Day 06 - Balmaha to Rowardennan

Date: 9/12/2016

Location: From: Balmaha To: Rowardennan

Mileage: 7 Mi.

Weather: Cool, Cloudy, and looking like rain

Temperature: 68°F

Lodging: The Rowardennan Hotel

GPS Location: 56°8’58” N and 4°38’ 29” W

Highlights: Walk along Loch Lomond

Summary of the Day: 

I woke up at 6:00 this morning after a great night's sleep. I think everything is starting to fall into place on this walk. I got everything repacked and then was able to sit and study my Spanish course for about an hour before going to meet up with Hawk and Little Pony for breakfast. The breakfast was really good. It was a hot continental breakfast with lots of different things including haggis, which I declined. I had some last night at dinner so I could at least say that I sampled it. While it wasn't bad or distasteful, I just don't particularly care to eat it again. After we finished eating, we got our luggage ready for pickup by the transport people. We finally hit the trail little after 9:00.

Today's section was really nice as it walked along the Loch and I got to see ducks on the water and views across the loch. A lot of this section goes along a re-established woodlands and it drops into little coves that have tiny beaches. From time to time, it will go back out to the little roads and you walk along them. The only problem that I am still having on the roads is that I am always on the wrong side and the cars keep sneaking up behind me. I'll probably get it right by the time I leave for the States. After a couple of miles the trail, I made a turn that seemed like it was straight up for a while. I didn't see that one coming. I guess that I missed it in the book. There was a nice reward in it though. When I got to the top, there was a great view out across the loch and I could see the sailing boats again and the mountains off in the distance. The clouds were hanging pretty low and I knew that the rains were coming; I only hoped that we could get to the hotel before it started.

There are a fair amount of WHW hikers that are actually camping along the side of the trail. The places to set up camps aren't many because the foliage is right up to the edge of the trail and the bogs are deep and most have standing water in them. I would not want to camp this trail; the Inns are the way to go. The birds are really prolific here. The robins are smaller than ours and they are a lot friendlier. I took a picture of one and every time I snapped a picture and he heard the shutter click, he came closer to me. Before I was finished he was at my hand. It was great to be able to get that close.

It wasn't long before the trail turned and I descended down to a road and there was a sign that said "Welcome to Rowardennan" and directions to the Rowardennan Hotel. As it later turned out, the hotel is the village. It was 12:30 and we couldn't check in until 2:00, so we told the lady that we would just go the the bar and eat lunch and come back later. Before we left to go to the bar, she confirmed our rooms and that our luggage was there and in the rooms. When she confirmed my room, she said, "Oh you have a really nice room." I didn't know what to think about that comment, but would find out at 2:00.

The bar was really nice, it was set up just like you'd think a Scottish pub would be. I got a beer and looked over the menu and finally decided on a Scottish soup because it sounded interesting. It turned out that was a creamy soup of barley, carrots and celery and different herbs. They called it a Scottish broth. It was really good and hot on a cool, dreary day. After we sat around for a couple of hours talking to the staff in the bar (and only understanding maybe three-fourths of what the were saying), we wandered back to complete our registration. I was curious about the room comment and when I got there I was really shocked. I walked up a circular staircase to the top floor and found my room. When I opened the door I saw it was a suite with two beds a nice chair and a sofa. It had two windows that looked out to over the loch. It was perfect. If only all the rooms could be this nice!

We all agreed that we would meet at 6:30 for dinner. Later on I went back down and had a glass of wine in the pub and talked to the bartender, who was the manager. He was a hoot! I could understand him pretty well. He was ex-British Navy. We talked and he started kidding me about my Southern Drawl, and poked at me by saying “y’all.” I really liked this guy. He was interesting and knew a lot about the U.S. and especially our politics. Finally Hawk and Little Pony came down for dinner. I saw a Steak and Ale dish on the menu and decided to try it. It was like a roast beef with mashed potatoes with a lot of different vegetables. When I finished that, I was stuffed. We all drifted off to our rooms and agreed to meet at 7:30 the next morning. When I got back to my room I turned TV on and watched a some of a movie before dozing off to sleep. All in all it was a great day of walking. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

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