Overcast skies but no rain this morning in Balmaha. After breakfast I walk down to the shoreline to fill my camel back with water for today’s walk. I must look like I know what I’m doing as several people were asking me for route directions and trail conditions this morn. I try to be as helpful as I can.

Along the road following the Loch for a few minutes before the West Highland Way trail heads up into the hills. At the top I get a great view of Balmaha and the boats in the harbor, then it disappears.

I descend this hill and find myself back along the Loch shores. This will be a repeated routine for today’s journey, as Loch Lomond is twenty miles long and the trail follows the shoreline for pretty much the entire way. Rain showers quickly come and go throughout the day, dumping massive amounts of rain in a short spell, then the clouds would part and I’d see blue sky and sunshine.

The woods here have an old magic to them, an enchanted aura that comforts me as I walk. One must not lose focus though, as the tree trunks are gnarled into the trail, and can easily grab and twist your ankle or trip you and send you tumbling down any number of steep embankments.

I make good time once again, and arrive to the steps of the Rowardennan hotel mid-afternoon. It’s a beaut of an older hotel, full and charm and history. Many other walkers are enjoying the warm afternoon sun with beers on the grass behind the hotel.

I slip my pack off, and take a lovely nap on a bench while waiting for check in time to come. Ben Lomond is towering over the Loch, and the view is simply stunning.

I get checked in and find my room has the same great view of Loch Lomond and the Ben.

A fine meal with my customary two pints serves me well. I also have a small dram of recommended whiskey, and I sleep soundly.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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