Day 3: Drymen – Rowardennan

Distance 24km – Hiking time: 6 – 8 hours – altitude difference (↑) 650m

At seven in the morning we had set the alarm clock, breakfast was supposed to be at eight. I carefully moved my very heavy legs yesterday evening and behold, everything is fine. No aching muscles, no pain, no blisters, and Mama felt the same way.

So we quickly jumped into the shower and made a tea (Twinnings Breakfast Tea, milk, lots of sugar!) and drank it on the terrace, which was wet from the morning dew, then the hunger slowly became noticeable.

I got the “Full Scotish Breakfast” ordered the night before by note and Mama got porridge with fruits. I was used to the Full English and the Full Welsh Breakfast, but on my Full Scotish there were two slices of sausage which seemed a bit suspicious to me. One black as the night and the other white-brownish, both very crumbly and sharply roasted.

I recognize blood sausage at first sight and usually the alkaline iron taste is not mine. But since I have always followed the motto to try everything that is offered to me on my travels, I kept to it this time as well. The black pudding was much better than the black pudding I have tried so far, but we will never become big friends. The white pudding on the other hand really impressed me and besides Twinnings Breakfast Tea white pudding is one of the few products I order regularly in Germany.

Strengthened from breakfast we left shortly before nine although it was still very grey outside and the early morning fog and dew made sure that it was reasonably cold. We didn’t have to check in our luggage for onward transport. At the end of the day we would be picked up to spend another night in this fantastic B&B.

Nebel auf den Feldern östlich von Drymen
Fog on the fields east of Drymen

The first hour of the hike was mystical! The fog was very dense and only lifted in between. Again and again trees and shrubs appeared shadowy in the distance and only slowly became clearer. In addition there were the bushes along the way where hundreds of spider webs were sitting where the dewdrops got caught…an incredible sight!

Morgentau verfängt sich in den Spinnenweben der Büsche am Wegesrand
Morning dew gets caught in the spider webs of the bushes along the way

So we walked about one and a half hours steadily uphill and met joggers, cyclists and dog owners who did their morning sports in the area. When our host said goodbye, asked about the grey weather, he said “By eleven, you feel in heaven” and he was right. At half past nine the cloud cover was dragging and the early morning mist was only stuck in the valley. It got really warm and the hiking day couldn’t start more beautiful.

Oberhalb des Frühnebels
Above the early fog with Conic Hill in the background

Behind the first hilltops soon trees and my beloved water come back again 😀 Nature itself is already great, but to be in nature and hear the splashing of a stream and small waterfalls and rapids switches everything to relaxation, peace and inner peace! I had a similar experience on my Hike through West Ireland and Connemarawhen we watched the North Atlantic surf on Inishmor.

Wo eine Brücke ist...
Where there is a bridge…

Under the first bridge, which seems to lead through treetops, you can see one of the many tributaries to Loch Lomond. Crystal clear water plays around stones and rocks and supplies the everlasting and versatile green with supplies. Eight times you cross these small streams and rivers before you arrive in Balmaha. I could rest at each of them, eat and drink something and listen to the splashing, but then I would be a) fat and we would b) never arrive 😉

...kann Wasser nicht weit sein.
…water can’t be far.

So we continued walking and the ascent remained the same until we reached the top of Conic Hill at an altitude of 300 meters. From here we were accompanied by an incredible view of Loch Lomond to the harbour of Balmaha.

Around 13 o’clock we arrived at the suggested resting point in Balmaha. We drank tea in the garden of The Oak Tree Inn and ate a snack. The Oak Tree Inn, like everything else in Balmaha, is located directly on Loch Lomond and offers a slate garden that is really inviting to rest. Here an impression of it (with friendly permission of the owner).

The Oak Tree Inn
The Oak Tree Inn

After the break – we had now completed about half of the day’s tour – we continued through a forest area, always on the shore of Loch Lomond. The course was good to run, a bit hilly but nothing that would put a North German flatlander out of his puff 🙂

Der Hafen in Balmaha
The harbour in Balmaha

Directly behind Balmaha the path winds up a small hill from where you have a wonderful view over Loch Lomond. About two kilometres later, the hiking path leads past a beach and it is really worthwhile to go down and enjoy the view, hold your feet in the water and take some pictures.

Blick von einem Hügel hinter Balmaha auf Loch Lomond
View from a hill behind Balmaha to Loch Lomond
Beach panorama
Loch Lomond in all seiner Pracht
Loch Lomond in all its glory

The rest of the way continued along Loch Lomond close to the water and offered a lot of peace, fresh air and some late midges (The mosquitoes of the Highlands, the only reliable help is a mosquito net 😉 ). Although there was something beautiful to see in nature every few meters, there was not really much variety and so the hiking day was over much too fast.

We called Ally, agreed he’d pick us up at Rowardennan Lodge. Less than thirty minutes later we were back in our beautiful B&B in Drymen. So we enjoyed the late afternoon still on our terrace, went later in the place still something to eat and went, from much movement and fresh air nevertheless quite tired, early into bed.

Why the next day there was no lack of variety you can read on the next page.

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