Tag Archives: Scotland

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?

1. The West Highland Way – Milngavie to Balmaha

What did you do for your 30th? My friends and I decided to take on a challenge – to walk 96 miles through the rolling hills and flowing streams of the West Coast of Scotland. This trek is called the West Highland Way and it all begins just outside of Glasgow in Milngavie (easily reached by train) and ends in Fort William near Inverness. Day one of the West Highland Way Milngavie to Balmaha is a quick 20 miles and there is a warm welcome from the Conic Hill views and a hot tub if you follow our West Highland Way accommodation advice (tempted?) 

Day 1. West Highland Way Milngavie to Balmaha

  • Miles: 20
  • Time: 10 -17:30 (lots of breaks)
  • Weather: Dry mostly, spot of rain, mild
  • Accommodation: Bay Cottage (£39 per person then / now £40)

The West Highland Way Milngavie Start

Stage 1. Milngaive to Drymen

We encouraged friends and family to join us along the way (to prevent any deaths by annoyance), the day one team consisted of myself, Helen, our two teaching friends Julie and Nicola. We wanted to make the walk enjoyable so decided to pay for a company to take our bags (see here). The first part of the West Highland Way walk takes you through a small car park behind the Milngavie town centre shops and then through fields (it is well posted) all the way to Dumgoyne where you can stop for lunch  at The Beech Tree Inn(we had packed lunches) and then on to Drymen where we had our second lunch (this walking all day is great!)

Stage 2. That Conic Hill!

As you will soon find out this Scottish trek did not come without many fails. First, we had difficulty getting out of Drymen. We followed the directions which took us to the right into a wooded area but after a chat with a local, we headed straight and this eventually took us to a left turn through what looked like a scene from The Lion King with all the broken and dried-out trees. Julie took the reigns on my walking sticks (so thankful for them, for advice on what else to pack for the West Highland Way hike check out our packing list), her feet were letting her down. However, this grim part of the walk was the gateway to beauty… the views of Balmaha from Conic Hill.

Conic Hill Scotland West Highland WayHot Tub in Balmaha

At approx. 17:30 we had reached our destination, Balmaha, day one of the West Highland Way completed. We said goodbye to Nicola and hello to Jen G who had driven from Aberdeen to spend the evening with us.

The West Highland Way Balamaha

We made the best decision staying at The Bay Cottage (accommodation), which was just at the foot of the end of the walk, for three reasons. Firstly, we had our own room outside of the BnB, secondly, the food was immense, and the packed lunch extensive (pay a small fee £5.50) and finally… a HOT TUB! You can soak your muscles after the 20 mile walk! The staff were also very friendly and accommodating and The Bay Cottage is just across from the pub which brings us to the last stage the Milngavie to Balmaha West Highland Way day

Stage 3. Pint Time

We had a pint and dinner at The Oak Tree Inn, went for a dip then watched Made in Chelsea in bed – perfect.

Keep reading, the whole week is covered…

  • Day by day: day 2
  • Packing list: here
  • Accommodation guide: here
  • Into hikes in Scotland? Here is our most recent, the West Island Way on the Isle of Bute

What did you do for a milestone birthday?

PS. In 2014 we did not have an SLR camera- apologies for the quality of images, not to normal standards!