The West Highland Way & Great Glen Way

Walked in August 2010

Day 1 - Sunday 15th August

Milngavie (Mugdock Wood) – Drymen (Easter Drumquhassle Farm)
13 miles

It was practically freezing during the night which surprised me. I knew it could be cold at night in Scotland, but not this cold. Nevertheless we survived and were up at 6.30 to begin packing things away. We left the camp at 7.30 feeling quite satisfied that we’d found a good spot to spend the night, even if there had been a few spiders around. In fact as we set off along the path we saw literally hundreds of spider webs glistening with dew on the trees and bushes all around us. There had been mist everywhere when I’d first emerged from my tent but this had more or less cleared by the time we left.

We soon reached Craigallian Loch and stopped to take photographs of the mist rising in swirls from the water. There was a huge bank of fog in the valley behind us that looked like an absurdly low cloud. I could get used to mornings like this. Already it was growing apparent that the Scottish scenery was going to be impressive and diverse. The Sun continued to clear away the cold and mist and it was shaping up to be a bright, warm day as we walked along the straight track that bordered Craigallian Loch.

It wasn’t exactly busy but we did see a couple of runners and cyclists. We didn’t see any walkers but we guessed that they were all behind us and had started from Milngavie at roughly the same time we’d left the wood, giving us a few miles lead on them. We headed up to Easter Carbeth where we saw a Spiderman toy hanging from a tree. Maybe they don’t take kindly to superheroes around there. We continued along the path to the main road, and it was while admiring the scenery that I slipped on the side of the road that dropped to the verge and twisted my ankle. It was very painful and for a horrible few minutes I was worried I had suffered a sprain like I had on the Coast to Coast walk in 2008. Thankfully I was able to walk and Darryl and I both thought it was probably just a twist. I took it easy for the rest of the day and made a point of looking where I was going. We even stopped by a river for a break so I could dunk my foot in the cold water for ten minutes. This did help bring down the swelling a little, but I knew I wouldn’t get any proper relief until we reached the campsite at the end of the day.

We continued on with impressive views of the wooded hill of Dumgoyach and the knobbly Dumgoyne to the right. We walked down the rough track to a lane that soon gave us the option of diverting to the Glengoyne Distillery. A couple of coach loads of tourists were arriving proving the distillery was a popular tourist spot.

Darryl had already had a tour around a distillery but said he’d wait if I wanted to take the next one. I wasn’t really that bothered though so we went into the gift shop and had a look at the whiskeys on offer. I had filled the hip flask Dad had given me with Jack Daniels before we had left, and while this was ok, we were both keen to sample some of the local fare, so I bought a miniature from the shop and we had a few nips at the back of the distillery by the waterfall, watching the tourists being led around the place by a tour guide. After we decided we’d lingered long enough we headed back to the path and walked on for a short while until we reached the Beech Tree Inn where we stopped again, this time for coffee and cola. The day was really looking bright and promising. Walkers were catching us up and overtaking now so we pushed on, passing school kids and other people out walking and eventually arriving at Easter Drumquhassle Farm where a guy took our money and directed us to the camping field.

We turned out to be among the first walkers of the day to arrive so we pitched our tents near an electric fence (I think it was turned off) and took our time inflating our mattresses and arranging our gear. It didn’t take long for our tents to become ovens in the heat, making them pretty useless as refuges from the hot sun which we’d already had plenty of during the walk, so we decided to head down to Drymen about a mile off the route to buy some food and have a look around.

We found a Co-op in Drymen and stocked up on chocolate, biscuits, liquid and something for lunch the next day. We then visited The Clachan Inn, the oldest registered licensed pub (1734) in Scotland for a couple of pints and some chips, then walked back to the campsite to shower then read for a while. We had a relatively early night, feeling the night grow cold around 9pm.

 

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