Day 2: Milngavie – Drymen

Distance 21km – Hiking time: 4 – 6 hours – Altimeter (↑) 300m

We got up early, because our first stage was supposed to be 21 km long and since both of us hadn’t run such a distance in a long time, we wanted to be able to plan a lot of time for breaks.

Both of us? Who’s hiking their first hiking trail anyway?

On the one hand – even if the donkey actually calls itself last – I, Rolf, at that time 37 years old, who rediscovered the love of nature last year on his round trip to England, Scotland and Wales.

On the other hand, my mother, then 75 years young, accompanied me. And when I say young, I mean young. My mother goes walking every day in the morning, several times a week for sports, swimming, table tennis, yoga and much more. But now it should turn out whether this is enough for a 152 km long hike in 8 stages and also I, at that time still a smoker and not really the sporty type, was by no means sure to make the distance.

The starting point of the WHW is located in the middle of the town on Douglas Street, from where it heads north and plumbs surprisingly quickly into green, wild nature.

Startpunkt des West Highland Way in der Douglas Street
Starting point of the West Highland Way on Douglas Street
"Eingangstor" zum West Highland Way
“Gate” to the West Highland Way

So we left Douglas Street and found ourselves directly in a well-kept park that led us northwards. Most of the way follows a tributary of the Kelvin, the so-called “Allander Water”.

The path leads along beautiful and very flat forest paths and on field paths further and further north, in retrospect it is an ideal first stage to relax the muscles and to prepare for what is to come 😉

The first unusual detail we encountered on this day was a campfire…in broad daylight…made of stone 🤔

It is a monument to the Craigallian fire. During the economic crisis from 1930 until the outbreak of the Second World War, a campfire burned continuously at this location. It was a beacon of camaraderie and hope for young unemployed people from Glasgow and Clydebank seeking adventure in Scotland. Their pioneering spirit helped free the Scottish countryside for all.

Das "Craigallian Campfire"
The Craigallian Campfire

A little later we arrived at the Craigallian Loch, a lake embedded in the green of the surroundings. It was almost unbelievable that we had only recently left a lively village behind us. We were already thrilled and that although the real Highlands (and highlights) were yet to come.

Wogende Wiesen und das "Craigallian Loch"
Waving meadows and the “Craigallian Loch”
"Craigallian Loch"
“Craigallian Loch”

Behind the Craigallian Loch comes Dumgoyach Hill in sight, a 427 metre high hill widely known as a landmark. The hill is of volcanic origin. This formation, also known as a lava neck, is a volcanic object that forms when magma cures in a vent on an active volcano.

Dumgoyach Hill
Dumgoyach Hill
Noch sind wir fit und motiviert
We are still fit and motivated

About 3 kilometres later our smile became even wider, because the first of many whisky distilleries of our hike appeared. On our bus tour through the Highlands last year we had a sentence after Patrick from Timberbush Tours said:

If you ever walk through Scotland, look out for the sign of the guild of whisky burners. Enter and drink a whisky or two to warm your heart and raise your mind

Since we naturally wanted to listen to Patrick it was clear that we would stop by. So we turned off from WHW and approached the picturesque Glengoyne Distillery over a meadow.

We decided to join a guided tour, which included an introductory video and the tasting of an 18 year old whisky. The video tells a little about the history of the distillery, but I didn’t get everything, because I translated for my mother at the same time. The whisky was a great experience! I didn’t know anything about whisky and hardly ever drank spirits, but this whisky opened up a new taste universe for me. This first whisky has already been followed by several others and when I tell friends about Scotland, Ireland or other walks I like to do it with a good glass of whisky

The leadership was like one imagines a leadership in general. As a group of about 20 people we were guided through the production plant where every step was explained to us in detail. The tour was interesting and really recommendable. The warmth and the smell in the distillery, the wood and the background noise, all this makes the tour a successful start for a hike through the Highlands.

I scanned the flyer for you once:

Since we had already hiked more than half of the day’s stage up to this point, we were confident that we would be able to do the rest easily. Passing small waterfalls and a beautiful landscape with a hundred shades of green we reached Drymen in the late afternoon.

Mini Wasserfälle am Wegesrand
Mini waterfalls by the wayside
Es gibt mehr Grüntöne als man zählen kann
There are more shades of green than you can count

The accommodation booked for us was the Bramblewood B&B. It wasn’t easy to find, but it was worth searching! I’ve stayed in some B&B’s before, but this B&B is incredibly clean, the hosts Ally & Kate are incredibly friendly and warm-hearted and you can see that they really care about their guests. The room on the first floor has a terrace that can be seen.

So we drank tea on the terrace and let our feet cool down until we went back to the core of Drymen in the evening to get something to eat, the Clachan Inn that Ally recommended to us was really good and the price-performance ratio was also good.

Why breakfast the next morning turned from an overcoming into a revelation and how it went on you can read on the next page.

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