Mark Walks LEJOG Day 50 – Balmaha to Inversnaid

Hullo. How are you? I hope you are having a good day. I’m Mark and I’m walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats…

My first ever experience of glamping turned out to be a rip roaring success. I was given a tiny wooden pod with its own sun deck and had possibly the best night sleep of the trip so far.

So I set off from Balmaha bushy tailed and excited for a day along the West Highland Way at the edge of Loch Lomond.

The heavy clouds set in for the day and before long it was tipping down with rain for several hours, but this just adds to the sense of mystery Loch Lomond holds and the whole place remains majestic no matter what the weather.

The views in all directions along this stretch of the West Highland Way are dramatic. All day long to my left, the extraordinary loch and the mountains beyond, and to my right, the forests, farmland and the mighty Ben Lomond rising above all others.

At the foot of Ben Lomond, I came across one of the many honest boxes I have passed since setting off from Cornwall. This one, though, took things to another level. It was incredibly well stocked and cared for.

I chatted to the owner for a while and she told me it was a lot of work to maintain but well worth it for knowing how useful it is to hikers. There are no shops for miles along this stretch of the trail, so it really does make a difference having these facilities to stock up on water, fruit and other goodies.

There is a misconception about this section of the West Highland Way – people tend to assume because it sits alongside the loch, it will be easy terrain and low level. But the trail actually heads up into hills and forests, along cliff edges, across waterfalls and a whole host of other impediments. It makes the walk so much more enjoyable and exciting than a flat waterside hike.

The forest is very often so dense it is impossible to see Loch Lomond and one would imagine being in some long forgotten world.

This makes the moments of coming to a clearing high above the loch and suddenly having a far reaching panorama all the more satisfying.

I reached Inversnaid in good time, but this was actually not my end point. Many hikers will stop at the Inversnaid Hotel, but they did not have any availability, so instead I hiked another mile or so up the very steep Great Trossachs Path towards Garrison of Inversnaid, where I would be staying at the excellent B&B.

The walk up the hill gave the reward of many stunning views, easily making it worth the extra distance.

I arrived at the B&B to a very friendly welcome and delicious supper, then settled in for the night.

The Day 50 Vlog

Fundraising for MacMillan Cancer Support

As I walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats, I am hoping to raise £10,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support, who do such a wonderful job of supporting families through the most difficult times. If you are able to spare any amount and would like to donate to MacMillan, please do so through my Just Giving Page.






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