in the process which seemed to be selling Tablet (a fantastic instant energy booster). I didn't buy any, which I regretted almost immediately.

A mile or two past Caliness I arrived at the Inversnaid hotel, i had faint hopes of maybe getting a late bar lunch but as I walked past I couldn't see any signs for a bar and didn't fancy just walking into what I assumed was a posh gaff. I was told later that there is a bunkhouse half a mile up the hill that serves food and drink to mere mortals/smelly hikers, after half a day clambering over rocks, trees, roots and steps I probably wouldn't have walked a mile off route anyway TBH.

I walked a few hundred meters further and found some shelter behind a boat house where I fired up the wee kovea burner, some crackers and cheese with a double tomato cup a soup and added tabasco sauce fairly perks up a tired body.

 Soon enough the path reverted to its usual crap condition, i spent the whole time walking with my head down so that i could watch my step. I got the shock of my life when i realised there was a wild goat happily munching away right next to me, it turned out to be a full on herd of a dozen or so. I actually bumped into another 3 herds of varying amounts over the next few miles.

Yes, some nice underfoot conditions at last, I hoped that was the end of the nightmare section, unfortunately this bit lasts for about 150 meters only

And then it's back to clambering, hanging, tripping and scaling boulders.

Finally after a pretty un-enjoyable day, the end for the Loch is reached, this would be a pretty good wild camp spot, if you moved some litter. I'd already made my mind up to push on to Beinglas farm so just pushed through.

Soon you arrive at Doune Bothy, i did have thoughts on staying there for the night as it was now nearing 1800hrs, but it was full, so i kept going. 

Now I'd read reports and seen YouTube clips of people getting lost on the WHW, I'm at a loss on how that can be achieved tbh, as I've never walked such a straightforward, obvious route. 

But (big but) if one was to be navigationaly challenged, 300 meters before the bothy would be the place for it to happen. As you reach the top of a rise the path goes through a bit of a mud bath, you can see an obvious path leading (to the right) out the other side, you can't really see the other (correct path on the left), i wasn't confident that the obvious path was the correct one and had a deek about, catching sight of the correct path i soon got on it, after about 20 paces the bothy appears below to confirm your "correct" choice.

im sure the "mud bath" right path/wrong path section is just at the top of this path

Although it was now getting rather damp I did enjoy this little stage away from the loch

Soon enough you burst out of the wee wood section and onto the final climb up the side of Cnap Mor  and the final views of Loch Lomond.

 Your now out into a lovely wee glen with easy walking underfoot, from here it's all downhill to Beinglas farm, i think I arrived about 1900hrs, got sorted, showered and had a fantastic meal in the great wee onsite bar. I was impressed with everything about the farm, from the very friendly staff to the evening meals and would definitely recommend it to any walkers passing through. There is a decent wee on site shop that pretty much has anything a hiker needs

A late night after a very taxing day, in the sleeping bag and out cold for 2130. Another near 20 mile day, only 56 to go, i was now 8 miles ahead of my planned itinerary, a good bonus to carry into day 3.

Click to Return to Day 1                      Click for Day 3

No comments:

Post a Comment