Having spent a most enjoyable evening with Sue and Nigel, catching up with the news of our respective families, I slept in and had a late breakfast. After stocking up on food, I left Drymen at 9.25.
My immediate impression was that half the world was going up the West Highland Way. We all tramped up to the start of the Conic Hill where, by a seemingly unanimous decision, we stopped for a break.
Little did we know what was to come. The ascent went well, but coming up to the final stretch to the summit I realised that the other half of the world was coming up from the opposite side. The result was a human traffic jam. Having avoided going to the summit of Pen-y-Ghent, I felt duty bound to go off-route onto the top. Waiting my turn, I duly tagged the summit and left as soon as possible. This was a good decision as even more people were coming up from Balmaha.
The car park at Balmaha was overflowing, and a quick visit to the Information Centre revealed that “78 bags of dog poop had been collected in the first kilometre of the path to the Conic Hill”. From my observation on the canals, they were getting off lightly.
The path on from Balmaha suffers, for several miles, from passing through a major tourist destination. However, I finally found a little peace on a small beach and stopped for lunch.
The views today were rather spoilt by the haze, so that any long-distance scenes disappeared in the gloom. Nevertheless, the scenery improved as I moved further along Loch Lomond. The Loch is 23 miles (37k) long and is the largest area of fresh water in Britain. All a bit worrying, as I leave it behind tomorrow.
Moving towards Rowardennan the trail gets better, and the tourists are mainly left behind. The path threads a route through woodland situated between the Loch and the road, and is very pleasing.
Today has been almost too hot for long-distance walking, and I was pleased to enter Rowardennan at 4.15.
Ben Lomond towers over Rowardennan, and has been chosen by my friend Karen as her last Munro. My friends in MAC (Mountain Activities Club) tell me that they are confident my wheelchair will make it.
The Youth Hostel is comfortable and is in a beautiful position. It even has its own ferry service across the loch. Eleven years ago my son Stuart and I used the ferry when I walked the Way in the opposite direction.