Breakfast was possibly even better than dinner – they certainly know how to do food here – and we tucked in to cereal, toast and a full Scottish breakfast (again all-you-can-eat, with plenty of meat and vegetarian options), taking full advantage once again.
After settling up, we headed up the main road towards the bridge at Inverarnan rather than getting the ferry back across Loch Lomond for just a few kilometres. As we looked back on McGregors Landing we reflected on what potential it has, and how good it could be if it was run properly and had thicker bedroom walls!
We soon reached Inverarnan and the amazing pub that is The Drover’s Inn.
Even we couldn’t justify having a second breakfast here after what we’d just put away at McGregors Landing, so we continued on over the bridge to Beinglas farm and up into Glen Falloch, following the River Falloch – us climbing as it fell. There was considerably less water in it this year, a slow meandering river replacing the raging torrent we’d seen last year.
After crossing the river at Derrydarroch we encountered the section we’d had to take a detour round last year. Then, water had been spewing out of a drainage pipe across the path into the swollen river and we’d had to walk up onto the main road. This time, there wasn’t even a trickle, and we continued along this bit of the West Highland Way for the first time.
We hadn’t had any trouble with midges so far, but the clegs were starting to bite as we passed Keilator farm. Just after the farm the path turns up Bogle Glen and into the forest as it bypasses Crianlarich. Before entering the forest we stopped for a drink as we looked back along Glen Falloch.
Luckily the paths were dry and firm, in stark contrast to the bog we had to navigate our way through last year. As we negotiated the extremely undulating path, we were passed by a pair of runners going at a frightening speed on this kind of gradient. We were taking things at a much more leisurely pace!
As we descended down to the road and railway line in Strath Fillan, passing a party of Germans on the way, I realised that my legs were becoming sore. Stopping under the railway bridge I slapped on a load more suncream, and we continued across the main road, walking gingerly past a huge bull sunning himself, then over the River Fillan.
The remains of St Fillan’s church stand here at the edge of two experimental farms.
We walked through the farms, crossing the Allt Auchtertyre and passing under the A82, following the River Fillan until we cut into the forest and headed up towards Tyndrum, where we stopped once again at The Green Welly Stop for another huge lunch.
By now my legs were really painful, so I put on my waterproof trousers to keep them out of the sun, as the next section was out in the open with no trees to provide shade. The climb up from Tyndrum is long and steep, but when it levels out the path is fairly flat all the way to Bridge of Orchy as it winds its way around the bases of Meall Buidhe, Beinn Odhar and Beinn Dòrain.
Ironically for a walking holiday, my legs were agony when I was standing still now, and incredibly painful to the touch. The rash I’d picked up on day 1 had spread progressively up my legs, and I now had an angry cleg bite on each calf to add to that and the sunburn. The last few kilometres were very slow going as I had to keep stopping, and I started to feel a bit feverish, running hot and cold.
When we finally reached the Bridge of Orchy Hotel all I wanted to do was lie down and get my feet up, and I fell asleep almost instantly. After an hour or so I woke up feeling a little better, but my legs were still very painful. I went to ask at the bar if they had any anti-histamines, which they didn’t, but a kind lady gave me some of hers.
My appetite wasn’t really there so I just ordered the soup and a side order of potatoes and seasonal vegetables. By the time the food arrived I was feeling a bit hungrier, which was just as well because the plate of veg was enormous! I said to Euan that if I didn’t feel any better in the morning I’d have to think about going to see a doctor, as there clearly was something wrong with my legs. They’d swollen up badly to the point that there was no muscle definition, were now covered from ankle to knee with a dark red rash and still unbelievably painful.