Walk completed August 28, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 69, Monday, August 8, 2011 – Rowardennan to Inverarnan – 14 miles

Becky, Elliot, Anne and Neal
I’m not sure what was in our breakfast today, but upon departure, three of the guests did a farewell jig while host Neal played the bagpipes. Well, OK, Neal wasn’t exactly playing bagpipes, and he wasn’t wearing a kilt, but he certainly was playing a Scottish jig. Or maybe it was an Irish jig. In any event it was a jig, I think... well, it sounded as if it had Celtic origins. Your reporter is terribly deficient about Celtic music – a three month journey to Scotland next summer might just set me straight. All in favor, say aye!!

Loch Lomond
I’m not quite done with this summer’s three month journey, though. Today’s walk was along the east coast of Loch Lomond. Dry weather, with patches of sunlight made the scenery come alive.

One might think the walking would be easy alongside the loch, but not so. The valley in which the loch lies was carved by a glacier, and has the characteristic U-shaped terrain. The loch fills up most of the U’s wide base, leaving steep sides on which the trail was built. As a result, the trail undulates over rocky rubble left when the glacier melted. Exposed tree roots combined with slippery wet rocks (remember yesterday’s rain?) made the footing difficult and the walking slow. That’s not necessarily bad, because the enforced slow pace provided time to enjoy the scenery – as long as I didn’t try to enjoy the scenery while taking a step, because even a slight slip could plunge me into the loch. In any case, I didn’t slip, I didn’t plunge, and I did enjoy the scenery.

Stuart and Kim
As I left Rowardennan, I was hailed by Stuart and Kim, two walkers I met yesterday just before Rowardennan. We chatted for a while, but poor Stuart was carrying a tent and other camping gear that made my pack seem like it was filled with helium. With all that weight he couldn’t keep up with me, so I said good-bye and moved along at my speed. I’ll probably be seeing them again over the next few days.

Shortly before reaching Inverarnan, I was overtaken by another walker, who seemed to be about my age. It’s been a long time since somebody passed me when I wasn’t taking pictures or otherwise dawdling. So I sped up to find out how much weight he was carrying. Phil is a Scotsman, from near Glasgow, and was carrying about half the weight I was. Satisfied that I wasn’t fading, I let Phil proceed at his own pace.

Phil, Frank, Martin and Frank
I was staying at the Drovers' Inn, a hotel that has been operating since 1705.  At dinner, I ordered a drink, and while looking for a table someone commented that I move as slowly carrying a beer as when carrying a pack. It was Phil, and I joined him at his table. Along with Phil were Frank, Martin and Frank no. 2, all of whom were walking the WHW. We had a nice dinner together, oddly enough at the very same table that Janet, Cathy, Keith and I ate at when we walked the WHW.

Then the music started. The musicians were fun, and may have been the same age as the hotel guests -- all of the guests together.  I heard one of the musicians say that they played at the hotel on opening night. 

The Drovers’ Inn is certainly the place to be in Inverarnan. I’m not exactly sure that this counts towards my developing a knowledge of Celtic music, but we all had a good time – especially since the others kept plying me with whiskey. I hope I can walk tomorrow.

© 2011 Ken Klug

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