Day 3–Rowardennan to Drover’s Inn (15.29 miles hiked)
We woke up to forecasted rain and cloudy skies, necessitating rain gear almost as soon as we started. About a mile in, we had to make a choice between a high and low route. The high route took us on a dirt road above Loch Lomond passing beside several small waterfalls, whereas the low route would take us on what the guidebook described as a “tortuous route clinging as closely to the shore as it dares. A vocabulary lesson about the words “tortuous” and “torturous” ensued, bringing clarity that the lower route was not going to be a death march, just different and likely take more time (if you don’t know, tortuous means “with twists and turns,” whereas torturous means “involving torture”). Seeing as how we were already getting plenty wet, we decided to take the high route and stay above the lake.
The waterfalls were lovely and the views of the lake were grey and misty, yet still beautiful. Eventually we came to the where the high and low route merged and felt that we had made a good decision to stay above the lake since we had made good time walking it.
Soon after, we came across an “honesty box” filled with homemade goodies to purchase on your honor. In the US, people often provide “trail magic” to thru hikers doing long distance trails (like the Appalachian Trail). It was interesting to come across trail magic that requested payment, but I certainly can’t fault someone for asking, as I’m sure they’re not making much money for their efforts but enough to cover their costs. We all enjoyed something from the stand (and paid for it, of course).
The morning clicked by and soon we were on the grounds of the Inversnaid Hotel, a grand hotel built in 1820 on the edge of the lake. Despite the poshness of the hotel, they were kind enough to allow hikers come in and eat (our own food, even!) in a designated room. It was a great excuse to have a beer with lunch, so of course we imbibed.
The remainder of the day was spent hiking by the lake on much more rugged terrain. Up and down, over boulders, steep pitches and muddy, boggy areas. Some of us enjoyed the challenge beyond simply putting one foot in front of the other but others weren’t so enamored with the change.
We finally reached the northern edge of Loch Lomond and descended to the Drover’s Inn whose claim to fame is housing Scotland’s oldest pub, dating to 1705. We are pretty sure it also houses Scotland’s oldest beds too–Larry and I felt like we were sleeping in a hammock and the bed springs had dust thicker than I’ve ever seen and “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” felt a bit more literal. The inn itself is in desperate need of an update, and if you’re planning on walking the WHW, try to reserve a room at Beinglas Farm across the road instead!