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Milngavie to Balmaha

Day 1 - 16th April 2011

sunny 16 °C

After a few months of planning and discussion we were finally ready to tackle the West Highland Way.

A few things had gone wrong; namely the fact that my brother had to drop out due to work committments, however we were happy to have my friend Ian taking his place for a couple of days.

So on Saturday 16th April I walked up to Uddingston train station to join my friends Colin, Elliott and Martyn on the train. We changed at Cambuslang and met Ian on the train. The banter commenced and it rarely let up for the next 6 days.

During our initial discussions we decided on the following 5-day route;

Day 1 - Milngavie to Balmaha - 20-miles
Day 2 - Balmaha to Inverarnan - 21-miles
Day 3 - Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy - 19-miles
Day 4 - Bridge of Orchy to Kinlochleven - 21-miles
Day 5 - Knlochleven to Fort William - 16-miles

We were in high spirits when we arrived in Milngavie, with Colin (Wigs) swinging on the sign marked West Highland Way. We checked in with AMS bag services who would transport our large bags from place to place, ensuring we had minimum baggage with us to enable us to crack on with our intended 5-day target.

After some pictures at the start and some pit stops at Greggs and the sweet shop we were off. With Motherwell playing a Scottish Cup Semi-Final at 12.45pm, Wigs and Martyn were keen to get to Drymen for then to watch the game over lunch. We walked out of Milngavie and skirted round Mugdock Country Park before getting out into the countryside. Before we knew it we were at Glengoyne Distillery and we marched on. The first section is pretty flat and the scenery isn't anything to write home about compared to what was to come.


There was one nice wee section however, around 3-miles out from Drymen there is a row of old stone cottages by the river and one of them had an honesty box outside. It was a nice touch and I got a can of Coke.

Cottages near Drymen

Cottages near Drymen

Marty and Wigs arrived in Drymen around 10-minutes ahead of Elliott, Ian and I and phoned to say there was a power cut so the pubs couldn't show the football! We arrived and went to the Pottery Bar as told, only to be called across the road as the pub there had the game on. Amazingly Motherwell were 2-0 up and Sutton soon fired in a cracker to make it 3-0 at half-time. We celebrated by ordering lunch and a couple of pints of Guinness. The second half was a non event and we strode out to complete the next 8-miles to take us to Balmaha.

Before long we found ourselves approaching Conic Hill, we had the option to walk round it or climb it. We chose to climb it. It wasn't a hard climb, but Wigs had a headache and Elliott already had a blister, so they struggled a bit. Ian and Martyn romped it while I took my time and we all enjoyed the views from the top before a descent into Balmaha and a swig of port from Marty's hipflask.

We stayed at the Oak Tree Inn, with a room for 3 and a twin room. Wigs went straight to bed and slept right through while the rest os us showered and went in search of food and drink. The food was excellent, despite the mix up with orders meaning Ian and I got a starter size portion of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties and the tabel across the way got our main course. The waitress righted her wrong by giving us another starter and the dessert was incredible.

Ian, Marty and I stayed up having more drinks than we should have in the funky wee stone bar, having a great laugh, high with the sense of adventure. We hit the sackaround 11.30pm and slept soundly.

Posted by murray2701 09:14 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged trekking west_highland_way

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