Tag Archives: Health and fitness

3. West Highland Way – Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy

Inveranan to Bridge of Orchy West Highland Way sign

West Highland Way Day Three Low Down

Day 3: Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy: The Day of Doom, West Highland Way
Miles: 19
Time: 09:30 – 18:00
Weather: Grey, dull and rainy
Accommodation: Stance Cottage (£70 double room / £50 or £55 single / Bridge of Orchy Hotel £100 – £160)

Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy

I honestly cannot think about this day of the West Highland Way without grimacing. I have never felt pain like it. All was well as we (day three team, Helen, Lee, and myself) left The Drover’s Inn, walking over bridges, up hills and over cow pats.

Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy West Highland Way

We chatted away about life in America (where Lee lives) and with good pace headed towards Crianlarich. The weather took a turn (raincoat fail – see packing guide) and hammered down as we walked through a fairy-like forest.

Legs were heavy and Crianlarich was never coming. We spoke with some workmen who told us Crianlarich was a few miles off the route and they offered us a lift, which we declined with yesterday in mind! We decided to bypass lunch in Crianlarich and keep muddling through.

Stathfillan campsite offered us a bench, toilets and a wee shop to buy a Kit Kat from (there are limited, but some food options) which was respite but for me, the damage had been done.

The Day of Doom

Soon after, the back of my heels became excruciatingly painful and I couldn’t have anything touching them. At points, I thought I was going to be sick with pain (I’ve never broken anything, only a twisted ankle when I was 14 trying to impress the P.E student teacher, so this was new for me).

I somehow managed to make it to Tyndrum for late lunch at The Green Welly, Bridge of Orchy, using the walking sticks (saviour) as crutches and with the support from an ankle sock. I put it down to my walking boots.

I had purchased new boots with high ankle support as I had previously started to feel my ankle niggle a little – rookie mistake. Most of WHW is farm tracks, you could even do a lot of it in your trainers. But I did the unthinkable and did not fully break them in. This is what I should have done.

The owner of Stance Cottage (for where we stayed every night, click here) commented on me hobbling in (a sight he sees often) and reassured me this was the best stage to need help as there was a bus that drove through, straight to Glencoe (the bus that the day four girls would get getting from Glasgow).

I received a text from my cousin David (an avid walker) who told that it was acceptable to sit out and that I would do more damage if I didn’t, this made me feel better. Dinner was next door at The Bridge of Orchy Hotel and I put my feet up…

Bridge of Orchy Hotel West Highland Way

Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. 

Although day 3 of the West Highland Way was not the longest in miles, it dragged on caused by the rain and my pain!

  • Day by dayday 4
  • Packing list: here
  • Accommodation guide: here

Have you ever been ill or injured on the road?

2. West Highland Way – Balmaha to Inverarnan

Balmaha to Inveranan West Highland Way sign

The West Highland Way Day Two Low Down

Day 2: Balmaha to Inverarnan: Boots, boats, and automobiles
Miles: 21
Time: 09:30- 15:40 (well that’s what time we went for the water taxi…)
Weather: Dry, mild
Accommodation: The Drovers Inn (£30 per person) / Alternative:  Strathfillan Wigwam Village

Balmaha to The Land of the Twig Trees

After a breakfast fit for West Highland Way walkers, the team dismantled. Julie’s feet were plagued by blisters (she’d had her walking boots for years, you can never tell how it’s going to work out) and because Balmaha was close enough to home she made the decision to leave, rest up and rejoin us on the Thursday (with some other friends via the bus from Glasgow to Glencoe.

Little did we know at this point that I’d be on that bus too…)

Friends West Highland Way Balmaha

Helen and I took the easy and breathtaking path out of Balmaha. Who thought an area with such tranquillity could cause so much stress?

Balmaha West Hightland Way Scotland

Within a couple of hours, we were met with a choice (close to the Glasgow University building) – straight ahead or right.

When Helen last did the WHW (trojan), they had to take a road path which we wanted to avoid, you know, so we could to it ‘properly’. There was work going on in the area to improve the paths and unfortunately for us, some signs had not been erected yet.

Balmaha to Inverarnan West Highland Way

We walked through the beach and headed straight for the trees but the trees appeared to get closer together and there was no longer a path. Then beneath our feet turned boggy so we headed up the hill (through the blasted trees) to get to dry mud. This worked and we could see Rowardennan (just, the tree branches were piercing our eyes) but just could not get to it.

With the help of GPS on our iPhones (seriously, what would we have done in the 90s?) we made it out of twig hell and on to… back to more like – the Glasgow University building.

Over two hours wasted in the trees, like a horror film, we can laugh about it now. It was suffocating.

Helen remembered there was a water taxi (from the youth hostel) and made some calls. Luckily her husband’s parents were dropping off her sister-in-law, Lee, to join us for the rest of the trek. They had a right laugh at us.

Balmaha to Inverarnan West Highland WayDrover’s Inn & Billy Connolly’s Dad

The Careys (Helen’s family in law) and I dined at The Drovers Inn, Inverarnan (for accommodation reviews see here), had a sing-a-long with a man who looked like Billy Connolly’s Dad (The Drover’s Inn is renowned for its entertainment) and then is was time for bed to recharge for tomorrow (aka The Day of Doom, for me).

Drovers Inn, Inverarnan West Highland Way

  • Day by day: day 3
  • Packing list: here
  • Accommodation guide: here

What mishaps have you go yourself into whilst travelling?