Female Solo Hiking Along the West Highland Way [P2]
Part II: Beinglas Farm to Inveroran
2 days, 34 km
You might want to read my introduction to the West Highland Way and the description of the West Highland Way trail's first stage from Drymen to Inverarnan (Beinglas).
Over the next two days of my female solo hike along the West Highland Way, the trail took me beyond Loch Lomond and into rougher and tougher areas.
I discovered the mighty midges and battled the famous Scottish weather.
After the hot and sunny weather the day before, the night and next morning brought the Universe back to balance by providing extremely heavy rainfall.
I am generally pretty slow early in the day, but after it was raining non-stop for hours, I decided to move on – rain or not.
But of course.
The rain pants disaster
It was a chance for me to try – for the first time – my rain pants, though.
I had a pair I got second-hand, as a new pair of high-end rains pants were just too expensive.
Those were the kind with mesh inside, typically they are a 2-layer membrane, not the better one with 2,5 or 3 layer membrane. I walked for about 40 min with them on (only half of it in the actual rain) and was soon changing into my regular hiking pants by the side of the road.
Good that no one was walking the trail at the moment, as I was just in my undies.
Why did I change?
Because I was soaking wet under them – from sweat!
I decided that even if it was to rain again, I preferred to get wet and let my pants dry fast than hike around in my own private sauna.
In the end, that was the only time I wore them while actually hiking. But they proved useful when I was cold at night a few times, or when I was washing everything else.
So it wasn't a complete waste of space in my backpack.
West Highland Way: Nature and history
But, back to trail: the walk to Tyrdum was really rewarding.
I welcomed a different kind of terrain with genuine pleasure after the drudging path along the Loch Lomond.
With every step, I was more and more in love with what I saw. The trail is rich in historical elements – it passes by a historic graveyard (dating back to the 8th c.) and the ruins of St Fillan’s Priory from the 13th century.
On the way to Tyndrum you pass the spot of the battle of Dal Righ, or “King’s Field” where the English troops defeated Robert the Bruce in 1306.
You can even see the lake in which, according to the legend, Robert the Bruce and his men abandoned their swords to escape the English.
If I considered for a second to dive in and check for the swords, I was quickly discouraged – the educational board informed me that a group of scientists had done a throughout search of the lake and didn’t find a thing. Alas!
No wild camping before Tyrdum – but there are cookies!
I planned to find a nice spot to wild camp before I reached Tyndrum, but there was no chance for that – the ground was really wet and boggy, covered with low bushy grasses, so I pushed on till I got to the By the Way campsite.
I was happy to pitch my tent there to let it dry (I packed it in the pouring rain) and get acquainted with the famous midges.
As my tent was completely wet, I had to be very careful about not touching the walls of the inner - there were actual drops on them! But by morning it was more or less dry.
I must have been really tired that night... I slept for more than 10h! The next morning proved lucky for me: there were some wind and the sunshine, so I spread the tent over the car park ground to let it dry from both sides.
More photos from hiking that day:
FYI: the campsite is closed from 11 am to 2 pm for maintenance – you won’t be able to use the bathrooms. How did I find out? Well, I told you I have generally slow mornings ;-)
Before I hit the trail again I decided to go the Real Food Café in Tyndrum for a lovely and delicious gluten-free cake.
I’ve read about this place beforehand and wanted to make sure I visited it. It was well worth the time and I highly recommend the place – not just for gluten-free goodies!
Beyond the Bridge of Orchy
With every hiked mile, the West Highland Way was getting more and more magical. The views were getting better and the terrain steeper.
Soon after crossing the bridge at the (appropriately named) Bridge of Orchy, the path climbs steeply among forestry along the Old Military Road.
I found walking those roads difficult on my feet. They are made of irregular stones and you could twist your ankle or hit a tender spot (like a blister) on a sharp stone if you were not careful.
But after the difficult climb, I was soon admiring fabulous views over the Loch Tulla and surrounding area.
I camped at a designated wild camping area not far from the Inveroran Hotel in an absolutely beautiful setting, at a river bend.
Click below to see more photos from that day hiking on the West Highland Way:
There is a walkers friendly pub at the Hotel – good for a pint or a tea (and charging your phone or camera for a bit), but not much of a choice in terms of food if you are GF. Still - it was nice to sit down, have a nice cup of tea and write down notes on the day's walk.
Read the detailed description of hiking solo the third section of the West Highland Way from Inveroran to Fort William.
All you need to know about camping accommodation along the West Highland Way.