Friday, March 9, 2007

Day 46 : Twechar to Drymen

Thursday 1st March 2007

Distance Walked: 23.4 miles
Start Time: 9:06
End Time: 17:04
Elapsed Time: 7:58
Weather: Sunny after morning gloom
Distance walked so far: 891 miles

Last night’s scramble for food resulted in a dubious feast of Babybel, Pepperami, Guiness and crisps. To compensate, the morning breakfast is so bounteous that it completely covers two plates, with waves of toast to sweep me back out onto the towpath and along the few miles to Kirkintilloch, from where I escape the pull of the Glasgow suburbs and head north along the reformatted railway line towards the evocative profile of the Campsie Fells.

It’s such a relief to be away from the canal that even the myriad of mishaps that befall me cannot douse my spirits. The housing developments in Lennoxtown that block the path and cause me to wander for a mile in the wrong direction. The soggy, overgrown path from Strathblane that I use as a shortcut but which attempts to suck the boots from my feet. And finally reaching the West Highland Way, doing a little dance, and then realising that I’d dropped my hat half a mile back down the squidgey path and having to squelch my way back to get it.

Still, the West Highland Way is a veritable highway, slicing a flat, easy passage towards the beckoning hills. In the distance the snowy peaks glisten in the rare afternoon sun, and it’s a wonderful moment to realise that maybe it was the right decision to head west from the capital after all. As the last hill of the day is conquered, the huge expanse of Loch Lomond is revealed, and it is magnificent.

The village at the entrance to the loch, Drymen, is home to the oldest pub in Scotland and, for a night, it’s home to me too. The Clachan Inn doesn’t trade on its status, which is a refreshing change after the Edinburgh experience, and I’m able to enjoy a quiet evening admiring the fantastic hairstyles and beards of the Greenpeace crew sitting conscientiously in the corner of the bar as I hack my way through the biggest chunk of lamb I’ve ever seen. Some battles are definitely worth fighting.

Song of the day:

Iron & Wine
“Each coming night”

Will you say to me /
When I’m gone /
Your face is faded /
But lingers on /
Cos light strikes a deal /
With each coming night

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