Very very windy last night and a bit wet. This continued in the morning. I had a good pack up though – thought everything through, waiting for a gap in the wind and rain, got the tent down, packed up and had breakfast on the way out.
I almost walked into two quite large feral goats on the way out. Luckily they didn’t see me!
Shortly after my campsite I came to Beinglas campsite, where the guides said the Beinglas waterfall was just nearby and worth seeing “if I had the time and energy”. I did, so up I went. I saw a rather unfit looking kid coming down so assumed it couldn’t be too hard. How wrong I was!
The walk up was almost vertical, with loose gravel all over the track, promising to be worse on the way back down. Part way up there was a “stile” . . . but not in the traditional sense. The uphill side had the standard “couple of steps over a fence”. The downhill side had a ladder. An almost broken, very wobbly ladder.
After getting past that, there was some more almost vertical hill, which finally flattened out into a boggy muddy mess. It was raining, and incredibly windy at this point which, combined with the bog made it very hard to get a good view of the falls. I did climb along a fence for a small section to get some photos.
The falls were impressive . . . but I’m not sure anything was worth that walk up! This was my first proper experience with bog, and was also incredibly steep and slippery. And windy. I was almost blown off the hill at the top! I also had my first fall on the way down, slipping and landing on my bum and hands (resulting in a bruised shoulder the next day). In hindsight, I should’ve stashed my pack at the bottom but I wasn’t experienced enough to even think of this at this stage.
After eventually getting down safely from the falls, I continued walking along the WHW, now a nice wide gravel road. I was soon overtaken by 4 hikers (Scandinavian I think) . . . at which point my wobbly legs and I thought “well, you try walking 30+km yesterday and going up that crazy waterfall then see how fast you’re walking! It was also quite amusing to see that one of the girls only had a very light day pack . . . balanced out by one of the guys having an extra pack strapped to the bottom of his!
This was an incredibly scenic section of the WHW with hundreds of beautiful streams and stunning mountains. It was very slow going, just because I had to stop so many times to take photos and look at things! You are missing out on all those amazing photos here because I’ve limited myself to 10 per post and I’ve picked the ones that have the most relevance to the story, rather than the pretty ones! You’ll just have to wait for the galleries!
The track followed the River Falloch for quite a long way, and it was absolutely stunning the whole way along.
I passed a small house (“Derrydaroch”) before crossing the River Falloch and had lunch shortly after (complete with taking my shoes off and airing my feet out!).
I then crossed under the main highway and had my first experience with General Wade’s military road (which was my companion for many miles to come). It was a little boggy going through some paddocks but compared to what I experienced later, I have many thanks to General Wade.
Not long then I was back into pine forest just after the turn off to Crianlarich – a possible meal stop but I was fairly focused on making getting a lot further today so wasn’t interested in any more detours.
Then into farmland, across the River Fillan and up to Saint Fillan’s Priory (ruined) where I took heaps of photos of birds and had a bit of a sit down. The up to Auchtertyre Farm which is working to develop more sustainable farming methods and sheep breeds. It also has some walk tracks to more beautiful waterfalls, which include explanations about the basalt sill that caused the fall to form (I love anything that brings geology to the masses!). Also, some signs about tree species, . . . so I got my “birch” and “rowan” identification down pat.
Back over the River Fillan (I was umming and ahhing about going to see some special natural pool but the path looked unreliable and very boggy so I decided against it!) and up into a lovely section of mixed forest. I passed a lochan where, apparently, Robert the Bruce and his men threw their swords while they were being chased from the battle at King’s Field (Dal Righ) in 1306.
Then came to the site of an old lead smelter. The whole area was clear . . .and not because it had been kept that way. Just nothing would grow where the lead was. Amazing though that the vegetation was so normal immediately outside the affected area.
Across the River Fillan again(!) and into Tyndrum where I stopped at the Tyndrum Inn for a leisurely dinner (plus two pints and charging all my electronics). I set off again and realised that two pints before walking to find a campsite was possibly one too many! On the way out of town I passed the Tyndrum cemetery . . . consecrated in 2005 . . . . with only one headstone in it. It’s been a pretty good 9 years in Tyndrum apparently!
I had a long walk on a fairly steep hillside, close to the road, with some sheep and some kind of bird of prey for company but found some flat ground at the intersection of a couple of other valleys. There I found the perfect campsite . . but on the other side of the river. I could’ve got across but didn’t want to risk wet feet first thing in the morning so ended up finding n OK spot on my side instead. It was a little close to the road, and in sight of a house but it was already 7:30pm and I figured I’d be up and gone before anyone else came out anyway. Again, the ground was rocky and it was quite hard to get the pegs in. It was a bit windy and the tent was aligned with the slope and bumps rather than “tail into the wind” but hopefully it would be OK. The sun seemed to be going down earlier today – a combination of the clouds and the big hills all around.
Again, today was quite lovely walking with amazing scenery and a lot of variation in scenery, track and vegetation. Also some really big hills around today. The standout rocks today were igneous – some stunning rhyolites and granites. It was quite muddy in a few sections, but my shoes were doing their job of keeping my feet dry. My feet were holding up well – a bit sore, and wrinkly from sweat, but otherwise good. It rained on and off all day today so I had my waterproofs on for most of the day (and they’re working really well), but luckily it was cool as well. There was also a tailwind for most of the day which made walking easier. The camera also dealt reasonably well with the exposure to the showers today, but could do with a chance to dry out!