Its some time since I posted here!!!
This year my friend Ravi wanted to do West Highland Way in Scotland and made all the arrangements and at the last minute he had to drop off as he started some back issues. So I went alone! Looking at the brochure, it gives several cautionary hints, one of which is "dont travel alone!". Any way ignored it and this is the story.
Its one of those luxurious hikes (just like in Himalayas - no need for a backpack as there is no planned camping)! 9 days of gentle hiking over rolling mountains - the highest point is 540 meters ( translated to Americanese - less than 2000 ft). For someone who did JMT this is just rolling hills! The highest point in UK is Ben Nevis - around 4000 ft. ! But I did find lots of campers, camping in the open areas near the youth hostels I stayed. I was surprised to see many tents without ground cloth as it almost rained daily in the evenings, some times through the day. First three days I thought my trusted poncho was good enough, but then in the open rocky trails, the wind blew my poncho all over and it was difficult to see where I was stepping! So at a place called Tyndrum, I bought the typical Scottish hiker wet pants and jacket. Wet pants go over my regular north face pants and jacket kept my t-shirt dry and warm!
Day 1: After flying into to Edinburgh from Chicago, took train to Milingavie near Glasgow. Stayed at a BnB (Bread and Breakfast Inn) called Best foot forward. Started early as it is a 12 mile hike. The first part of the Trek is along a small river with lots of birch groves. Many hikers are interested in the surrounding breweries - looks like Scotch Whisky is very popular for the hikers from all around the world! I met Newzealanders, Italians, Norwegians, Russians and from all over Europe. Stopped at Beech Tree Inn for lunch after 7 miles and reached Drymen by mid afternoon. Drymen is a small beautiful village with its own castle!!! Stayed in another picturesque BnB and two brothers, one named Scott and other Bruce were very friendly - looks like they like Indians around here
Lots of flowers and an isolated cabin to stay!!!
Day2: Today after some flat hiking towards a symmetric mountain called Conic hill, met a large group of teenagers from Europe and found one very active young lady doing yoga on the trail! Went down towards a wooded village on the shores of Loch Lomond, the largest lake in UK. This is Balmaha and stayed in Balmaha house on the lake shore, with lots of swans preening with their long necks!
Day 3: A nice trail along the shore through woods. Looking always for the WHW trail markers, wooden posts with thistle marked on them! Later I will add a link to my photos on Flickr.